So apparently finishing seams is a thing you need to do. I learned this the hard way, over the last year, when my shirts frayed so badly I felt like Oogie Boogie in The Nightmare Before Christmas. Except not filled with worms. Since I don’t like unraveling, I decided that this time! things will be different.
Unfortunately, birdseye cotton, my shirt fabric of choice, frays like a Walder. It seemed to me that simply pinking the edges wouldn’t be enough. With that in mind, I’m trying two different tacks, one on each shirt.
Tactic One: pre-finishing the seams
This was suggested by a user on the Renaissancefestival.com sewing forum. I cut out all the pieces, and basically roll-hemmed every edge that wasn’t the selvedge (or the bottom of the shirt, which will get hemmed once the shirt is constructed).
Was this epically fussy and time-consuming? Yes. Am I certain it will work? No. Am I concerned that I hemmed too much out of the seam allowance? Yes. Should I have accounted for that when cutting? Yes. Did I? No. Is all this worry and fuss worth it if it works? YES YES ONE THOUSAND TIMES YES.
Tactic Two: We’ll Fix It In Post
With my other shirt, I’m going go try a modified flat-felled seam. I say “modified” as a catch-all disclaimer.
I haven’t started the second shirt yet because I’m also modifying the pattern quite a bit and want to test it out before I do a bunch more cutting. I’m still using the Smock Pattern Generator. Modifications include making it significantly shorter–it’s going to be about hip-length, which necessitated making the side gores quite a bit less intense. With no real thought other than “let’s see how this works,” I basically chopped the prescribed in half; we’ll see how it goes. I’ve also modified the sleeves to make them a little puffier.
So there’s all that. I’m about to piece the first shirt together and see how it looks.