A failed experiment

Some of us have been continuing to discuss alternative methods to finishing off the slit opening of the sleeve in the reverse engineering tutorial series. Here’s a photo of the finished product from part 5 of the series:

Jess said in the forum that he has a shirt in which the pattern of the placket was one long continuous piece. He wasn’t the only person who said they had a shirt like this but I can’t remember who else said it. Here is a photo of Jess’s shirt:

Intrigued, I dummied it up by folding the edges of the belt to my bathrobe in a rough configuration as I read the forum from home last night. Under those conditions, it worked last night but it didn’t work today. Today, I’d fully expected a successful result before I even started the project. Failing in the experiment was very disappointing and a little demoralizing. I decided to post about it anyway because we all have failed experiments. We’re eager to share the results of successful projects but we squirrel away our failures. Looking at it from out there, you’d think nobody ever made mistakes but you. It’s not that others don’t, they just don’t tell you.

This entry was to be entitled “reverse engineering standard work pt. 5.1”. Here’s what I did (to fill in the blanks, review the series pts 4 and 5). The first thing I did was to cut the binding for the sleeve slit and press it using the paper jig. Below you’ll note the cut fabric was slightly larger than the jig. That amounts to an error on my part. Still, my piece came out exactly the right size once pressed. I decided the paper jig performed the function of a poka yoke. There are so many things like this that you can do that will prevent poor results in spite of another’s incompetence. Of course, useful as is the paper jig, you wouldn’t need it if you had a folder on your machine.

Below is the strip pressed to shape having been folded in half. You’ll also note my not so subliminal message. I’ve always written these kinds of things on the walls (my ex husband was not amused) but I decided to grow up and limit the expression of philosophy to table tops where I can spread sedition to hapless tutorial readers.

Below I’m sewing the strip into the slit. So far, so good.

I got to this point (below) and had two epiphanies: I now know why home sewers use pins. It’s because these friggin machines don’t have any pressure. None. Sewing the end point at the top of the slit is easy on an industrial, no problem. It was a pain in the butt to do this on this machine. So much so that I loused it up. It looked fine under the needle which brings me to the second epiphany I had which was that 6 years ago -when I’d been patting myself on the back for the improved quality of my pattern making and sewing- is right about the time when my need for bifocals got really bad. You think I’m picky now, be glad I’m blind. I could be worse. Much worse. Anyway, I loused it up to the extent that I had to start over cutting new samples, pressing and everything. Insult to injury when you consider the experiment failed.

Below is the result (of the second sample):

Once I finished it though and tried to fold it, I couldn’t get the top of it to fold into that triangular shape so I don’t know what I did wrong.

Jess, I think you’re going to have to help me out here by photographing the dis-assembly of your sleeve step by step. Does anybody have a handle on this process?

Entries in the reverse engineering standard work series (how to copy industrial sewing methods)
Shirt making tips
Standard Work (sounds boring, read it anyway)
Reverse engineering standard work pt.1
Reverse engineering standard work pt.2
Reverse engineering standard work pt.3
Reverse engineering standard work pt.4
Reverse engineering standard work pt.5
Reverse engineering standard work pt.6
Reverse engineering standard work pt.7
Reverse engineering standard work pt.8
Reverse engineering standard work pt.9

Spin off of Reverse engineering standard work pt.5:
A failed experiment
A failed experiment pt.2
A failed experiment pt.3
Reverse engineering standard work pt.5.1

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  1. Danielle says:

    I think I see the difference, though I can’t find the sample I did I still have the handout. Did you apply it to a slit? Because on my handout, the placket is inserted to a rectangular cutout, if that makes any sense.

  2. Kathleen says:

    Hi Danielle, yes I did a slit. Nobody said anything about there needing to be a cut out LOL. Cool, I love it. I’ll try again tomorrow with your most excellent guidance. Bummer that the hand out didn’t include dimensions, I hate figuring that stuff out.
    Thanks for the solution!
    ps. I fixed your hyperlink

  3. Esther says:

    I sympathize with you about home sewing machines. The foot pressure (or lack of) is a big reason why so many new sewers have difficulty, IMHO. I have also had problems doing a placket on my home machine and not on an industrial. The only answer for me was to baste before stitching in the placket.

  4. Tiffany says:

    I did this in school and it worked very well. The only difference I can remember is that the placket was smaller. I think the finish placket measured about quarter of an inch. We also stitched a diagonal line across the top of the placket on the inside if I remember correctly.

  5. laurra says:

    The first shirt I grabbed from my husband has this kind of placket.I took it apart and found it does indeed have a rectangle and is sewn in with a one piece strip method. The corner of the rectangle was cliped before sewing the strip on.You have to keep the rectangle in a straight line when sewing on the strip.This is what forms the peak.The last step was to sew the peak down. Very easy, thanks for letting me know about this kind of placket. laurra

  6. Shannon says:

    Kathleen, I think the problem you were having may have something to do with the math involved. The placket may need to fit a specific ratio in order for that triangle to form. I’ve looked at Rusty Bobbin’s pictures, and the width seems to be twice the width of the seam allowance…your version appears to be wider. Could that be the source of the problem?

  7. Carol Kimball says:

    Would you move this to “Discuss Blog Topics” in the Forum, please?

    I’ve been using the 2-pc method for years, only cutting it as one, which makes the alignment easier.

    This 1-pc. method looks a lot faster/easier. The difference is that the underlay is the same width as the top, and the traditional 2-pc.’s is narrower. Any difficulty with the underlayer peeking out with the 1-pc. would be solved by using the simple, easy, pressing jig.

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