Christmas Sewing: Kimonos and Spock Shirts and Raglan Blouses, Oh My

I have three days, a 20 yard bolt of black stretchy chiffon, three shades of teal/navy blue jersey and black jersey, and a dream. I somehow think that I’m going to be able to finish four kimono tops and one raglan Spock style tee–and work a normal schedule!–over the next three days.

It isn’t going to happen. Thank you, Sephora, for backup girlie gifts.

But it will be fun to try.

I drafted my own pattern for the Spock shirt. My sister is a big fan, and she’s of the Zachary Quinto Spock era, so this is my guide:

trek-movie-spockLooks like a raglan tee with an almost sports-jersey texture, some kind of satin stitching or shinier bias tape at the seams which I’m pretending does not exist for my sewing purposes, and a black high collar that extends above the v-neckline. I tried sewing my son a version of this for practice, but he refuses to wear it. And I didn’t even get a chance to draw the eyebrows on him first.

And then there’s the kimono top I settled on (instead of a caftan, which may be a bit too far into hippie land for the mass appeal I’m going for). McCall’s 4304 “2 Hour Top,” which I have sewn before and which took me significantly longer than 2 hours, but in the almost-year that has passed since my first attempt, let’s hope I’ve gained some speed. I want to modify it slightly, as the drawstring is a bit too high to flatter the apple body shapes with no discernible waistline that run in my family. I also might shorten and bell the sleeves slightly, and add a bit of length in a slight A-line to make the shape a bit more flattering.


My plan of attack is vaguely industrial-sewing inspired (more on this in the future, as I find it fascinating in a best-practices efficiency kind of way):

  • cut all my pieces at once with a rotary cutter for precision
  • wind many bobbins ahead of time
  • sew the garments assembly line style. Do seam one on all four at the same time, seam two on all four, etc, to avoid confusion and having to figure out how to do each step all over again for each individual garment
  • French seams for side seams to avoid having to finish edges later and for neatness, especially on this fabric

I’m sewing it on my Kenmore 158.12111, which I am more and more happy with the more I use it. It has a dual belt system, which makes it slower than some, but incredibly precise. I can stop pushing the pedal and the needle stops within a stitch and it becomes really easy to time it perfectly after a little practice. It’s a little loud and little shaky, but I think that’s in part because it needs more use after sitting for years and in part due to the smaller base of a freearm giving it less balance. I’m very impressed by its strength and the regularity of its stitches–so far, it hasn’t given me any trouble at all. This is supposed to be part of the appeal of the Husqvarna models with the reduction gear, but the Kenmore has the advantage of being made of metal, being designed with room and smart access panels to get in there and oil and repair, and of using common bobbins and bobbin cases. To be fair, I haven’t really had the chance to enjoy a fully functional Husqvarna, but if the reduction gear is the key advantage, I’ll take a Kenmore any day for the sturdiness and simplicity.

Needless to say my collection of Husqvarnas is still nonfunctional. (I have four: the 19e I replaced a solid 19 3/4″ belt with a 20″ lug belt after days of struggle to attain much less than satisfactory results; a 1030 that is frozen completely solid and became a candidate for a very enjoyable Bacchanalian dissection and which I used as a source for a donor belt which was a big fail; a 6000 series with a broken camstack and a broken reduction gear which I’m going to try to replace with the gear from the 1030; and a 51e flatbed which appears to be in great shape except it has no cord and the plug is a weird type that I can’t find a replacement for. *shakes fist*)

AND I almost forgot! I finished my raglan blouse in a woven to my satisfaction and shall be sporting it in all its pastel pink glory for the festivities. I’ll have to post a picture when I’m not so dark-circle-tired-eyed and Sunday grosstastic.