You may or may not have noticed that my blog schedule has become somewhat… erratic lately. It’s been almost a month since my last post! Apologies. I haven’t had any time to make anything since I got back from holiday, so I haven’t really had anything to blog about!
But I’m here now with a double hit!
- //ws-eu.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=GB&source=ac&ref=tf_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=sewandrew-21&marketplace=amazon®ion=GB&placement=B00954I3ZQ&asins=B00954I3ZQ&linkId=4b7335d766236b635a4d420cfe336c9f&show_border=false&link_opens_in_new_window=false&price_color=333333&title_color=0066c0&bg_color=ffffff” data-wplink-url-error=”true”>Spidersweb paper*
Now let me tell you about this great paper – Josie from Song Of The Sewing Machine had mentioned it in a blog post and I made a mental note to try it out next time I needed pattern paper.
I’ve previously used Swedish Tracing Paper (probable favourite but also most expensive) and a big roll of actual Tracing Paper (a better price but stiffer to work with & bulky to store). This stuff is Spiders Web Florists Wrap – I found it on amazon, it behaves much more like Swedish tracing paper but works out more economically. I should note that it is narrower than other papers (this one’s 60 cm) so a creative layout is sometimes needed to avoid wastage.
Anyhow, I’ve been meaning to try out the Freesewing.org Simon Shirt for some time now… I finally got around to printing out the (nearly 50) sheets, and spent 2 hours trimming and taping them together, then tracing them out on my new spiderweb paper. I started tracing with a pencil, but that didn’t cut it… actually it did cut it – right through the paper. Next I used a regular felt tip pen (orange); I found the ink sat on the paper for a while before it dried and I got a lot of it on my hands. The paper seemed to soak up a lot of ink too and my old orange pen dried up before I reached the end. Finally, I reached for the trusted Sharpie*; this was perfect and will be my ‘go-to’ in the future. Just keep the nib moving and don’t press to hard; that way you’ll avoid making the lines too thick, or bleeding through – you’ll still get it on your hands if you have to add seam allowance though…!
(It’s a terrible waste of paper, tracing it out, when I could simply cut out the A4 original – but I hate taped patterns; awkward to use and bulky to store. I have untaped the original pieces and am using the paper as a notepad: I get through a lot doing my tap choreography!)
I found this stuff pretty easy to sew together – I used my longest stitch length (5mm) and no backstitching. It didn’t take much more than 10 minutes to sew up the yoke, shoulder, sleeve, then side & under-sleeve seams. Then I could get a good idea of how it would fit.
You’ll be pleased to know that I had it unpicked again in just five minutes! So the whole exercise took around 20 minutes from start to finish. Definitely quicker & easier than a full muslin…
I should mention here that you probably don’t want to iron the spiderweb paper. It seems ok (but unnecessary) with a cool iron. With a hot iron it burns and sticks. On a medium setting, a 10cm strip shrunk to 9cm. Be warned! You do not want this happening to your pattern pieces! (This also throws up questions like: what’s it made of? If it turns out it’s something horrible that’s eating the planet, I assure you, this will be my last roll!)
I shortened the length of the pattern by 9cm, other than that I made no alterations. The sleeves looked a bit short, but I figured the cuffs would fix that*.
Remember if you’re sewing this shirt, that the shoulder seams and the side/ under-arm seams have extra allowances for flat-felling. I usually French-seam or overlock these seams on my shirts, so this was new for me. I could have cut the excess off and carried on French-seaming as usual but where’s the growth in that…?
I’ve flat-felled on jeans before, but never a shirt. So, I checked the documentation on the freesewing website and it all made sense. I’ll admit, I only read the bits on flat-felling and didn’t worry about the rest. Now, I hadn’t helped myself by setting the seam allowances to 1.5cm (I did this before I knew that it was drafted for flatfell seams) so I had to offset the shoulder seam by 1.5cm, sew at 3cm and tuck the ends in. This was a disaster! I’m sure it would have been fine with 1 & 2 cm seams, but this was a mess. I promptly unpicked it, overlocked the excess seam allowance off and topstitched it down… there’ll be no expanding of my repertoire today!
When I did the mock-up I’d checked how the front buttonhole band was folded. It’s a nice technique, similar to the way I make a false cuff on a short sleeve shirt. The marking and folding has to be spot on, otherwise the collar stand won’t fit properly… and I’m pleased to say the collar fits really well.
Needless to say, I lobbed off the extra side seams with no intention of flat felling them either (I’ll leave that to my jeans for now!) I cut them back to an even 1.5cm each side and French seamed them nice and neatly, before pressing them towards the back.
I was wearing it round my cousins when the light looked really good by the corner table… Mr.A said ‘you should get your shirt picture over there…’ CousinA said ‘you’d better be quick, it’ll change in a second…’ and about half a minute later it was done. To give you some background – I’d just lost 4 out of 5 games of cards, which I think lends something to my apparent Mona Lisa gaze…
Anyhow, let’s get this blog post back on track…
Freesewing.org Simon Shirt:
I’m happy with the general fit, around the body and arm width. But I had to take 15cm off the total length in the end. The arm holes are a bit long and narrow too… this reinforces my suspicion that there’s something amiss in my measurements – maybe it’s my printer…? It feels like the whole pattern has been stretched out by about 1/5th. I should have spotted that when I sewed up the paper – that was the whole point! Still, live & learn.
Spiderweb Floral Wrap:
Easy to see through. Easy to sew & unpick. Roll is a bit narrow – potential wastage. Mark with pen not pencil. Slim to fold. Competitive price. **Unknown composition.
So that’s me for now! I hope you’re all doing great, and, until next time…
Notes to self;
- Don’t iron spiderweb paper.
- Stick to French seams.
- Bite the bullet- draft your own damn shirt!
- * When sewing a pattern-muslin, put together as much of the garment as possible.
- ** Unknown composition … answers on a postcard…?!
Just got the call from CW. Boo hoo. 🙁
Love that spider paper stuff! I’ll have to go google it! Nice work on the shirt. You are a real expert making them!
Thank you so much 🙏
I have used a roll of disposable sheeting used for massage tables and spa treatments. It’s a little coarser than Swedish and you can’t iron it, but it tolerates pencil with no problem and is stitchable.
That sounds like a great alternative 👍
I’m rather fascinated by this paper, so will google it and see what I can find out. I use tracing vilene and it does pretty much the same thing for $1 a metre. I’ve made the Simon shirt for my husband and it fitted perfectly except the neck which was too small – I suspect because my husband never stands still when I measure him! Your shirt is looking rather splendid. The fit is brilliant and I love the fabric!
Thank you! Let me know how you get on if you find the paper 👍🙏
I’m so glad the spider’s web wrap worked well for you Andrew! Love this post and your shirt looks great on you, the fabric is lovely. I’m yet to dip my toe back into shirt making for Jim (shamefully!) so will be looking back at your blog for when I do, your posts are always so thorough and helpful. Thank you!
Thanks Josie, and thank you for the tip off re the spidersweb!
Sorry do I know you? Oh yeah!! I remember you now how you been stranger??:’D lol Like I can comment… I haven’t posted a blog for well over a year now!! glad your back .. I miss a good read ;D
Shirt looks fab.. As you know I have made LOADS of Simon shirts. I think I flat felled the first one but decided doing that neatly around a curved arm scythe is an impossible task never to be repeated! I took off the excess seam allowance, overlock the seam and then top stitch it down so it looks like I put a bit of effort into the shirt lol.
Length wise I never had any issues. On my shirts the collars were too tight… It seems when I measured my boys I was all for strangulation and measured incorrectly 😉 It my sleeves were a little on the short side for one person and long on the other so I’m certain that was down to my error in measuring.
I guess it could be a printer issue maybe… did you measure the print test square?
My pdf top tips would be: Only print the pages with something on them. If a page is empty I take it out of the print list. When putting the pattern together I use a Pritt stick. No fiddling with tape with one hand whilst trying to hold the page lined up with the other. The glue allows you a few seconds grace to realign if need be too. You could also consider using a thinner weight paper to print on???
Personally I don’t get the whole ‘trace the pattern’ thing… too much extra work for me 😛 With my Freesewing.org patterns I cut them out and store them folded flat in A4 envelopes. For tissue patterns I mark the lines directly onto my fabric and then cut that out, that way I can keep all the sizes intact. I do toile though.. mainly because I have to change something for my own patterns ;/
The shirt looks great on you so I hope we see lots more of them 😀
Hello stranger 🤣👋
In hindsight I should have flat felled the side seams, but I’m glad I’m not the only one avoiding it!
Buying some thinner paper is a good idea if I’m going to keep on doing this! … and maybe the glue stick too 👍
A few tweaks & hopefully I’ll have it perfect (… or at least perfect enough!)
I’m totally with you on taping patterns! I’m in the midst of making jeans – Ottobre, traced from a multi pattern sheet which was really hard, a bit too crowded – and hubby likes what he sees so would like for me to make him a pair. Fine – if he will tape the damned pattern! 😂😂
Nice shirt, btw. I tried making the same for my son a year and half ago, but he was too tall and skinny for the software to work properly so it was seriously messed up around the shoulders. Joost has done a lot to fix those issues, so maybe I should give it another try…
Yes, get him to tape his own patterns! 👍👏😂
Maybe give it another try, as you said, there’s an awful lot of work gone in recently 👍
Yes, I need to give it another try – especially as this kid doesn’t get shirts that fits. Being 2m tall and skinny isn’t easy (though it looks good 😉).
You should have seen hubby’s eyes when I told him to tape his own pattern. Total deer in headlights look! 😂😂😂
Thanks for the tip on the spiders web stuff. I’ll look for that next time.
It was really easy to sew & unpick 👍
Is this the right stuff: http://alturl.com/awh3c?
(Shortened URL from Amazon,, as their links are massive!)
Hmm, maybe… does it come on a roll? Mine came on a roll…? 👍🙏
No, this one is sheets. I’ll keep looking.
Found it! Searched on mft & product #.
Looks great, and I love the depth of construction and patterning detail you provide. Thank you.
Like the material and this looks very good, you must have made quite a few shirts now so can you not just adjust the pattern you have to give you the fit you want. All I have seen from you look good to me so can’t be much to adjust.
Thanks for the vote of confidence! Yes, hopefully just a few tweaks… 🙏
Really interesting post, thank you.
After you discussed not flatfelling but overlocking the seams and topstitching down there is the photo of a shoulder with the cool rainbow 🌈 thread. My brain can’t quite process it though, is that the right side of the fabric and the rainbow stitching is your topstitching? In which case how did you get that stitching pattern please?
Or is that the inside of the garment and that’s the overlocking and I’m just being daft?
Sorry to report, no fancy witchcraft other than my rainbow overlocker thread! … that photo’s the inside ✅
Woah that looks like some crazy stuff but so convenient you can just use it as a toile! It looks a bit like interfacing actually
It’s really handy… I just need to learn how to read a toilet properly 😂👍🙏
Love your narratives on ironing the spiders web stuff 🤣 basically, DO NOT IRON 😨🤣
I’ve heard about the freesewing website, they have quite a cool coat (the Sherlock coat? 🤔) which I would try for the husband but I’m just a tad nervous. I feel like I’d have to muslin THE WHOLE THING and that kinda puts me off, because patience. Now I’m even more edgy because of the armhole issues you had with this pattern…
Other than that though, your shirt is actually really lovely and the colours suit you perfectly!
Oh – my moneys on that stuff being made of some sort of polyester plastic nastiness… 😨☹️
The trouble is, I think I’m holding out for a pattern that’s magically made to fit me perfectly… with a few adjustments this could be it… I have to remember that I should be muslin-ing every new pattern anyway 😅🤓🙏
Andrew, live dangerously! You shouldn’t have to muslin every new pattern – you should be able to make an educated guess by comparing it to a previous pattern that you know fits.
You’re right! Thank you. I just need to educate my guesses a bit more! 👍🙏😅
Lovely shirt, by the way 🙂