And then I begin to think, how on earth do they do it? I have heard that their cost of living is much lower than ours and therefore, they can be paid pennies for top rate performance crafting like this which is then turned around and sold to other countries at a profit for them that still seems like pennies to us.
China makes *everything*. I cannot turn over any object in my house and find an indication of origin anywhere other than China. I'm sure that, the people who make things factor all their costs into the final price of the item. Someone had to design the item, if there was R&D involved, that is factored in, distribution, shipping costs, all that gets added up and then divided up over the number of items produced and a price per item is computed.
I have also heard that the life of a Chinese factory worker is nightmarish. But then again, most jobs I've had were nightmarish too. But now that I've taken an interest in learning to make things myself, I find myself wondering more and more about life for a factory worker in China. Yes, work sucks. But you've got to admit, they probably learn to make things really really well. Do they then acquire skills that would make some of us Instructables users envious? I would think so. Do they find it at all fun? Do they get to do different things. Painting faces on plastic ducks this week. Sewing itty bitty shirts for a doll the next? I wonder about it.
I'm sure it's all top secret, how they produce all the toys and electronics and fun things we love to consume. Still, I think it would be interesting to just visit the Guangzhou district of China or a similar place and just see what its like. Maybe Instructables could have this as a contest prize. Just an idle thought.
I wish I had a better understanding of macroeconomics. I wonder if somewhere on the internet, there is a gigantic information graphic that shows the real "food" chain, the supply chain of the entire world. Who buys what from whom and who sells what to whom. And how does this flow of money keep everyone housed and happy? Where is the money flowing to? Well, we know that a great percentage of it goes into the pockets of CEOs, rather like modern day Pharoahs. Why do we allow that? That's another question I have. We are so much like ants. Hooray for our super cool CEO, look he's on the cover of a magazine this month, isn't he cute. Let's give him a golden parachute containing multiple millions of dollars while we all lose our jobs.
Then my thoughts turn to the subject of open sourcing, crowd sourcing and outsourcing. Of which, I am, sitting here before you, just another happy participant. I love learning to make things. And I love finding free things on the internet. So it only makes sense that if I can go out and find a bunch of free software, and free patterns and free this and free that on the internet, it's only fair that I share with you for free the various tidbits and things I've learned in hopes that it would better you, or society or someone. But I am only one of a vast host of new workers, turkers, I guess you'd say, doing it all for free. Where is this all heading? If people like me, and you, will do work simply for recognition or points or tshirts or whatever it is. I suppose it ultimately devalues the efforts of people who are trying to do it for a living. But, me stopping, or someone else stopping isn't going to change it. Someone else will step up and do it, just to see if they can and share their results. I'm not saying it's a bad thing, I just truly wonder how the economy will work in the future. That's all.
At times I pause and count on my fingers the number of businesses and fields of work that are becoming rapidly obsolete. Anything that required printing on paper: books, libraries, newspapers, phone books, paper things supported by paper advertisements. Anything that can be reproduced convincingly by electrons: movies, music. And soon to come: anything that can be printed on a 3d printer at home. I truly wonder where is this all going to go. If we can all manufacture our own stuff, what is left then that we cannot? Utilities: electricity, water, sewer, internet, gas for the car, house. Groceries, staples. 3d printing will bring manufacturing back to our shores, they say, because it won't rely on expensive human labor so much. So, maybe it will all balance out, it usually does.
I want to see if I can make a tiny little blouse anywhere near as good as this one from China I picked up. So, better get on with it then...
Step 1: Materials
I modified this pattern slightly because at doll scale, the little collar is too hard to sew as there's no realistic seam allowance as is. My modified version is attached. Print it out on 81/2"x11" paper.
a small amount of material. Try to find something that doesn't fray much. Silky blouse-type fabrics tend to fray like crazy, so if you want to use that, get some sort of fray stopping solution.
fray block: smelly stuff that you paint onto the fabric which cuts down on its tendency to unravel as you're working on it. However, it makes the material stiffer, and therefore it won't drape the same way it did before, so that's a reason to avoid it, besides the headache it will give you if you smell the vapours for too long.
Step 2: Cut out the pieces
trace around their edges with chalk
carefully cut out the pieces from the fabric
apply fray-block if necessary and let that dry somewhere outside ideally so the vapors dont get to you.
mark darts on the back of the fabric, that will make it easier when it comes time to sew
on the shirt fronts, don't cut the triangle out, just draw it in on the back side to guide you.
mark the tops of the sleeves with chalk as shown
mark the center of the collars
Step 5: Baste tops of sleeves
pull the thread to gather up the tops of the sleeves a bit.
Step 6: Painful part #1: stitch sleeves to armholes
Anyway, you have to tighten up the basting you made in the last step which forces the sleeve into a certain necessary shape. Then you have to by some magic attach it to the arm hole and get it to fit. I find this one of the most frustrating things to do in the world.
Right sides together, starting at the top, match up the sleeve with the arm hole and then somehow, while stitching it on, worry it around so that the edges line up. You want it to fit perfectly around the armhole, lining up all the way around.
Its crazy difficult. Many many frustrated words were expressed by me before the two sleeves were on.
I'm certain at this point that I would have been fired by the Chinese factory, if not taken out back and shot. (haha)
Step 7: Sew side seams
This part is one of the few easy parts, giving you a fresh boost of confidence before the next, really most difficult part comes.
Right sides together, starting at the underarm, sew the arms and sides together
Step 8: The collar
Right sides together, sew the top and bottom part of the collar together as shown.
Step 9: The collar: part two
Sew them together along the outside edge, leaving the bottom open.
Turn it inside out and use a safety pin or something to poke the points of the collar out.
Step 10: Attach collar to shirt around neckline
Where the unsewn opening is, right sides together, sew that to the neckline of the shirt. This is another fussy thing that is even harder than the sleeves are. You only sew one layer of the collar rough edge to the neckline, leaving the other layer free for now.
Step 11: Topstitch the collar
Top stitch along the edge of the collar, just like in a regular shirt. This will help the collar flatten out a bit as it's getting pretty bulky and fat looking now.
Step 12: Sew down the open side of the collar
Step 13: Hem the bottom of the shirt
Hem the bottom of the shirt.