Ribbon for Shoulder Seams: Stash
Dislikes: Baggy hem, Undefined feeling that something's missing
When I bought that lizard fabric several weeks ago, I also got this $3.00/yard yellow knit. That's right, this thin Plain Jane yellow was $1 more than the thicker lizards and frogs.
I planned to use this fabric to experiment with making underpants, but I ran out of elastic and haven't yet saved enough to buy more. Since my basic T-shirt pattern worked so well for the lizard shirt, I decided to try with this pretty yellow. The added bonus is that brights are fashionable right now. Not that I am driven to by what's in style, but if what I like and what's current coincide, so much the better.
This fabric was severely out of whack. I pulled as best I could and smoothed and tugged, but I couldn't get it to even pretend to be square. I debated again saving it for underwear muslins, but really wanted a bright yellow t-shirt.
"What if it's a casual t-shirt that I only wear to hang around the house on Saturdays? Even if I run to the store in it, it can't look any worse than a logo t-shirt, can it?" I persuaded and unpersuaded myself several times while trying to get the fabric square.
Then I silenced the voices and cut out the pattern pieces. I did plan ahead some for the neckline and even redrafted a new piece with a square neckline. Since I like the front slit look of woven tunics, I modified a facing piece from another pattern and decided to try the detail with a t-shirt.
Are you proud of me for planning ahead?
After the front, back, and sleeves were cut out and I was ready to sew, I realized that a new neckline means a different length neckline facing and I didn't want to be bothered figuring that out. Plus, it takes so much fabric to create a self-facing. But I needed something stretchy. I decided to cross that bridge when I came to it.
I put in the facing for the slit the same way I did on the woven tunic. Then I realized that for my modesty standards, one layer of this knit was too sheer. I had tried to convince myself otherwise, but better sense got ahold of me before I put in too much work. I don't understand the point of wearing two layers unless you are trying to stay warm so the "just wear a camisole" fix doesn't work for me.
I ripped out the facing.
I cut a second front and back piece. I sewed the second piece onto the first so the two were one piece, but double thickness. That provided sufficient opacity.
I sewed the shoulder seams of the t-shirt. Then I remembered reading that shoulder seams can stretch out and you should sew in a ribbon. I compromised and sewed a scrap ribbon on the seam allowance, stitching over my original seam stitching. Don't know if that does any good or not. I've never had a shoulder seam stretch out, but then again, this is only the second t-shirt I've made for myself. Is it only self-made t-shirts that stretch out?
Then I realized that I should have sewed the "lining" to the outside pieces right-sides together at 1/4-inch, flipped, and sewed at the seam line so the that the raw edges would be encased. This knit doesn't unravel, but it would look more polished if the seams were nicely finished. I didn't want to rip out all that stitching, so I'm keeping this point in the back of my mind for the next project.
I also realized that if I had used the French seam method, I wouldn't have needed the facing piece to finish the edges of my front slit. Sew and learn.
Deciding how low I wanted the slit took a little bit of guess work. I tried on the t-shirt after the shoulder seams were sewn, but before I sewed the sides. I looked at where the neckline fell, put my finger at the lowest point I thought I would be comfortable with a slit, considered how likely the fabric was to flop open and expose more than expected, made a rough measurement, figured I could fill in a too-low space with ribbon or something, and decided on a one-inch slit.
I drew a one-inch line down the center of the facing and stitched 1/4-inch on each side, tapering to a point at the one-inch depth. The width of the triangle was a bit of trial and error. I started with a slightly wider triangle, using the same width as was on the tunic pattern, but it didn't look right, so I eye-balled it. With this small measurement, it looked good and I cut out the excess fabric.
When I tried on the shirt, 1-inch was the perfect length.
I followed the tunic instructions for flipping the facing and top stitching to hold it in place. Again, I realized how much easier this would have been if I had used the lining as the facing, too.
I took out my dark blue lace, decided it didn't look too nautical against the yellow, and played with where to attach it. I was worried it would be scratchy if I sewed it around the armholes, so ended up turning them under 1/4-inch and stitching with no decoration.
During all this sewing, this fabric slipped and stretched and was more of a pain to work with than satin. Also, when a stitch went it, it fused with the knit as if they were knit together when the fabric was produced. It made for very difficult seam ripping. It also means that I'm thankful I won't be submitting this for inspections. My seams are even more wobbly than usual.
I wasn't sure how to get the lace around the rounded corners of the squared-off neckline, but did my best when I pinned and stitched it down. It looked good, except the point of the lace V didn't match the point of the slit when I put on the shirt.
I had to rip out those stitches, enough to be able to reposition the lace. You can't tell unless you look for it, but instead of following the left side of the slit exactly, I curved the lace a little to make the points line up.
Even though I don't like frilly or antique lace, I like this neckline.
I didn't want lace around the armholes because it might be scratchy, so naturally, I put lace on the underarm area. That's logical, right?
I like how the dark lace on the sides slims the shirt and emphasizes the curvy nature of my torso while still having a shirt loose enough to cover my poochy stomach.
As you can see from the picture below, the armholes are a little too wide. If this was only a sleeveless shirt, I would put a dart in the back or something to make them more fitted, but since they don't show anything unwanted and I will attach sleeves, I'm leaving them a bit baggy.
You can also see that the lining is shorter than the shirt. This is because I was using as much leftover fabric as possible to leave myself as large a chunk of uncut fabric as possible. The lining back even has a vertical seam slightly off center, but it's not too noticeable through the outside fabric. I did make the lining the same amount of too-short all the way around, so hopefully, it looks intentional. I considered stitching the lining "hem" against the outer fabric to keep it from rolling up, but I didn't want that horizontal stitch line.
I rolled up the shirt hem 1/4-inch, or as close to that as I could without having tucks and pleats, and stitched it down. Somehow, with this horrible fabric, that gave me a higher hem on the sides than in the front and back. It doesn't look too bad, but after sewing with this, I realize why it was on the sale table.
Or maybe it's because I haven't worked with knits often and there is a secret I'm missing that will make life easier.
I don't have a picture, but I had enough lace left to sew a vertical stripe down the top center of the sleeves. I think it will like how it looks when the sleeves are sewn in.
I've worn this shirt and the lace under the arms doesn't scratch. I like the idea of the shirt, but there seems to be something missing. I like plain t-shirts so that I can wear jewelry without the shirt getting in the way. I like the neckline better than I thought I would. The fit is perfect; fitted, but not too tight. So why do I look at this and think the front needs some darts or other unobtrusive detail to give it interest?