So it seems that with age (or experience?), comes wisdom.
After proclaiming at the start of my sewing journey that I didn’t want to sew T-shirt’s – because boring – I’m now on a quest to make T-shirt’s ??
I realised that many of the garments I’d sewn for myself early on in my sewing adventures didn’t tend to get worn because they didn’t fit in with my day-to-day wardrobe of jeans and T-shirts. Jeans and T-shirts also happened to be the two things that I’d never made, at the time. Why? I think maybe because I saw my sewing as a creative process, but ignored the purpose of the end product. I made all the cool dresses because I liked the idea of it – but I never (okay, rarely) wore dresses. I hadn’t really figured out what I liked and didn’t like to wear at that point in my life – clothing wasn’t anything that really interested me, so I never paid it too much attention. If it fitted, it’d do. It wasn’t until I started sewing my own clothing that I really had to put the brakes on, take a step back and think about what worked with my style and figure. And it’s then that I realised I don’t wear dresses, so I really ought to stop making so many of them and instead use all these cool fabrics to make something that I will wear.
This analysis is still a work in progress, but I’m getting there – and this process has involved admitting that even though I may not have wanted to make T-shirts, I wear them pretty much every day so I may as well make myself some cool ones!
Cast your mind back to a couple of years ago. For one of my first collaborations with Minerva, I made that Kielo dress from the fabric that so many of you have asked me about (it was deadstock fabric and not available any more – sozzzzz ?)
I ordered two metres of the fabric to sew up my Kielo, and it wasn’t until I came to cut out the dress that I realised that it was two metres without nap/direction, because they have you cut the back piece upside down on the fabric. So I needed another two metres in order to cut the back piece, which Minerva kindly obliged with. But this meant that after I’d cut out the dress pieces, I had a couple of sizeable chunks of fabric leftover.
As you do, because you never know when you’re gonna need it, I hung on to the scraps. And a couple of years later, they’ve got their calling.
I’ve made – and worn – many Scout Tees (This one is my all-time fave ?). The Scout Tee is a basic pattern from Grainline Studios, designed for woven fabrics.
Now usually, the golden rule is that you shouldn’t use woven fabrics on patterns designed for knits, and vice versa. The two fabrics have very different stretch properties (as in, one has a lot and one has none) and interchanging them can give a project a fair amount of potential to go tits up (an exception to this is actually the Kielo dress, which is written for knits but can also be made from wovens… if you size up).
The Scouts I’d already made got worn regularly, but there’s just something so comfy about a jersey T-shirt that a woven can’t quite replicate. After trying the Rowan Tshirt (a tee pattern from Megan Nielsen designed for knits) and having it turn out a complete shambles, my thoughts turned back to the trusty Scout. Even though it was written for wovens, could it work in a knit fabric? Surely making a T-shirt from knits rather than wovens is only going to make it more comfortable? I couldn’t see any potential downsides of using a knit fabric, so thought I’d go for it. Plus I was using up leftover fabric – it’s not like I’d gone out and bought anything specially, so if it all went Pete Tong it wasn’t the end of the world.
I went for it.
*Fun Fact: The Neverending Story is the second-best film of all time (after Labyrinth). Yes, that’s fact.
As the knit fabric would be looser and stretchier than the wovens, I kept with the same size that I’d been making the wovens from. I did consider sizing down, to accommodate the potential extra room, but I didn’t want another repeat of that super-tight Rowan. Plus, sticking with the same size meant that I didn’t have to retrace the pieces ?
I had just enough fabric to get a decent, central pattern placement on the front – but not the back. I can live with it – the back will be covered up with my hair or a backpack most of the time anyway ??♀️
The Scout can be cut out of a yard of fabric (if it’s 60 inches wide) so its a good remnant buster. You’ve got the front and back pieces, plus two non-symmetrical sleeves (unlike the Rowan, with its oddly symmetrical sleeves). For the woven versions, I french seamed the whole inside and used bias tape on the neckline and hem, but for a knit version I sewed the whole thing on the overlocker. Super speedy.
When it came to finishing the neck, I realised that there was something I hadn’t thought of – how was I going to finish it? I *could* use bias tape, the same as for the woven one, but then that would eliminate all stretch in the neck opening. I could use stretch bias tape… but I’ve never used that before and didn’t have any to hand, and did I really want to wrestle with stretchy bias tape? I know that it can be bought, but what if it’s an absolute nightmare to use and it stretches about all over the place and gives a wibbly finish? Should I just do a small double fold hem, like on the neckline of the Kielo? ? I didn’t want to use the collar piece from the Rowan tee, because it was so tight that it basically just choked me. While I sat there contemplating my options, I looked over at the husbeast in the hope that he somehow held the answer. He did.
At the time, the husbeast was making himself a T-shirt with contrast black sleeves and a nice little collar, and an idea caught light in my head. I shamelessly stole the collar template that he was using and grafted it on to my Scout ?? I even stole his contrast fabric idea too, and cut myself a bit of the black viscose jersey that he was using for his collar. What’s his is mine, right? ??
It was sort of the right size for my neck opening, and actually gave it a really nice finish – I only wish that I had put black bands on the cuffs of the sleeve as well ?
I used the coverstitch for the hem and sleeves, the whole things looks proper profesh and it took like literally no time at all – maybe like a couple of hours at a leisurely pace.
I couldn’t decide whether to hem the T-shirt at the bottom of the colour change (my eyes preferred this) or at the bottom of the shirt – see the photos for the comparisons…
I came to the conclusion that I’d probably be wearing it tucked in for 90% of the time, so you wouldn’t see that extra little bit of colour at the bottom and I could also do with the extra length. Yeah, it looks a bit weird when it’s untucked, but ??♀️
I’m a happy bunny. I feel a little bit – basic? – making like ALL my T-shirts from the same pattern (hello, Steve Jobs) but it fits really well in both wovens and knits… what more could you ask for?! I will still try other patterns, though, because there just might be one out there that’s better and I haven’t discovered it yet ?
In other news
We spent last weekend in Paris! We had a couple of days eating lots of food, doing lots of walking and – bien sur – exploring the haberdasheries and fabric shops.
My haul was a modest one:
- Some black and metallic gold leopard jersey (to become T-shirts for me and the husbeast – yes, matchy-matchy ?)
- One black and gold zip for a jacket for the husbeast
- One pink zip for me (fate unknown, purely bought because it is pink)
- Two metres of black and gold sequin ribbon for me – probably destined to go down the sleeves of a future jacket
You also might have seen on Instagram that we had the pleasure of meeting Olivier Till – a star of the French Sewing Bee and one half of the pattern company Patrons Les BG (‘sewing patterns for handsome guys’) who produce men’s designs (obvs). I’d recently sewn up their Irresistible Jacket, which the husbeast was wearing in Paris… and Olivier was wearing his too! They look SO good in their matching jackets, don’t they! ?
So good to see guys wearing their handmades!
And that wasn’t the only bit of awesomeness… after I’d mentioned to Olivier previously that I bought the French version of the jacket pattern (because the English translation hadn’t yet been released at the time, and the husbeast was desperate for the jacket), he presented me with my very own English copy! Yay!
It’ll be interesting to see how many places I went wrong with the first jacket ?? Google translate isn’t that good when it comes to sewing terms!
So… you remember that black and gold zip from the photo above that I bought in Paris? That’s for the second version of this jacket for the husbeast. The fabric has already been bought, and it’s been decided (by the husbeast) that there is going to be some adornment to the main motif on the back of the jacket – in beads and gems ? But there ain’t no way I’m sewing beads on it – thankfully, the husbeast has volunteered to do it himself ?
He’s intending to pick up the shiny bits at the Knitting and Stitching show in October.
So that was last weekend… this weekend marks the start of our training for Ride London 2020 ??♂️??♀️ For those of you wondering what the hell it is – it’s a 100-mile cycle race that starts in London, goes out through the Surrey hills and then finishes at Buckingham Palace.
I’ve wanted to do it for years, but the husbeast wasn’t really convinced. After a sufficient amount of wearing him down, he’s finally agreed (only because I pointed out that he gets a medal at the end – I knew he’d do it for the shiny ?) and we have our places booked ?? There’s a cycling club local(ish) to us that goes out for long rides every Sunday morning, so we’re gonna join their rides – Sunday for us used to be ‘Sunday Runday’, but dodgy knees and joints put a stop to that a while back. We miss it, so I’m happy that it’s now being replaced with Sunday Rideday. Although, this weeks club ride that we’re joining is somewhere between thirty and forty miles (?), and I’ve no idea whether we’re actually capable of cycling that in one go ? Our weekly cycle commutes are eighty miles (me) and one hundred miles (the husbeast) but that’s spread over four days and not more than about thirteen miles in one go.
As you read this, we will probably be out on our bikes, so please send us positive thoughts!
While you do that, here are some more pictures of this beautiful fabric for your enjoyment ?
Happy Sunday guys ✌?
On the blog next week – my first bash at activewear! Subscribe below to have it drop straight into your inbox! ??