Well, it took a month and a half, but I finally have a wearable T-shirt! Not much of a sweatshop at this rate 😉 I tried to ignore the fact that the pattern is described as “very easy”, because I expect it to be fast. But it’s only fast once (if!) the fitting is sorted out.
I rarely have time for (or interest in) an all-day sewing binge. I figure that if I do a little sewing here and there, it’ll eventually all add up to something. Like trying to break out of prison using a spoon, I’ll eventually get where I’m going, and with sewing I don’t even have to worry about the guards noticing what I’m up to.
After accomplishing a neckline that wouldn’t admit my head, I redid it using the method shown here: http://www.threadsmagazine.com/item/3839/video-a-neckline-binding-for-knits. And it worked! It’s just what I was going for in look and fit. I topstitched with a zigzag to keep the seam allowance in place. It looks a little odd to me since I’ve never seen ready-to-wear (RTW) finished this way, but it does the job and doesn’t look bad.
2. Sleeves & body
I inserted the sleeves flat, leaving the side seam/sleeve seam for last. Why do the instructions always insist you insert them in the round? RTW sleeves aren’t done that way, and I figure they probably know what they’re doing.
I easestitched the sleeve caps as per the instructions, the first iteration (at 4/8″ SA) working better than the second (at 5/8″). I pin basted it together to try on and the sleeve caps looked really odd: too much height and no obvious need for easing. The body was loose as well; while it resembled the drawing on the front, it’s not what I wanted.
I took it apart, narrowed the high bust by shifting the armscyes inward, and at the same time made them smaller. I also narrowed the body by taking in 1″ (4″ all around!) at the waist and below (after I had sized up at the hip for my pear shape), and tapering to ½” (2″ all around) at the bottom of the armscye.
The pattern made the sleeve cap way too high, so I faked it: I trimmed ¼” off each side of the sleeve (using my existing shirt as a model), then pinned the sleeve to the body so that it seemed to lie nicely. I didn’t make any effort to maintain the apparently excessive ease. Using this method, I took 1″ off of the height of the sleeve cap! But it works.
3. Sleeves and body part 2
I put everything back together and found it was still a little loose. Referring to the existing shirt that I was trying to replicate, I ended up narrowing the sleeve another ¼” per SA (½” total), and the side seams another ¼” per SA (1″ total).
I thought I’d try a double needle. Lo and behold, they were even on sale! It was tricky to do the (narrow) cuffs, but I just went slowly and it turned out surprisingly well.
Sewing with a knit was new for me, as was the double needle. It was also a novelty to make something so, well, ordinary. I haven’t made a lot of “real clothes”. The delightful upshot was that the next morning I put it on and wore it all day – and was comfortable. That’s not something you can easily do with medieval costume, dance costume, or special event fancies.
How cool is it to make your own wearable clothes? How odd is that I’ve been sewing for years and I’m only figuring this out now?