Thursday, September 06, 2018

My best T-shirt (so far)

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This shirt was kind of a happy accident. I was looking for striped knits at Joann's (which, btw, I was very disappointed in the selection available. C'mon, striped knits are the most basic thing you should have after solids!) and after hunting through the printed knits section I found this grey and white stripe rayon knit thinking I'd make a drapey cardigan. I took it up to the counter and it wasn't until the person started cutting that I realized that it's actually double-sided, with the reverse side being a polka dot. I'm not sure what this fabric is called. It's clearly a double knit but it's almost like double gauze but in a knit if that makes any sense.

So after getting it home and washing it I decided to make something that showcases the double-sided nature of the fabric. I thought that a classic raglan baseball tee would be the perfect application. I dusted off one of my favorite sewing books from my previous sewing life (AKA 2005-ish to 2012-ish), Sew U Home Stretch. It appears to be out of print now but you can obtain it quite cheaply if you buy used on Amazon. The book contains 3 basic patterns, a crew neck tee, a raglan tee, and a dress. It then gives you directions for making many different variations--pattern hacks if you will, before the term was called pattern hacking.

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I knew that the book had instructions for transforming the raglan to a baseball tee, so I traced the pattern and got to work. Side note: I used this book a ton in my previous sewing life, but evidently I never used the raglan. The tissue for the pattern was still completely intact. I was kind of surprised that I'd never used it before based on how much I loved that book. Anyway.

I traced the size S, which was the size that matched my measurements. The tee has some built in positive ease, which is nice for a casual tee like this. In addition to the changes the book tells you to make, I shortened the sleeves (a normal alteration for me because i have stumpy arms) but kept them long with cuffs, and I also widened the hem to make it more swingy at the hip. I actually widened it more than I was intending to due to a math snafu and forgetting that b/c the pieces are cut on the fold, slashing and spreading 1.5" inches on the pattern piece means you're adding 6 total inches of width. I caught myself about halfway through and didn't end up adding quite that much. I also made a full-width pattern piece for the front and back so that I could more easily match the stripes. The last thing I did was change the seam allowances to 3/8". The pattern comes with 1/4" SA, which I find slightly too small for my inevitable whoops moments (when you have to rip something out and re-stitch it). 3/8" gives a little more security.

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Construction was very easy. The only thing I wasn't sure about was whether I should stabilize the shoulder seams on a raglan. I pretty much always use twill tape in the shoulder seams of other types of tees but I didn't know if I should apply it to the raglan seams. I opted not to so I guess I'll find out over time if the shoulders sag or not.

I learned a new-to-me trick for matching stripes with knits. Normally on my regular sewing machine I'd pin the crap out of the stripes but it's hard to do that when using a serger b/c stopping every second to take out a pin is quite annoying. Also I have issues with my serger shifting the fabric underneath the foot so I was worried about the stripes un-aligning while I was sewing the seams. So I glue basted them in place with Roxanne's glue baste. I applied a thin line of glue within the SA, making sure that the stripes were lined up and I set it with the iron. It worked well, I was pretty stoked about that.

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I was also super happy with my hems. This was probably the first garment where I felt like I had good control when I was using the coverstitch and my hems and neckband are pretty even. When I tried it on I thought to myself, "Now, this is why I bought a coverstitch machine."

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The only thing about this tee that isn't perfect is that the neckline wants to bunch up a little bit. I steamed it and that seemed to help but I'm wondering if perhaps the neck opening is just too narrow for me. It does come up quite high. Other than that I am so happy with this tee and I would love to wear it, but the double-thick fabric is pretty warm. It's been in the 90s again around these parts so way too hot for a heavy long sleeve t-shirt. It'll be a great loungewear tee for fall when it cools down.

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1 comment:

  1. I love the fabric, the shirt looks like it fits you great .

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