Stripey Tales

After making a top (as yet unblogged) from my holiday purchase of green and black stripey jersey, I had what seemed like quite a lot of fabric left. I thought about making a pair of comox trunks (any excuse to look at that photo shoot hey) and then I decided to make the boy a top as well. I started with his top. I only just squeezed it out of what I had, no room for trunks (probably for the best, I’m not sure what my other half would think of stripey underwear). When will I manage to get my head around how much fabric stuff takes to make?

For a pattern I had Simplicity 1573 in my stash. It claims to be pajama’s but a t shirts a t shirt right? I figured it would be useful for making long/short/layered sleeved t shirts as well as pajama bottoms and dressing gowns (a small girl was dropping hints about dressing gowns a while ago) so I bought it a little while ago for it’s versatility. I was going to make small girl some pajama’s with it recently but she spilt milk over the pattern envelope and some fabric and after the pfaff of cleaning it up, drying damp tissue pattern and rewashing fabric, it got put on hold. So this was it’s first airing.

I started off by looking at the finished garment measurements and comparing them to a fairly large but wearable t shirt he already has. This led me decide to make the age 7, which I lengthened, I think by 2″, I can’t decipher my notes now. My boy is a beanpole, tall and skinny, and has never grown out of something width wise, so it seemed prudent. Technically there isn’t a short sleeved option but I used the short sleeves of the layered sleeve option without the long sleeves underneath and this worked just fine.

I wanted to make the t shirt v neck, which isn’t an option, so I found this tutorial for altering a t shirt to be a v neck. It says it’s for babies but the theory is the same. Adjusting the pattern was fairly straight forward, I could’ve worked that out myself, but explaining how to cut the neck band, including length for self fabric (rather than ribbing which I can’t get locally) and how to put it on was really helpful.

Cutting out the t shirt proved a challenge, I didn’t have quite enough fabric for my longer length, so I cut an extra piece as right angles to the grain to go across the bottom of the back. Unfortunately I was so excited by the great hint Melissa gives “if you’re working with jersey, one way to tell the “right” side of the fabric is that the raw edges will curl toward the right side” that I sewed my extension piece on upside down. I was excited because I always struggle to tell the right sides of non patterned fabrics, including jersey, so I loved this hint. I noted which way my extension piece was rolling and the bottom of the back and sewed according to her rule, so pleased with myself for my new found knowledge that I didn’t look too carefully. Once sewn, I looked at the stripes and realised that it was on upside down (the stripes aren’t so neat at the edges on the wrong side, like when you knit something stripey, if that isn’t too obvious to say, after all this is a knitted fabric). I couldn’t work this out. Then I noticed that, on my jersey fabric at least, the horizontal cuts across the fabric curled to the right side, but the vertical cuts parallel to the selvage edges curled the other way. As my extension piece was cut at right angles to the grain, it had fooled me. Oh well, as I keep telling myself with little mistakes on the kids clothes, they’re never going to keep still long enough for anyone to notice (and I certainly wasn’t unpicking stretch stitches and twin needle topstitching).

optical illusion (are you eyes feeling funny yet?)

optical illusion (are you eyes feeling funny yet?)

My other alteration was to make a pocket, self drafted. I initially tried to make a v shaped bottom to match the angle of the v neck but it looked silly so I flattened it out. I cut that at right angles too to make a feature of the stripes and I’m really pleased with how I managed to line it up.

check out the black stripes going right angles.  (it might distract you from the not so need pocket sides towards the top)

check out the black stripes going down the pocket and then turning right angles onto the shirt (it might distract you from the not so need pocket sides towards the top)

Making up the main t shirt was straight forward (I don’t think I even looked at the pattern, go me and my new sewing confidnence). Soon I only had the neckband to do. I followed the tutorial instructions for adding a self fabric neckband. You basically sew it all around from the point apart from the last couple of inches and then you do that. I found I hadn’t stretched it evenly and there was a bit of a bulge at the front. It also looked quite small, which was confirmed when the boy tried it on, it was very high up.

What is this showing

Bias strip for neckline – work in progress

Pocket Tastic

High V neck with added “bulge”

I puzzled a bit how it had ended up so high, when the front should be lower than the original curved neckline on the pattern. Was this some freakishly high neck drafted pattern? Then I realised, the pattern had a 1.5cm seam allowance. But as my bias strip was self drafted I hadn’t cut it to have such a large seam allowance or used one. Doh.

So I chopped off the binding, which deepened the neckhole, cut some more binding and tried again. This time, I first marked the centre of my binding, then sewed the first couple of inches of the binding on as per the instructions but then I stopped. Then I sewed the last couple of inches on. Now I had the bottom of my “V” bound but the rest hanging loose. Then I matched up the centre of the binding with the centre back of the neck, stretched it in place and sewed it on. This worked much better for me. New improved bulgeless low enough neckline. (Not perfect, but it’ll do.)

finished garment

finished garment

I’m quite pleased with my first “proper” kids t shirt (if you don’t count the self drafted raglan top or shiny pink superhero self drafted raglan t, actually, come to think of it it’s not really my first at all), I’ll give it 7/10. The neck binding looks a bit odd because of the angle of the neck combined with the bias strip makes the stripes on the binding look a bit like I went wrong as they aren’t obviously at 45 degrees to the neckline, more not quite horizontal. It would’ve looked better in a solid colour, but I didn’t have anything appropriate to hand. I also tried stitching in the ditch to keep the seam allowance hanging right – need to work on that technique a bit, maybe top stitching 1/4″ in would’ve looked better. The couple of inches at the bottom of the back with different facing stripes looks less cool than I’d imagined and more odd, but I can live with it. I think a bigger band would’ve looked more fashion statement and less random cutting, but I’m not sure I had enough to work with that.

The boy’s verdict was that the pocket was too small, but other than that he’s worn it lots and there is certainly loads of growing room so as the fabric seems very good quality I’m hoping it has a lot of wear left in it. Despite him wearing it lots I don’t seem to have a photo of him in it though, sorry, as he is quite cute if I say so myself. Probably he didn’t stay still long enough.



Today, he saw the t shirt still hanging up from last nights photo shoot and wanted to know why. So this afternoon he insisted on a photo shoot. So, here are some gratuitous shots of my young man…











And to prove my point he staged this photo of him awarding his sister a rosette he made earlier (he also made the necklace she's wearing)

And to prove my point he staged this photo of him awarding his sister a rosette he made earlier (he also made the necklace she’s wearing)

9 thoughts on “Stripey Tales

  1. I think it looks great. I am for sure not a t-shirt sewer. I have tried and failed once. Probably because I didn’t have a pattern 🙂 Anywho. Love the stripes !

    • Thank you. My first attempts were self drafted raglans using an existing t shirt as a guide (following a tutorial), they worked ok. I didn’t fancy trying to work out how to cut a sleeve head without a pattern though.

  2. Looks fab to me. Worth the effort!

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