Turning Out T shirts.

Recently I have stayed in my comfort zone and made lots of T shirts, which makes sense as I wear a t shirt nearly every day. I stayed well within my comfort zone and have mainly been using tried and tested Maria Denmark patterns that I have already adjusted.  I have considered several new to me patterns, but at the end of the day, how different are t shirt patterns?  So I have stuck to the ones I know work but snuck a few tweaks in to change things up.

Dorsal Fin Indications

First up a Happy Holiday/Easter/Birthday present to myself of this Kirsten Kimono T shirt (already adjusted for full bust and sway back). A simple design, perfect to showcase some loverly holiday splurge shopping fish fabric. Bonus knickers and headscarfbandthingies made from the remnants (the latter of which my kids nicked).

I have more of this fabric in the green colourway earmarked for The Girl and I nicked a bit! There was some debate on the correct way up for this fabric, and we decided the bulge on the fishes indicated a dorsal fin and therefore went at the top.

Knit one purl one

Couldn’t resist this fabric in some of my fav colours and a knit stitch pattern. As a bonus it feels slinky and my family gave me lots of hugs wearing it. This is a hacked Birgitte Basic Tee (that I apparently only have dodgy phone photos of, sorry).


As per usual, I forgot to save the link to the tutorial I found. Basically, place centre of pattern piece at an angle to the fold instead of along the fold line. I think I added about 5cm each side (so 10cm) overall at the top, tapering to nothing at the bottom. Then I marked out double that length either side of the centre front and gathered it with clear elastic, that later ended up in the seam allowance (until I cut it out as it itched like crazy). Then I sewed on the neckband as normal, but couldn’t do my usual zig zag to sitch the seam allowance down so I did a stitch in the ditch with the stretch straight stitch instead, which didn’t look as neat as I’d like (the photo is pre stitching).

I eeked a toddler t shirt out of the left overs (spot the extra seam on the back) for the daughter of a knitting friend who was in the area. I used a pattern I made ages ago. The neckband looked to small once on though, and I know from experience that things that are tight getting taken on and off dont get worn, so I cut it off, thereby enlarging the hole, and added a new one. It also has a pocket on the front purely so I had an excuse to incorporate this sheep ribbon that I had a little of in my stash.

Feeling Blue

Sometimes you just need basics. This is another Birgitte, this time I raised the neckline slightly. I also lowered the armhole half an inch to try and get rid of the creases radiating from my armpit. This only had a negligable effect on the length of the armscyth so I left the sleevehead as it was. It does feel a little more comfy I think, but the creases are still there.

Irony Warning

And sometimes you need to make a statement. Another Birgitte, same armhole adjustment as last time, neckline moved even higher. My first time using iron on decoration which I bought online, they are really glittery 🙂 (and the fabric is more lush stuff from Kitschy Coo like the last two t’s, that this selfie really doesn’t do justice to).

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I feel I need to explain as this is not a comment on the latest Dr Who casting (that’s a fortuitous coincidence). Neither is it me pretending to be a gynecologist.

As a Quaker I would like to live in a world where titles aren’t used (George Fox famously greeted the King “Good Day to thee Charles Stuart”, which was a very radical thing to do). As a realist I know this isn’t happening any time soon (I tried leaving boxes unticked on forms as a teenager. They just assumed I was a Mr. These days digital forms wont even submit if you leave boxes unticked). As a feminist I object to the fact that my title changes with my marital status but this isn’t true for men. As someone who studied hard for 4 years, I’m proud of my PhD. So as a preference I use no title (my qualification is rarely relevant to the conversation), but if people insist, I like them to use my hard won “Dr”.  After all, with aspie traits running int he family it’s important to get things right 😉

So when a family member called me Mrs, LSH pulled them up on it, and the reply was “isn’t it techically Mrs Dr if you’re a woman”. No. No it isn’t. Unless, apparently, you’re German, but they use Mr Dr too. (Or more accurately Frau/Herr Dr.)

Bonus Item

When I bought the “Mrs Dr” I noticed they had Alicorns too (I am adamantly informed that is the proper term for winged unicorns, who am I to argue with a 9 year old on such matters). So I let my daughter chose one (this is the rainbow holograph option). They must’ve printed it out the wrong size or something cos we got a second smaller one free.

The resulting AdvTee is now in heavy rotation, even if I’m slightly annoyed that I got a bubble at the centre front when adding the v neckline.

It has also prompted much discussion. Are Alicorns a species in their own right or the result of cross breeding between Unicorns and Pegasi? Are they born with a horn?  With Wings? Do they have nests? Are they mammals? Hours of fun for all the family (and innocent passers by, like the assistants in the sewing machine shop, and an old work colleague we bumped into).

Baby Cthulu Dress

Oh sorry, didn’t see you there, you been there long? Come in, I’ll put the kettle on, move that pile of stuff on the sofa and have a seat.

Things have been a little busy around here, what with ill children and really very tired children and visitors galore and the whole lack of daylight thing. I’ll pop on an episode of The Bridge in a moment – shh, don’t say a word about the plot, I’m not up to date. Anyway, once The Ever Patient Man who currently has Favoured Parent Status (lucky him, apparently I smell today so cannot dish out the regulation bedtime hugs) has put the kiddlings to bed we can all watch it together.

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Ta Da

In the mean time, let me show you this dress that I made. Sorry you can’t see it amazingly well in this light, but it’s hidden away in the daytime as it’s a Christmas present for the girl. I hope she likes it, I’m a bit worried about the octopi, but hopefully the colour and the flowers and hearts will win her over. When I went to buy the fabric that I knew she’d like I discovered that they’d sold out, so I got this instead. When it arrived I wondered if I’d done the right thing. Someone tried to reassure me that they look like baby Cthulu. Now I know a few people who like to rock that kind of look, but she is not one of them.  Luckily I don’t think she’s heard of Cthulu so maybe I’ll get away with it. Fingers crossed.

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New Neckline

The pattern is the Banana Sweet dress from good old Ottobre 4/2014. The observant amongst you will notice that I missed the hood off, because hoods are not her style.  While I was at it  I decided to save myself some potential sewing headaches and miss the placket* off too, so when cutting out I simply extended the line of the neckline curve to the centre front. When I made it up I was worried it looked a bit small for her head so I widened the neckline at the shoulders slightly and dropped it a bit at the front in an entirely unscientific way. Then I bound it with ribbing, I cut mine 3.5cm wide and 70% of the neck circumference (plus seam allowance) long. Amazingly the neck looks ok despite all my random messing. I will have to see how it looks on (assuming she’ll wear it). Oh and for some reason I decided to apply the ribbing like bias binding, but hand stitching it down on the inside. Not sure why. Not sure I know how to handstich stretchily either. Oh well, I used this finish for pockets, neckline and the cuffs. Obviously I’m a glutton for punishment this week (or just really dissatisfied with the options I know of for applying rib with a standard sewing machine).

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Cuffs

Other than altering the neckline, I made it up in the “wrong” fabric (jersey not sweatshirt fabric, a fairly safe swap), added a couple of inches to the length and extended the cuffs too (it was the biggest size for this pattern and I was worried it wouldn’t be long enough, I’m pretty sure it’s wide enough by comparing it to other dresses though, presumably there’s extra ease for added for the intended sweatshirt fabric). I just managed to squeeze it out of my metre of fabric – even after realising I couldn’t place my back and front oppisite ways up to each other (there are clearly upside down hearts, so I assumed the fabric worked either way up, but on close inspection only 1 column in 4 is upside down, so it would look strange if cut the other way around).

 

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So, why choose this pattern then if I was going to change it so much. Well, for the gathers at the sides (front and back). But boy did those gathers befuddle me at times. Here’s the pattern, as traced from the magazine, on my fabric. See the slits going in?  Well, as this is an Ottobre pattern, I still have to add my seam allowance, but I had no idea how to do it to those slits. I reread the instructions several times but could find nothing to help. Just that I needed to add 1cm seam allowance to most edges. (There were exceptions but this wasn’t listed as one).

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So I bumbled my way through and as the seam allowances on the slip overlap it ended up like this, sort of like a pinafore dress. Which was fine, until I tried to make the gathers. See those blue arrows pointing in, you have to gather between those. When I tried that, it gathered the top fabric that I’m supposed to be stitching to up too. Unsurprising really when you think about it. The instructions are to sew “darts” (but they’re not marked like darts) by sewing “rows of gathering stitches along lower edges of darts as marked on pattern” (that’ll be between those arrows then) “and gather edges to fit upper edges. Stitch darts; as you approach dip of dart, stitch with gradually narrower seam allowance”. Rereading this several times didn’t help. I could only think that I needed to cut into my seam allowances but that seemed scary without more information.

 

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So I emailed Ottobre and 2 hours later I got a reply, which I think is pretty amazing customer service, especially as my email was in English as was the reply and they’re based in Finland. And what did the reply say you ask? “You need to add 10 mm seam allowance only to the beginning of darts, on the sides. Then you add gradually smaller 9..8..7..6..mm seam allowances as you approach the tip of the dart. It`s a bit tricky without having 10 mm seam allowances all the way but I`m sure you`ll get it done right. Hopefully this will help you to continue with your project!”

So, confidence bolstered, I drew a line that bisected my angle (please forgive me if I’m straying into geeky maths talk, I really cannot think of another way of putting it that’s clear). Then I cut along my new line just as far as the gathers have to go and no further.

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So then, fabric cut, gathers now just gathering the bottom half of the fabric, I sewed it together like a dart best I could, tapering to a point and tying off the ends.

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Once pressed it looked ok from the outside. Then I just did the same with the other three. So, I don’t know if that was the right way to do it, but it seemed to work.

After the gathers, it was plain sailing to make. Sew the shoulder seams, attach arms, join arms and side seams in one fell swoop, hem, cuffs, bind neckline. The pockets were a little fiddly as they have curved edges so you’re instructed to gather them around a template to press the sides under, but it was straight forward enough.

Now I just have to wait and see if she likes it.

I’m curious, what’s your favourite way of applying ribbing to a neckline (that doesn’t involve expensive machinery, trying to keep things simple here)? But tell me in a bit, after we’ve watched Saga doing some more investigating in her inimitable style.

 

 

*My friend who lectures in English once told me that placket used to be considered a rude word and now I struggle to type it without sniggering.  However I can’t bring myself to explain what it’s a euphemism for, you’ll just have to use your imagination.