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).

Triplets

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Production line sewing, three bags, made from three canvas remnants from my “bag stash” that were bought from my local fabric shop.  Two to be gifted this week and one spare.

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The broad stripes lead nicely to a little playing (and you gotta have a pocket, right?).

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These totes are pretty roomy and have nice thick straps to help spread the load.

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Plus the ubiquitous mitred corner. Oh and solid colour base, cos white would not be practical!

Hopefully they will all gets lots of use.

#mendsomejeans

Take one tired projectstarter, feeling two urgh to start a new project right now and reduced to surfing the web instead.

Add the inspirational Kelly Hogaboom to invite me to a Kickin Jeans sew a long.

Hide the jeans I have that I’m half way through fixing.

Find some outgrown purple jeans on the mending pile instead with a hole in the knee.

Unpick side seam (the side that isn’t flat felled so no stitching is visible from the outside).

Add some Twill tape to cover up the hole in a decorative manner.

Sew up side seam and finish raw edges.

And what do you have

#mendsomejeans

#menditmoday (ok, techincally it was Sunday, but you’ll give me some lee way on that right)

 

The Placket of Doom

(On the Sorry You’re Feeling Ill T-Shirt with Get Better Faster Stripes)

So, the Boy got a tummy bug and got sent home from school. My children have a combined age of approx 20, so needless to say I have dealt with a few tummy bugs in my time. Never have I seen someone laid so low with one though. It wasn’t the typical symptoms so much that were extreme, more his general demeanor, listlessness, staring into space-ness, asking for help to sit up, not reading and barely talking. On Day 5, when he still wasn’t eating at all or showing any signs of improvement, I consulted our GP, which led to him being sent to the hospital to rule out appendicitis. It wasn’t appendicitis (the official diagnosis in the end was viral gastroenteritis), but he did end up getting admitted for 3 nights and put on a drip to counteract the dehydration.

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It was a busy week. Sitting around doing nothing at the hospital is surprisingly exhausting. Taking my turn being the parent at home with The Girl was surprisingly stressful too. So I decided to make the Boy a t shirt. Ostentatiously that was to cheer him up in the hospital, but really, it was to take my mind of things, which is good, as I didn’t finish it until several days after he got home from the hospital.

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Being unwell brings out the Aspergers side in my son, and as well as being the exact opposite of his normal chatty self at the hospital (one member of staff commented on how shy he was and I had to explain that he’s actually very outgoing usually, which is one of the reasons I knew he felt so ill), it also seemed to ramp up his sensory sensitivity and he kept complaining that his t shirt was too restrictive around his throat. By the time he was admitted to the ward, he’d stripped of his t shirt and covered himself up in a blanket instead and after that he couldn’t have put a tshirt on if he wanted as by then he had a line in his arm. We took some shirts in to the hospital so that he could wear them as unbuttoned as he liked, but mainly he rocked the bare chested “look you can see even more of my ribs than normal” look.

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Hence I chose to make no 37 from Ottobre 03/2016 , a raglan Henly style t shirt with stripes up the side, because I thought he could undo the placket and it would feel less restrictive.  Great plan. The downside of the plan turned out to be that I had to make a placket.

Tracing and cutting went well. I made it in a size I was pretty sure had some growing room (as he wasn’t there to measure), but cut it to the length of the pattern 2 sizes up, for my string bean. At this point I was still delusional that I would finish it in an evening and take it with me to the hospital the next day. Ha.

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Mistake no 1: The t shirt was made on a whim so I used scrap fabric that I had in. The grey knots was the only thing really suitable that I had to hand, and I decided to brighten it up a bit with the red (after all what is the point of a faffing around with an extra pattern piece for a side stripe if you never notice it). This was my first mistake as I think the red is a 4 way stretch and it shifted like billy o when I tried to wrangle it into shape and sew it down. Particularly troublesome on that placket. Which brings me to….

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Mistake no 2: I tried to follow the Ottobre Minimalist Diagrams Are For Wimps Instructions when inserting the placket. This didn’t go well and I ended up with the hot mess you see above. After sleeping on it I decided to recut the front and try again.

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Second time around I used the Thread Theory placket tutorial for their Strathcona henly t shirt. To make this work I cut the placket piece on the fold, rather than as two separate pieces. I didn’t quite follow the instructions to the word, but it went sooo much better this time again. Definitely still room for improvement but liveable with.  The sharp eyed may notice that this placket is the “wrong” way around, that’s because despite tacking the other side, it stretched as I was sewing it and has little tucks in. Grr.

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Mistake no 3:  Prym poppers. Past experience shows that no matter how many times I reread the instructions or do trial runs on scrap fabric (ok, actually I did 0 trial runs this time), at least one of them always screws up on the real garment. I’ve never had the inserty applicator thingy jam onto the popper before though. Turned out it was due to the popper front and back being misalinged. Another sleep on it moment, before then taking apart with pliers and carefully lining up the replacement popper through the holes it’s predecessor left behind before attaching it.

Mistake no 4: I then sewed the original front with the awful placket to the rest of the t shirt and had to unpick the triple stretch lightening stitch raglan seems. Urgh.

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The neckband isn’t technically a mistake, but I did follow the Strathcona instructions and tried the slanty edge look and it’s not entirely successful. In particular I’m not happy with the scruffy insides showing when it’s worn open.  However I am now officially past caring.

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Because tis done now.  And it looks ok, although I wouldn’t want to subject it to close inspection from someone who knows how to sew. I think it has a bit of a cycling top vibe to it.  But most importantly The Boy is now home and on the mend. He hasn’t really passed comment on the new t shirt, but he did chose to wear it.

 

Last Minute Shenanigans

A present for my daughter’s friend, finished just a smidge too late whilst they are out at the birthday party.  It’s hanging up waiting for them upon their return. (Hence no modelled shots. Also, it is currently absolutely tipping it down with rain and dark and grey, not ideal light conditions for a last minute photo shoot).

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It’s not the right time of year to make a cape. All the appropriate and even vaguely appropriate fabric that was in my local shop a few months ago is now in their warehouse to make way for the summer stuff. So I ended up with this cute denim fabric with an all over cross stitch design. Which is a little on the stiff side, but I think it’ll do.

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The pattern is the Oliver and S Forest Path Cape, which I have made two times before.  This time I skipped my collar hack, as I didn’t think it would work in this stiff fabric, and I didn’t make an inside pocket, as I ran out of time, but I did include a hanging loop.  Oh and I definitely didn’t do pom poms, too much with this fabric.

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Actually the whole thing ended up a bit rushed as my son has been ill and my mum is in hospital with a broken leg, serve me right for leaving things to the last minute. Still, it is a quick and easy make, especially third time around. My machine passed it’s first post service buttonhole test (hooray) and I sewed the buttons on with a cross stitch, it was meant to mimic the fabric, not sure it quite does, but the contrast thread still looks good.

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In an ideal world I would’ve got some turquoise lining fabric, but I made do with this polyester shirting instead, due to budget constraints.

Right, now to await judgement from the 9 year olds…

It was the third one that nearly killed me

OK, so that’s an exageration, but by the time I was finishing the third and final last minute Christmas make I was feeling pretty rough. That’s what coming down with a stomach bug does to you.

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Still, if you will leave taping and cutting out the pdf until first thing Christmas Eve morning (the house was blissfully quiet as I was the only one up) and cutting and sewing until after the kids are in bed and you’ve walked your mum home (I’m thinking it was about 9pm, it’s a bit of a blur now), then you don’t have a lot of choice if you need to get it done in time. Let this be a lesson to you me.

I was fairly confident as I knew a tshirt dress, with only 5 pieces (front, back, 2 sleeves, neckband) would be a pretty quick make, but I hadn’t counted on how rough I would feel. I even switched the pedal over to slow mode to help me cope (usually only used when kids are on the machine).

But, I did it, well almost, it didn’t get hemmed until a  couple of days later but it did get worn on Christmas day. And I decided to skip the planned step of adding in some side pockets.

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So, this is Nivalis number 2, sized up 2 sizes from last time, one size because the last one is quite slim fitting with not much growing room and the second size because this fabric was a bit thicker and not quite so stretchy as last time (I think it might be ponte). Probably I should’ve only sized up one size as now it’s really quite long, but never mind, she’ll grow.  Also, I left off the tabs this time (that was planned, not just because I ran out of time).

30 blocks a quilted

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I did it, I made a quilt, from start to finish, all by myself, my very first quilt, and I even finished it on time to give it to my brother and sister in law when we were visiting to meet their new baby.

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Fabric: a fat quarter pack I got given for my birthday present from the recipients.  Plus some nice “neutral” orange and turquoise from my local fabric shop. I got the cotton wadding there too.

Inspiration: This quilt here (although mine is clearly more garish and less classy!)

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Making the quilt top: Getting everything to line up was, hard? tedious? frustrating? I dunno, it wasn’t as easy as it should’ve been somehow, and the result isn’t as good as I’d like, but things got better once I started doing LOTS of tacking before sewing. Maybe it would’ve helped to read some quilting advice but it all seemed to be either aimed at beginners (in a kind of how to use a sewing machine kind of way), or be needlessly complicated. So I forged my own way, pigheadedly.

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Once the quilt top was finished I had to admit to myself that I knew not what to do next and luckily I managed to find a couple of tutorials at the right sort of level for me. Also, I didn’t want to buy any new kit to make just one quilt (actually, I did buy a gridded quilting ruler thingy as I figured that would be useful in “normal” sewing too.  And it probably will be, if I ever find it, it went AWOL in the bombsite that is my sewing room half way through the project). So, I had no special curved safety pins, no walking foot, nada.

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I basted my quilt using this method, although shh, don’t tell, but I didn’t use any starch. So any wrinkles are almost certainly my own. I used 2 struts from a recently dismembered sofa as my “boards”.

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I took advice from one of the lovely assistants at my local fabric shop and quilted it using a window pane method, rather than trying to stitch in the ditch. I forgot to buy an appropriate turquoise thread for the bobbin, so I used some variated green/white thread instead, and then some variagated blue/white when I ran out. The quilting went better once I worked out to start in the middle of a side, rather than at a corner.  Of course my most mismatched corner is smack bang in the middle of the K on the back in green thread, so shows up loads.

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And I bound it using this tutorial, although I had to wing it a bit at the end as I machine attached the binding rather than hand finishing.

Then, just when I thought I had finished, I had over 120 threads to tie off. Yeurghhhh.

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I did run up a quick taggie blanket out of the leftovers and some ribbons from my stash.

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Ridiculously small cute niece didn’t really pass comment on the quilt, but she did try and stuff one of the ribbons of the taggie into her mouth when it was dangled near her. Her parents definitely seemed impressed though, although amusingly they’d completely forgotten about the fabric they’d bought me!

As the quilt only took half the width of the wadding I bought, I still have as much again left in my stash now, so there may be more quilting in my future, but not any time soon.