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).

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.

 

Starting Slow

I have barely sewn in 3 months. Apart from The Girl’s birthday dress which I then failed to photograph. But, perhaps spurred on by the fabric I bought on holiday last week (if you’re ever in Glasgow, check out Mandors with the conveniently sited Project Cafe next door) I have managed some things this weekend.

First up a new pin cushion/sewing organiser, which I started in January and has been sat waiting me to sew up a 2″ gap for 3 months. 3 months. For 10 mins sewing. Yikes. Even by my standards that’s bad. Anyway, it’s a blatant copy of one I saw in a blog post now long lost in the mists of time (I tried to find it to link to, I really did), although I figured I didn’t need to buy the pattern to make a cube with pockets on and a flap for putting needles in. I used up batting remnants from the baby quilt to quilt the main panels as per the original but I’m not convinced it was necessary. I stuffed it with ground walnut shells because apparently that’s the done thing (it’s supposed to keep the pins sharp, not sure I believe that but it was an excuse to go investigate my local reptile shop) and I’m hoping it’s huge solidness will make sure that it doesn’t go a wandering like it’s predecessor leaving me bereft of somewhere to stick the pins I pull out whilst sewing and forcing me instead to resort to balancing them on the edge of the desk or sticking them in a piece of scrap fabric. Yup I am that messy a sew. Speaking of which…

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The pincushion needs somewhere to sit of course, so I was inspired to tidy the sewing table in my sewing room. You’ll notice that the rest of the room is not shown. There’s a good reason for that.  Note to self, still need a frame to buy the picture I bought last summer so I can hang it.

See that crumpled pile top right. That was abandoned in the cupboard of my sewing room just before Christmas. Turned out it didn’t take that much to finish sewing up the side seams and attach the arms, then I just needed to rootle around in the pit sewing room for the rest of the grey fabric so I could do the neckband and bottom band and voila, a new top for the boy.

The boy liked the top, but not the photo shoot, can you tell?  I like the origami style print, it’s so hard to find a good non girly print and this one is right up his street, although of course he was bemoaning the lack of instructions as to how to make the birds shown for real. I only got a metre of the fabric and he’s now officially too big for that to make a long sleeve top, hence the grey, which is irritatingly a thinner fabric, but I figured that’d be ok on the side panels of the Semper.  I appear to have hacked the neckline back in December to forgo a hood (hoods are a mixed blessing with the boy, he loves them, but will happily wear a tshirt hood, a jumper hood and a coat hood all up at the same time quite possibly with a ear warmer or a hat too, which makes conversing with him tricky). So I just cut a neckband at 90% of the neckline width. I may have lengthened the pattern too as it’s super long, but as my little sunflower is still growing skywards at an alarming rate I have no problems with that.

Now to motivate myself to do a little more tidying so I can get stuck into my lovely new fabric. Mmm. Fabric.

Supercats to the rescue

Eek, it’s nearly the end of May and I have yet to cross the finish line for the 2016 Spring Seasonal Sew Wardrobe. There’s only one thing to do. Break out the supercats…

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and make another Maria Denmark Kimono T shirt.

Bonus points if you spot the table top ironing board I found at the tip today. Pretty useless as an autoharp, but I’m hoping to add it to my pressing armoury once I recover it.

 

Teal Birgitte

Hi there. I’ll try to be quick today as this is not super exciting make (but it is super useful and all being well I will have a more interesting thing to show you soon).

As part of the outfit sew a long I had plans to make t shirts. Three or four. After all they’re quick to make aren’t they? I managed one. Then I got ill. But I’m recovering now. So, one t shirt is in some ways is a start towards my September outfit for the sew along, except I’m not sure that it’ll go with the rest of my outfit plans.

teal tastic

teal tastic

However, this teal coloured Maria Denmark Birgitte t shirt does go rather well with the skirt I made earlier this summer and is a colour that I love to wear, so I’m not too disappointed. And it was quick make as I’ve already made it before and tweaked the fit.

hmm, less than ideal

hmm, less than ideal

The fabric is some gorgeous organic jersey from Kitschy Coo (warning, this stuff is seriously addictive, check your willpower before clicking on that link) that I got exactly matching ribbing for (previously seen on my niece’s birthday pressie) – every home sewists dream. So you can imagine I was less than impressed that it’s done this. My neck bindings don’t normally do that, have I offended the sewing gods? Can anyone suggest a suitable offering to get back in their good books?

I did not want a flip top sleeve :(

I did not want a flip top sleeve 😦

This problem however, is fairly common. I sew my hems with my twin needle, they look fine, and then when I wear them they flip up. Any suggestions on this one? (preferably not involving buying an expensive piece of hardware). I know Amanda suggests binding the arms to stop this, but I don’t always want to do that.

wierd creases

wierd creases

Finally, while we’re being picky, when looking through the photo’s I saw these wierd creases. What’s that all about? Or am I being fussy now.

Anyway, don’t pay too much attention to my moaning, this t shirt is going to get a lot of wear. And Anne has just reminded me that there is a longer sleeved option that I’d forgotten about. Oh and have you spotted my mistake in the construction of the t shirt above?

Stripes to the max

I used to buy my (really quite small back then) kids clothes from an online store called Nordic Kids. Well, I occasionally did, when they had a sale on. Lovely, bright, unisex, kids clothes (from Scandanavia). And then the store went bust 😦

Well, these days, I’m sewing some of their clothes. And I get my bright and cheery fix from splurging on fabric from Kitschy Coo (click on that link at your own risk). But it does mean that my kids can have bright cheery clothes again 🙂

She practised this pose in the mirror before coming outside for her photo shoot

She practised this pose in the mirror before coming outside for her photo shoot

The stripey t shirt dress I made her before has been getting a lot of use, so I thought she could use another one. Luckily for my bank balance the whole dress came out of a metre of fabric, phew.

yes, the colours are that vibrant in real life. (Looking at the selvage, they're woven not printed)

yes, the colours are that vibrant in real life. (Looking at the selvage, they’re woven not printed)

Without any white in this time (cos, you know, kids, mud, food, felt tip, etc).

Couldn't resist adding the obligatory tissue pocket "upside down"

Couldn’t resist adding the obligatory tissue pocket “upside down”

The main difference is no ribbing this time. Because the pink I had was close, but no cigar (in a so almost right that it was very wrong kind of way). So the neck is a little slouchy. But then, the rate she’s growing, I figure I can live with that.

Twin needle finish (look mum, no serger/coverstitch/fancy expensive machine in sight)

Twin needle finish (look mum, no serger/coverstitch/fancy expensive machine in sight)

Also I interfaced the pocket. Because it Was Not Playing Fair. So I’m extra annoyed at the wonky stitching caused by her brother running into the room and thrusting something into my face while I was sewing. Sigh.

Anyway, I’m pretty pleased with this one. Easy, quick, stylish, practical, bright, no major mishaps, the stripes match at the side. 9/10 I reckon.

This time, I have the eyes on the leftovers for myself…..

Stitch and Bitch

So, yesterday I invited my friend round for a chat. And she asked if she could bring some hand sewing (err, yes, of course). She was feeling a little under pressure to get a Tudor (under?)shirt ready for her 3 year old. She has until Friday (when she’ll be here) and there are a few small things like work, children etc that are eating into her sewing time. So I sat unpicking the sideseams on my Style Arc Top (Me Made May confirmed it for me, love the fabric, hate the top, so I’m going to rework it) while she was handstitching and we were chatting away and her toddler was exploring all the toys lying around our house.

Handsewing!  She is hardcore.

Handsewing! She is hardcore.

But then she got frustrated with her work as it didn’t match the one she was copying and I had to help a friend out. Before I knew it I was using this technique (thanks for the heads up Dr Monserratt) to pin out and trace pattern pieces, which helped her work out where she’d gone wrong. Also I introduced her to entirely unauthentic water soluble pens. Then with pattern pieces there in front of me, I had a rummage in my scrap fabric pile and found some good enough cotton (it should be linen really) and started my own one. Surely an extra white top is no bad thing when being worn outdoors by a 3 year old?

Working out where it all went wrong

Working out where it all went wrong

I constructed in on my sewing machine (shock horror) so it’s not really authentic. I used french seams, as I figured she could stitch them down by hand and they’d look like flat felled seams (which is what the reproduction garment she was copying seemed to have, I don’t know what the “proper” technique should be). This got interesting as there is not just a front and back piece but side gussets as well that come to a point under the arm. I left the hems raw for her to stitch by hand.

her version (not finished)

her version (not finished)

So, all in all, a nice half a day spent doing unexpected sewing and helping out a friend. And as a bonus, one of the “toys” her son chose to play with was my hoover, and he spent a long time cleaning my sofa and living room floor. Bonus!

(Oh and she also took a couple of items out of my bags of wardrobe clear out, so I had slightly less to carry to the charity shop and she got some new-to-her clothes, double win).

and my attempt (also unfinished

and my attempt (also unfinished

And then today, another friend came round with his son and I finished off the t shirt I was making him (junior) from the remnants of my son’s pajama’s.

Well, I couldn't leave this gorgeous fabric lying around when it could be worn could I?

Well, I couldn’t leave this gorgeous fabric lying around when it could be made up and worn could I?

He wasn’t as co-operative with the photo’s though!

The closest we got to a photoshoot

The closest we got to a photoshoot

So, anyone else joining in my Improptu Scrap Busting For Other Peoples Toddlers Week?