All About the Tees – Part III

stripe uvita 1

Meet my new favourite 3/4 sleeve tee shirt, the Uvita from Itch to Stitch.  It might just be the fabric that’s got me so in love, but I have a feeling it’s a combination of perfect fabric and pattern, a pattern that just so happens to be free! The fabric is actually navy and ecru, but looks so dark it’s almost black.

The fabric is viscose/modal and elastane blend from Montreux Fabrics, but sadly they seem to be sold out of this particular stripe.  It’s soft and drapey and has a silky touch.  It can get caught on things, when using the overlocker I had to cover the screw tops with magic tape because they were catching on the fabric.  I notice that my recycled coffee sack shopping tote has left its mark too.  The fibres are caught in the tee shirt fibres.

stripe uvita 4

So, that pattern.  I love the length, I cut the size 12 and added a 3cm FBA on the half to the front.  The sleeve length is just right for me, they don’t ride up to past my elbows and I don’t feel the need to push them up either.  There is a full length option for the cooler weather.  I was initially unsure whether the neckline would work on me, but after making and wearing the Basic Instinct Tee with the crew neck, I realised this would work just fine.  I love the loose fit on the body and the length is just right.

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I have to admit something here, I actually made this back at the end of May – photographed it early June…  So why is it only blogged now?  Because I’ve been too busy wearing it and loving it! 🙂  It has been in constant use, the navy goes with pretty much every other item in my wardrobe, so if it’s the first tee I see in the morning, I wear it!  Even better – it doesn’t need ironing!  That means it is back in the wardrobe far quicker than some of the other things I’ve made.

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I really will be making more of these, even the neckline worked brilliantly, (I had my doubts) the fabric behaved itself and stayed flat – no rolling.  A real winner in my book!  Please stay tuned for all the things I made in June and now need to blog in July!

 

 

 

 

 

Shout to the Top

Take a bag of fabric scraps and a simple pattern, no small amount of time and fiddling and you’re rewarded with a pretty unique item of clothing.  I’d wanted to make a tee from the different white and blue pieces of jersey in the scrapbag for ages, inspired by a tee from a Burda magazine from a couple of years ago.

I decided to make the Lark Tee, traced the 4 with slightly widened shoulders, moving to the 2 at the waist and then out to the 6 for the hip.  This was to be for a friend.  I started by tracing the outline of the tee from the pattern art/line drawings and playing around with placement of the different prints.

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Trying out different pattern placements

It needed to be done hand in hand with checking the actual amounts of the different fabrics, no point in deciding to do a large panel and finding out later there was only enough for a neckband!  Once I decided I’d have enough of each of the pieces to do the required panels, I started blocking off the traced pattern, making sure each piece had a grainline and was labelled with the intended fabric.  I also marked the top and bottom of each piece.  The fronts and backs were cut separately.  There were two types of blue and white stripe, a solid navy blue and a piece of navy blue with randomly placed white blocks.  As each piece was cut I pinned and sewed, making a full front and back.

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On the left are the pieces for the back, front pieces on the right with the sleeve in the middle and the neckband on the top front panel

I’d have liked to have been able to have more of the solid blue, but as I told myself I was only using what I had this is the result.  I’m pretty chuffed with it, for a pretty much free tee, can it get better?  Afterall, I’ve used the narrow stripe on 3 other tees, and the solid  blue on two.  That pile of stuff on the right of the above photo is what was left once I’d finished cutting!  Not too shabby!!

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The finished tee, modeled by Betty.

I haven’t been able to persuade my friend to show it off herself yet, so Betty will have to do.  It’s a little baggy on her as she hasn’t the same shape.

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Neckline detail
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Left side with the wide stripes running round from front to back
navy lark tee 2
Right side with narrow stripes matching
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Last, but not least, the back!

Now that this has turned out so well, I’m keen to make another – but for me this time!  It’ll join the sewing queue, so it might be a while before I’m showing it off! I have just finished my Morgan Jeans today, so perhaps their blog post will be ready mid September…

What’s on your sewing table for the weekend?

Burda Love

How often do you wear matching items?  Some of you might wear suits for work, I never have!  In an attempt to bust a little stash fabric, and to have more items made for my Sew Seasonal Wardrobe, I originally wanted to make two pairs of trousers from a 3m piece of stretch cotton sateen from Croft Mill Fabrics that I’d bought last year.  Unfortunately, there just wasn’t enough for both pairs so while I sat there looking at the laid out fabric hoping to find a way, inspiration hit.  There could be enough for a jacket & trousers…

 

It took a little playing around, pattern piece tetris is a real thing.  The left picture shows the layout I ended up with and the little pile of skinny scraps on the right is all I was left with once it was all cut out!  I cut the inner waistband and both pocket pieces from different fabrics in the scrap box to save space.

The trouser pattern is 109 from Burdastyle magazine March 2010 and the jacket is my old staple, 116 from Burdastyle magazine April 2009.  I think this is the fifth version now!  I decided to leave the jacket unlined, and to use Hong Kong finish on all the internal raw edges. A piece of pansy print Liberty lawn was liberated from the scrap box that worked perfectly against the beige.  I cannot tell you how many metres of bias I cut in the end, suffice to say it was a lot.  Because the jacket was unlined, the shoulder pads were covered in the same fabric.  I had thought I’d get away without them but the jacket looked all frumpy and structure-less.

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Burda Addict

So, trousers.  I went for the shorter version and still chopped out 4cm.  A remnant of silk was cut for the pockets, and a pocket facing was added, using the cotton sateen so you don’t just see silk at the opening.  The pockets are of the in-seam variety.  The inner waistband was cut from a remnant of printed cotton sateen that had made a pair of trousers and a skirt for the daughters in the past.  The button closure and trouser hook & eye came from the stash.  I overlocked all edges before starting to sew, that way I don’t have to stop and start and can get a pair of pants made in a day.

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I really like the colour it goes with all my new handmade tee-shirts!  The stretch is really comfortable, I like the stitched seam on the front pieces, it gives a sense of length, which is sorely needed.

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Trouser details, contrast inner waistband, trouser hook & eye, silk lined pockets

The jacket pattern is one I have made many times now.  I think this is the most crisp though.  Even my linen one, lined, is softer.  Just means I need to work harder to remove that darn double chin my family genes is/are so fond of….   I really wanted a light weight jacket, so no lining.  That also means far less structure and interfacing than I’d normally use.  Only the facings and collar pieces are interfaced, relying on the structure of the fabric to give the jacket a good shape.

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I love the insides!

The jacket was actually made fairly quickly, considering the metres and metres of bias that needed to be attached!  The reason why it hasn’t seen the light of day until now (apart from no photographer) is that I couldn’t for the life of me find the right buttons.  Beige buttons on a beige jacket are BORING!  Metallic ones just looked too bling.  White looked insipid and black too much of a contrast.  So I was stuck.  Help came in the shape of a friend who went through my buton stash with fresher eyes than mine.  She found these interesting regtangular buttons and practically dared me to use them.  Challenge accepted!

Collage jacket details
Burda jacket details, covered shoulder pads, Hong Kong seams finish & rectangular buttons.

The shape and texture on the buttons makes them far more interesting than ordinary brown round ones, so I’m happy with the result.  I also sort of want to wear this jacket inside out! The only time anyone will see the pretty insides is when I take it off and lay it flashily on the back of a chair.  🙂

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Tee 138 from Burdastyle magazine March 2011 in grey viscose jersey

On to the last item for the day!  I’d ordered two pieces of grey viscose jersey from Croft Mill Fabrics, dark grey, & a lighter, silvery piece at the beginning of March.  Can I just say, these jerseys are so soft!!  They have the most amazing drape which means every bit needs to be stabilised!  I chose a tee-shirt pattern I’d liked before but not got round to tracing, 138 form the March 2011 Burdastyle magazine.  It’s in the plus-size section.  I liked the twisted neckline treatment and the tab on the sleeves.

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I made the 46 with a 6cm FBA but with this soft fabric I wonder if I could have got away with the smaller size.  The armhole seams, front and back, are stabilised with Vilene bias tape, having learnt the hard way last year that this sort of fabric keeps going down….  Initially the neckline wasn’t stabilised, but as the day wore on I realised that wasn’t my brightest idea, so back to the ironing board it went.  Now the neckline, while a little low, doesn’t try to migrate any further south.  The neck band is simply a rectangle that isn’t folded symmetrically.  Once the centre back seam is stitched, instead of folding and pressing you move the seams 3cm apart which gives a little pull on the folded edge.  This creates the “twist”.

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The sleeves with tabs are easy to sew, if using a soft fabric like this though, I suggest you iron on a bit on knit interfacing where the tab goes to stop the fabric stretching as you do the topstitching.  Unfortunately, this fabric doesn’t work folded up.  It’s too soft!  I don’t really mind, the sleeves are a good length and I like the detail left with the buttons and stitched squares.  The only other adjustment I made was to remove length.  I took 5cm off the bottom and still turned up a 4cm hem.  I get that some people prefer longer tops to hide things, but on me I’d look very, very short and definitely feel like I was wearing a tent!

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All said, I am happy with my new outfit, not 100% sure if I will actually wear the matching jacket and pants together, but I have that option.  All items are in my suitcase for the holiday as with colours like this you can wear anything!  Score more for busting some stash & scraps, making a matching outfit and using freshly bought fabric before it found the stash!

Contrast Birgitte

Maria Denmark Birgitte contrast tee
Maria Denmark Birgitte contrast tee

One of the items in my huge pile of goodies to make this season was an idea to use up some of the smaller, left over pieces of jersey from my original Birgitte and the Tessuti Mandy top.  I had in mind a sort of double layer tee, with bits of the under layer peeking out from the upper, but an investigation of the remaining bits of fabric showed there wasn’t enough for my plan.  So I thought of something with a “yoke” instead.

Making sure seams stay lined up while overlocking is such a pain!  I knew I should have done more to ensure these areas stayed put!
Making sure seams stay lined up while overlocking is such a pain! I knew I should have done more to ensure these areas stayed put!

I was really happy with the fit of the Maria Denmark Birgitte, so decided to use that as a basis for my fiddling.  I went with the scoop neck nee this time, lifting the neckline by 5cm in order to create the yoke area.  I had to keep in mind there wasn’t much of the ivory jersey left, so couldn’t go too deep.  I ran the line across the sleeves and back, keeping it all straight.  It does mean that actually, when worn, the line on the sleeves angles upwards, but I’m good with that.  I paired the ivory jersey with the remaining stripe – I obviously forgot what that tiny stripe does to my eyes!!  It has a lovely drape so I thought I’d use that in this tee.  I flared the tee out at the sides by 5cm at the hem, creating a slight Plantain silhouette.

The flare works well with this fabric
The flare works well with this fabric

For the sleeves, I used the long sleeve from the Birgitte, but then shortened it to the 3/4 length.  The reason why I ddn’t just use the 3/4 sleeve is the shape – the given pattern has a slight trumpet shape which I didn’t want this time.  Just straight sleeves for this version.

P1130482-1P1130486-1I’m pretty happy with the result.  I think I’ll take the sides of the scoop in more next time, possibly raise the back neckline by a couple of centimetres too, but these are not earth shattering alterations. I’ve worn this tee loads already and it’s really fitted in well with my current wardrobe.  I have quite a few other tops to show off, somehow the sewing has completely taken over the reporting of the sewing!  There are some tops I made back in September in a rush, fearing I wouldn’t be able to touch a sewing machine for ages after my wrist operation, like the last time.  Thankfully a different surgeon has meant a totally different experience and I was back to sewing within a week!!  Miracle!  So stay tuned, there are more tops coming this way…

Hidden under that voluminous jacket, somethiing else still waiting to be shown off...
Contrast Birgitte hidden under that voluminous jacket, something else still waiting to be shown off…

Hello Sailor

What is it about navy and white stripes that gets us thinking all summer and seaside?  I’ve been hankering after a blue and white, or white and blue stripey tee-shirt for months now, but never found the right one in the shops.  I’d steered clear of sewing my own until I had a decent knit block to work from, and that was taking time to get right too.  Then, by chance, I popped into one of the ladies shops in my local town and found a navy and white stripe jersey maxi dress, in my size, and that fitted rather well!!  On sale it was a snip at £34, so I bought it, with the idea of lopping off the bottom half so I’d have two tees!!

I should have taken a photo of the maxi dress before it got chopped up, but there you go, I was in far too much of a hurry!  It was/is from Scottish company Marble Clothing and can be seen here.  The first tee was made pretty easily, I simply put the dress on and marked with a couple of pins where I’d like the finished edge to be.  On taking the dress off, I measured down 2cm, then went a bit further down to get a stripe and cut along that line.  I used a twin needle to stitch the new hem and ta-daa…DSC00091-1

I love it!!!!  The neckline is really good for me, the scoop is perfect, just the right depth and width and it doesn’t stretch out while wearing, unlike my Plantain tees.

DSC00104-1I have taken the side seams in a bit since seeing these photos, and I wish I’d cut it a stripe or two longer, but of course, if I had, I wouldn’t have been able to make another tee!

DSC00106-1The bottom half was saved for another tee, but this time it wouldn’t be as easy or quick!  I’d made a start on a knit block earlier in the year and had to do loads of fiddling, only to make a tee that was too small.  So I decided to revisit the block and fiddle a little more.  I haven’t documented the process, I just kept changing and tweaking with each toile.  I’ve used a lot of jersey in toiles!!!  Eventually I managed to come up with a shape that worked and fitted, but course, I’m aware that with every different type of jersey it’s going to be very different, which is what’s annoying about knits…

I decided I’d like a v-neck tee with short sleeves – the sleeves ended up being shorter than I’d wanted, but lack of fabric dictated what I could have in the end.

DSC00117-1I started by cutting up the side seams of the skirt and then pinned the stripes together.  The front and back were placed to use the existing hem which helped with lining up the stripes on the side too!  The sleeves had to be cut separately, one on each skirt half and they had to be squeezed in so there’d be space for the neckband.  I had to piece the neckband, there just wasn’t enough length in the fabric to get it out in one shot.

DSC00122-1Making up was dead easy and really quick, the only issue was the neckband, getting that point right in the front meant I decided to sew it on with the sewing machine first, after a little fiddling I got it perfect, then went back over it with the overlocker and messed it all up!!  grrrrrr  I couldn’t do too much with it because – overlocker….  Damn.  The rest went together swimmingly, and I got those stripes on the side seams matching like a dream.

I love my new tee shirts!!  The fit is fabulous, the jersey itself is amazing.  The content is cotton with lycra and it’s lovely and soft.

Matching stripes - like a boss!
Matching stripes – like a boss! 
Not 100% happy with that flippy sleeve…

The only thing I’m not happy with in the second one, is the sleeves. The hems tend to roll up to the outside, I think it’s because they’re quite short and the hem is just 1cm. I might try adding a band to the bottom, I have some white cotton jersey in the stash that may help.

Now for the trousers..  I wanted a pair of trousers with flare/wide bootcut as a nod to the 70s trend this year.  There is a great pair in the July issue of BurdaStyle, but it wanted stretch fabrics and the fabric I had in mind was a beige linen – no stretch fibres built in.  So I reverted to another TNT pattern, 118 from April 2009.  I just love the shape of these trousers, but I do have to shorten them drastically!!  6cm has been folded out of the leg length of this pattern in order for it to fit my short Scottish pins.  The pattern goes up to a 44, so I did a little extra grading and made a 46 from hip up.  I just don’t go in enough for the 44 to fit comfortably!!  I think actually that I can get rid of a bit of this extra though, and take in a little down the thigh.  After putting on a bit of weight while I was out of sewing action and very, very bored, I have been able to get rid of the extra flab.  This means that I don’t actually need some of that extra ease I built in to the making of these pants!  So I’ll run a new line of stitching from the knee to hip and get a better shape for the flare from the knee down. (  Update – I have actually taken the side seams in from the waistband to knee, making for a much better fit and look overall.)

DSC00102-1I picked the perfect thread to sew with, you can’t really see any of it in the topstitching.  These little front patch pockets and just right, they try to discourage me from having my hands in my pockets too much, but are just the right size for my phone or a little change.  I am addicted to pockets, I never really know where to put my hands if I don’t have any!  I used seam tape for the hem, another occasion of just managing to fit the pattern pieces on the fabric.

Details, left, the inside of the zip, top right, the patch pockets, & bottom right, the hand stitched seam tape on the hem.
Details, left, the inside of the zip, top right, the patch pockets, & bottom right, the hand stitched seam tape on the hem.

DSC00089-1I love how these trousers look with the stripey tee shirts, they’re going to be the first thing I pack in my suitcase for my week in Cornwall!

In other sewing news, the prom dress was finished in time and looked fabulous! I have a couple of photos on my phone, but have yet to persuade daughter no2 to get dressed up again so I can take decent ones for you all to see.  We need details!  I also downloaded the Mandy Boat Neck Tee from Tessuti Patterns after spotting a few online and seeing Thornberry’s latest versions.  I’m obviously not over my quest for a square tee.  I made it quickly a couple of weekends ago, mid prom dress, and I’m dead chuffed!  So that’s another post waiting for photos.

Perhaps, if the weather’s not all it’s cracked up to be next week, I’ll be writing blog posts from our holiday apartment instead of exploring the Cornish countryside with the family.  I won’t be taking any sewing stuff with me this time not even patterns to trace!  I need desperately to crochet loads and loads of granny squares for daughter no2’s granny square afgan for University, I can’t believe there’s only one month today until she goes!  Time flies people…

*UPDATE* I thought I’d posted this particular post before setting off on holiday, then wondered why things were so quiet…  Turns out I’m a bit of a numpty and did nothing of the sort.  So I have been on my Cornish break, altered the trousers and next week will be adding a band to the sleeve hem of the self drafted tee!  I have also made loads of granny squares, and as I add this postscript, have just 12 more to do!  Then I need to block them all and start putting it all together. It’s going to take time & Daughter No2 leaves on the 8th of August…..

Terrible Tent or Trendy Tee??

Remember that sew slowing from March?  Yeah, I might be rethinking that now!  There are so many things I need to make, patterns to try and fabric to convert into pretty clothes that that idea might have to wait a while.  I still don’t want to race ahead with the self drafted trousers, they need to be right.  In the meantime though I have stuff to make and time to catch up on.

While I was not sewing I was re-stocking my pattern and fabric stash.  One of the pieces of fabric was a gorgeous blue and beige Ikat type print I bought on Etsy from Heather from Handmade By Heather B.  The fabric is gorgeous, I love the print and the colour blue is perfect.  The jersey itself is soft, has a fabulous handle and drapes beautifully. I thought I’d pair it with a new pattern purchase, the Shirt Tail Tee from HotPatterns.

The Shirt Tail Tee by HotPatterns
The Shirt Tail Tee by HotPatterns

The pattern was a PDF purchase, no copy shop version, so I was in for a bit of cutting and taping.  Once printed, I noticed there were no borders on the pages, I thought initially that the sizing was incorrect.  It turned out the printing went right to the edges of the paper, I just needed to line the pages up right next to each other.  There are two versions of the front of the tee, a solid front or a front made of 3 pieces all cut on different grainlines.  I went with the solid.  Falling between the 18 & 20 I opted for the smaller size because I figured there would be plenty of ease.

Instructions are pretty simple, sew shoulder seams, fold neckband in half lengthways, attach to neckline, sew centre back seam, hem shirt, sew side seams, sew sleevebands, insert sleeves.  The toile was quick, I used a lightweight jersey from the stash for the job. I was fairly happy with the result, it was baggier than I really wanted, and definitely too long, I decided to shorten it by 5cm but left the rest, I thought as the blue jersey was drapy-er that it would flow better around the body. So I went ahead and cut & sewed.

But this is where it all went wrong.  The instructions do not call for stabilisation of any seams.  I should have listened to my questioning self and added some, but I didn’t.  The jersey I used was so soft and drapey that it stretched while I was working with it, not noticably but enough.  Suffice to say that once I’d finished everything and put the tee on, it was a good 3-4 sizes bigger than the toile!!  AARRGGHH

Fast & Fabulous Shirt Tail Tee by HotPatterns
Fast & Fabulous Shirt Tail Tee by HotPatterns

It’s horrible!  A huge tent/sack that’s so unflattering it’s just not even funny.  The neckline is massive, the little sleeves hang far too low.  I hate it!  So I took to Instagram to see if anyone had ideas for me to rescue the thing and there were some good responses.  But I was too despondent, I’d just wasted all that lovely fabric!!! I put it aside to sort the next day, but on getting into my PJ’s that night had a bit of an epihany.  My PJs are handmade, remember Karen’s Pyjama Party? I made a couple of pairs then that have been in rotation, and I realised the top I’d made is the perfect style of tee for me.  It has a scooped neck, it’s floppy, not fitted, has a cap sleeve….  Eureka! So the next morning I cut what was left of Heather’s fabric and made a new tee.  Using style 113 from Burdastyle magazine 12/2008 this is what I have now!  Tah-dah…

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The colours are perfect for me, I tend to have a rather monochrome wardrobe, greys and blacks in the winter, blues and creams/beiges in the summer.

DSC00041-1The pattern itself is quick and easy to sew, it consists of the front and back, raglan sleeves in two pieces and a neckband.  I lengthened the tee by 2cm, just because I could!  To combat this fabric’s desire to stretch I stabilsed everything!!  Using Vilene bias tape I fused the neckline on all pieces, the raglan seams and the centre sleeve seams.  The only seams that don’t have a liberal application of bias tape are the side seams.  And it’s worked!  The fabric drapes and flows beautifully, and I don’t have to worry that the neckline is going to end up below my boobs 🙂  I’ve decided I may need to make another, there’s a new piece of jersey on my cutting table that I got from Fabric Godmother in my latest splurge and I think it’ll look fab in this pattern.

Neckline detail, 3 small pleats either side of the CF.
Neckline detail, 3 small pleats either side of the CF.

Soooo much better!!  It drapes, it swooshes and I love it! 🙂  What to do with the tent?  Maybe that’ll be a pj top.  But for now I’ve put it aside, I will have a think, it will either be recut or used to sleep in on the hot summer nights.  If we get any…