Monthly Archives: March 2013

Needs More T-Shirt

At some point over the last year, my style has changed such that most of my old t-shirts are now too short for my current taste. So I’m starting to replace them, one shirt at a time. Since I live in jeans and t-shirts the majority of the time, I’m trying to sew some variety into my casual wardrobe, with some different prints and patterns.

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First up is another raglan sleeve shirt. The fabric is soft and stretchy and I don’t have a clue what the content is. It’s leftover fabric out of my mom’s stash (yes, we regularly raid each others fabric stashes). As with my other raglan t-shirt, this one had the same issue with the sleeves sticking out at a weird angle. Instead of adding hem bands to fix the problem, this time I made a small pleat on each sleeve hem and secured it with a button. It’s a nice little detail that isn’t really visible in the photo, but I promise it’s there.

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Next up is a shirt from a long time favorite pattern, Butterick B4745. It’s hard to see in the picture, but the shirt has a cool twist detail at the front bodice.

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I have a few shirts made from this pattern already. Unfortunately they’re all too short for me now. I made them straight off the pattern, but that usually results in a belly shirt for my long torso. The length didn’t bother me at the time of sewing (this was several years ago), but like I said, my style has changed a bit. So this time I lengthened the shirt a few inches and added a bit of ease around the midsection. Much better.

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To note though, the neckline is low enough to be indecent (for me, anyway). I actually used a safety-pin to close it a bit higher when I wore this. On prior versions of this top I just sewed the v-neck closed an inch or so higher. For this version I think I might add a small snap to close it up a bit. That way it should also double as a nursing top. That’s probably too much information. But hey, if you’re a nursing mom looking for patterns to try, this one is a winner. The fabric for this one is a polyester ITY knit. It drapes beautifully and seems to have good stretch recovery (something to consider for a nursing top).

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Lastly, and most casually, is my own pattern. It’s very loosely based off a GAP t-shirt I found on the clearance rack a few years ago. I loved the way it fit and made a pattern off it, and this shirt is the second generation of that pattern. I added the hem band to this version and loosened up the fit around the midsection. The result is an amazingly comfortable t-shirt that is a bit nicer (I think) than your basic tee. It’s dead simple too. Front and back, and hem bands, that’s it. I’m not sure if the sleeves would be considered dolman sleeves or kimono. I should probably look that up. (Update: I did look it up, and according to Gertie I have kimono sleeves on my pattern.) The fabric is a very light weight poly/cotton jersey with a bit of rayon in it. Hopefully it will hold up well, as I think this shirt will be getting lots of wear once the weather warms up. Until then, not so much. I’m not sure why I keep sewing warmer weather clothes when there’s still snow on the ground. But I’m three t-shirts closer to ready for warmer weather!

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Pattern Testing – Robson Coat

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I love this coat. I wasn’t sure I would, since a trench coat really hasn’t ever been on the list of things I want to sew. But now that the coat is finished I’m just dying for the weather to warm up a little so I can wear it!

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The Robson Trench Coat is the latest Sewaholic pattern, and it does not disappoint. I was a little intimidated about sewing this, as coats in general are not something I have lots of sewing experience with. But I shouldn’t have been worried. The instructions were great and the coat went together smoothly. It looks more complicated than it actually is.

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One of the hardest parts was forcing myself to slow down and take my time on the top-stitching. There is quite a lot of it, and it’s worth taking the time to make the top-stitching look really good. While I don’t know exactly how long the project took me, I do know that it breaks down into smaller tasks very well. The whole thing was put together in chunks of time an hour and a half or less. My sewing time these days is limited to naps and after kiddo goes to bed.

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The fabric is a really nice navy blue nylon/cotton blend. I think. It’s actually out of my mother’s fabric stash, and neither of us are positive on the content. Regardless, it looks nice as a trench coat. The only downside is that the fabric is a magnet for dust and cat hair. And navy blue is a pain to photograph, but that’s beside the point.

I used 1″ buttons on the front and back of the coat, and 3/4″ buttons on the sleeves and shoulders. Not a design choice exactly, it’s just that my fabric store didn’t have enough of either size to be consistent throughout. The seams are all finished with purchased bias binding. It was simply faster to use the purchased stuff (as opposed to making my own), and I like the look of the contrasting color. Actually, I was a little short on the binding, so one armhole is bound in a different shade of blue. I’m going to call that a design feature. I bought four packs of binding and would have bought five if the store had them.

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The only alteration I made to the pattern was to lengthen the sleeves about an inch. And that’s just because I have gorilla arms and prefer my sleeves on the longer side.

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This is a great pattern for a classic wardrobe item. I doubt I’ll make it again any time soon (after all, how many trench coats does one need?), but I’m thrilled to have made this version. I expect this coat will be getting lots of wear this spring!

Old Project, New Shirt!

When digging through my pile of unfinished projects recently (everyone else has one of those, right?) I found a t-shirt that was complete except for the hems. Wuhoo! Nearly instant gratification project. When I tried it on of course, I realized why it was in the pile of lost projects. The pattern is a raglan top (Stretch & Sew #205)*, and the short sleeves were doing this funny pointy thing at the hem edge. Not a great look. Made me look like I was wearing weird shoulder pads. But, having recently discovered the joys of hem bands (why didn’t I think of this before?), I had a good solution. I added a band to the armholes, just small enough to draw the sleeves in a little and eliminate the point sleeve thing. Here’s the finished shirt:

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Much better! There’s a little bit of wrinkling on the front where the neck band pulls in, but it’s not enough to bother me. Plus, in most lighting, it really doesn’t show. The shirt is also a bit short for my taste these days, but that’s simply because there wasn’t enough fabric to cut it any longer. The scraps of the fabric were in the pile with the shirt, and they really are just scraps. The fabric is some sort of stretchy cotton/poly blend. I’ve had it long enough I don’t remember the exact content, but it feels great. Also, it’s pretty hard to tell in the photo, but the stripes are actually varying shades of metallic pink. Overall I’m really happy with it, and thrilled to have finished something that’s been languishing in my studio for 2+ years (at least that long, since it was added to the pile before I, and said pile, moved).

*I had no idea this was a vintage pattern until I tried to find a link for it. The pattern is from my mom’s stash, and I’ve had a copy traced off in my size since sometime in college. Despite the 70’s styling on the envelope, it’s a great pattern. I’ve made several shirts from it over the years, and I’m sure I’ll end up with a few more.