The top that nearly never was. A fabulous t-shirt in Lady McElroy jersey
Posted on Tuesday the 1st October 2019 by Sewing Angela
I love T-shirts and this one in Lady McElroy black and white cotton jersey fits the bill (and me) perfectly.
The t-shirt pattern is part of New Look K6481
It calls for a moderately stretch knit and is very close fitting so if you like a more generous fit either go up a size or be generous with the seam allowances on the side seams. There are only three pattern pieces - the front and back are cut on the fold and there are the sleeves and that is it! Simple.
T-shirts are worn by just about everyone - for exercise, with jeans , and under a smart jacket. And they are surprisingly very easy to sew even with a basic sewing machine.
When sewing stretch fabrics I used to use fancy stitches, stretch thread, maybe a walking foot. But now I have discovered that by setting my sewing machine to a very narrow - barely there - zig zag, then most stretch fabrics are fine. Of course there is always the exception but on the whole, for moderately stretch knit fabrics and ponte Roma and the like, a simple zig zag is sufficient.
The first thing I do after cutting out is to stay-stitch the neckline. All that means is that I do a row of stitching within the seam allowance of the front and back neck. This stops it from stretching out of shape so don't skip this part.
When it comes to the neckline I don't bother with facings or bias binding - this is quick easy sewing so press under ?" , pin or tack and then top stitch with a slightly wider zigzag and that's it. Happy smile. It works because the stay stitching we did earlier stops the neckline from stretching out of shape. Happy days.
To finish my seams I used an overlocker, but if you don't have one just trim the seams and zigzag.
To finish the bottom and sleeve hems first neaten the edges and then press up a hem of around ?" as before and again top stitch with a slightly wider zig zag.
Press, wear. Repeat (well I did as I made another straight away)
See, I told you it was simple. As soon as I had finished this one whilst I still had the pattern out I whipped up another one in an hour. Quicker than a trip to Next!
I did tell you at the beginning that this lovely, wearable, flattering top never happened. Well, be prepared to laugh at the next picture.
I chose a different pattern originally, by one of my favourite designers. I looked at the pattern, studied it, measured it, thought about it…..I should have abandoned it there and then but I didn't, I cut it out and tacked it together! Mistake, BIG mistake in lots of ways!
I am not going to tell you what this pattern is unless you ask me privately, but suffice to say that, well, there's no other way to put this, it's awful!
This is size XS too!
Luckily this errr, "garment" was gigantic enough to allow me to cut my new improved pattern out from it.
The reason I am showing you my disaster is not only to give you a giggle, goodness knows we all need a laugh. But seriously we ALL make mistakes, I don't care how long somebody has been sewing, at some stage it will go wrong. The trick is to learn from it. My lesson learned is to trust my instinct, and not to worry about wasting a pattern when I know deep down that it is not going to work.
I was able to salvage this tent thing and use the fabric to make something I will wear. In fact, I've just finished it and I'm keeping it on to go out in. There is absolutely no point in making something you will never wear. A good sign for me that I love something I have just made is that I keep it on. Sometimes things get shoved into the wardrobe and never get worn don't they.
I guess that at this age I know my style and my colours and I am now stepping forward with renewed confidence in my ability to determine what is right for ME.
Hope you do the same, and be confident in your own personal style.
Thank you to Minerva for this gorgeous fabric.