Friday, June 10, 2016

Mad Crush on T-Shirts!

We have a mad crush on t-shirts here at Stonemountain, so whenever one of our independent pattern companies comes out with a new tee, we have to try it out! And since summer is just around the corner, the casual styling of a t-shirt is the perfect match for many of our new summer knits. We might also point out that most of the t-shirt patterns available don't take very long to make, even for our beginning sewists!

One of our newer t-shirt patterns is the Lark Tee from Grainline Studio. There are sixteen different ways to make up this simple tee-shirt with its modern, slim styling.

Four sleeve lengths and four necklines!

I chose the v-neck and the three-quarter length sleeves for my shirt.  Because I try to avoid deep necklines, Laurel, my seamstress, cut the v-neck a little higher.  This is a simple adjustment that you can make, especially when you're using a knit fabric.  Otherwise, we used the pattern as directed.

With something as simple as a t-shirt, it's all about fabric choice. The simple lines of the Lark Tee allow you to be the designer, making the t-shirt uniquely you. The fabric I chose was a bold, graphic rayon knit with a huge border and repeat of the design. Understandably, it took Laurel a bit of time deciding on the best utilization of the print's graphic patterns.

We initially thought that the "plain" sections of the fabric would make the best sleeves, but when we tried placing the tee-shirt front on the bold graphics, it looked a little skeletal, which was not the biker chick look I was going for.  We ended up using the plain part of the design for the front and back of the tee and the bold pattern on the sleeves.

The sleeves, using the bold graphic sections of the fabric.

One way to work with a fabric like this is to layout and cut your pattern pieces one layer at a time.  In that way, you can kind of design as you go.  Here's the final design we settled on, being careful to match the graphic designs as best we could.

The v-neck line is finished with a neck band, so Laurel used the graphic lines in the fabric to add great detail to the neckline.

The finished Lark Tee looked great on Zanikan, and it fit me like a glove!  I love that it's longer than most tees for a very flattering silhouette. And isn't that the most important part of wearing a t-shirt, besides being oh so comfortable?

Keeping to our emphasis on Indie patterns, we wanted to give Sewaholic's Renfrew Tee a spin around the sewing machine. This t-shirt is a fitted top that features banded hems on the sleeves and hemline.  Like the Lark, the Refrew has several variations of sleeves and necklines.

I chose a rayon knit, using the short sleeves and the v-neck styling.  Again, Laurel adjusted the deep v-neckline to suit my preference for a higher look. (It's not that I can't appreciate a pretty d├ęcolletage, but I'm constantly hovering over desks, cutting tables, and low shelves at work and the world doesn't need to see mine!)

The bands on the sleeves and hemline add a nice styling element ordinarily.  But I have to say that because of the print on this knit, they don't show off this detailing as much as a solid colored knit might. You could easily color-block this design as well, making the bands a totally different color or print.

If you look at the finished inside of the Refrew, you can see the bands on the sleeves and hemline.  Laurel finished the edges with her serger, making for a clean seam finish. She used a stretch stitch for sewing the seams and a "Jersey" machine needle (#80).

When you add a mitered bias neck facing, be sure to stay-stitch the "V" at the center front first!

Slouchy or form-fitting, graphic or plain, the t-shirt continues to be one of the most enduring pieces of clothing in our wardrobe. T-shirt trends go in and out of style as quickly as hemlines, but the simple, classic t-shirt is as essential to our everyday dress as hangers are to our closet.

I hope that this has inspired you to leap forward and sew up your own custom Tee! I know they can be inexpensive to buy ready made, but the feel of wearing one you have made out of great quality fabric cannot be beat!

Sending each of you my gratitude,


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