Monday, September 16, 2013

The Fall Capsule Collection: A Worthy T Shirt

I'm getting the hang of T shirts. Between my bespoke pattern - which I've continued to tweak at every opportunity - and my burgeoning awareness of the fabrics to which one must just say no, I'm making a lot of progress.

After my last go round, I realized that I'd need to find an appropriate fabric - harder to do than you might imagine. After some research, I opted to buy online.

I used a terrific jersey from Gorgeous Fabrics. It was well worth the money given that it's just what T shirt fabric should be: a little bit spongy, firm (but with great stretch), of excellent recovery, saturated colour, beautiful hand and terrific drape. It looks and feels beautiful AND expensive. I have to say that the client service Ann provides is excellent and the 3 fabrics I ordered are delicious. Alas, the shipping to Canada is at the very upper end of my comfort zone, and one can only order in full yards, so I'm viewing this as an occasional splurge. OK, a semi-regular splurge. :-)

This T shirt is almost up to RTW standards:



Even the seams line up nicely:


Between my serger (for seams), my regular machine (for pre-serging to ensure alignment and top-stitching) and my cover stitch machine (for hemming), I've got my own little factory.

The fit is perfect, if I do say so myself - well, I did take about 1/4 inch off the shoulder seam for next go around - but hopefully that will give me the narrowness in the shoulders I require.

Over time, I've had to make many adjustments to the flat pattern original:
  • It's now observably hourglass in shape.
  • The armholes are very high.
  • The sleeves are reasonably narrow - 11.5 inches in circumference - and they are shorter than those of the original.
  • The shoulders have been narrowed 4 times to get to the point that the seam sits properly.
  • I've also modified the crew neck. Mine is not high, nor is it scoopy. (Of course, one reserves the right to change neckline on a whim!)
Unfortunately, when working with stripes - WTF was I thinking?! I DO NOT believe in pattern-matching and, alas, there's no avoiding it here - sleeve bands are a total liability. I should have just turned under the raw edge and cover-stitched. That would have produced a clean line. Instead I badly serged the bands and it's utterly obvious due to a) stripe-wonk and b) BAD top-stitching.

If you want to go undetected, don't create a visual roadmap. And don't work with skinny stripes! They're that much harder than thick ones cuz they repeat that much more frequently...

What I will say is that I bit the bullet and just figured out how to pattern-match. I didn't read about it. I didn't over-think it. I didn't loathe it. I just did it. I guess that's the sign of experience and confidence and I am grateful because I LOVE stripes and I've never felt comfortable using them before.

No doubt, there is no plaid in my near future, but stripes are in the palette from here on in.

So, whatcha think??

35 comments:

  1. Awesome T-shirt. I love Gorgeous Fabrics too but yes the shipping to Canada is $$$$. Unfortunally, there really isn't much in the way to low shipping to Canada for fabric.

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    1. It's true, fabric weighs a lot and that costs to send. But there are many cheaper vendors. The thing is, the product isn't as knowable from the vantage point of quality.

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  2. Lovely!!!

    Gorgeous Ann has gorgeosu fabrics and I drool! The shipping prices have scared me from ordering yet.. I have more that enough fabrics that I can sew/store this year... but maybe next year, after I've made a small dent in my fabrics, I'll ship it the border mailbox and pick it up from there.

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    1. That's the thing, when you already have stash, it's hard to justify buying more. But when you feel the product! Well, then you're in a bind :-)

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  3. Excellent -- nothing better than a well-fitted pattern for a wardrobe basic. Took me too much time to learn it doesn't pay to flit from pattern to pattern instead of finding a classic and getting it right. And as you've discovered -- fabric choice is critical. I am so done with flimsy rayon knits, no matter how lovely the colo(u)r.

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    1. It really doesn't pay to flit! And rayon is not your friend when it comes to T shirts!

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  4. I'm with you on stripe avoidance. I'm not overly keen on wearing them to begin with so it's not a hardship, but I worry that I'll forget to even think about it when cutting.

    Your t looks awesome, beter than RTW because half the time they won't line up the stripes on something that narrow. The right weight, recover, etc is really key with knits. It really impacts the fit.

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    1. It totally impacts the fit. Really, if we had easy access to these materials, we'd all look fantastic.

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  5. oooh i can't resist a good stripy tee! yours looks great. regarding stripes, i try to make sure the stripe matches across the hem and where the armhole meets the side seam. your stripe is right on the edge of "to match or not to match" but i certainly put less effort into it with a narrower stripe!

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    1. Hmmm, I like the idea of less effort :-)

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  6. Pattern matching? Sleeve bands? That shirt looks great to me. I don't sew, but I am obsessed with clothing. What is the problem with this gorgeous T?

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    1. Really, the bands look horrible close up. That's why I didn't take a close shot! :-)

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  7. I love it. I don't see any defects from here, and even if those little problems are there, really: it's as good if not better than a lot of what we see in RTW these days. And it probably cost you $25, you have a fit made for you and a fabric you love! Total win!

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    1. It totally cost less than 25 bucks cuz the fabric was on sale.

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  8. Great looking tee! So do you get that little wrinkle of fabric above the bust on you or just the dressform? I always do, but haven't figured out why I have it or how to get rid of it.

    And yes, stripes are awesome--though I'll say I prefer using them in wovens. Your pattern matching was pretty awesome though, so definitely be proud!! :-)

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    1. I noticed that wrinkle this morning when I looked at the published post! It's only on the dress form, because it's fabric covered and the t shirt fabric stuck. And I am pretty proud of that stripe matching. Here's hoping I can recreate it in the future :-)

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  9. I swear my comments always get eaten by the ether. I typically give up, but I've decided to try a little harder from now on! Anyway, I love this tshirt. It looks perfect. Especially your stripe matching up the side seams! Bravo! And, I love reading about people's love for their cover stitch machines. It gives me hope that one day I can justify splurging on one myself!

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    1. That sucks! That happens to me too, on some blogs in particular. But do keep trying cuz I love your comments! I do love my cs machine - even though I'm not very good at it and I still need some gizmos (different feet that help you to guide along the seam appropriately.

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  10. Gorgeous, and dressy enough it doesn't even really look like a tee. I'll have to search your blog for more details on your pre-surging technique. That sounds like a good idea.

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    1. I know! It's like a fancy T! :-) Really, the pre-serging is just sewing (often with a slightly wider stitch), inside the seam line (so it will be covered by the serger and to give me a bit more room for fitting before I serge off the fabric). It also helps me to ensure that I'm using the serger for the neat finish - not to align things and serge at the same time.

      Mind you, sometimes I just use the serger. Depends.

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    2. It really makes sense not to use the serger to align things.

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  11. Totally agree that learning which fabrics to say no to is at least half the battle :-). Thanks for your recommendation!

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  12. I've gotta tell you that this is way nicer than a lot of RTW. Just lovely.

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    1. It's not often that I look at a finished product and say, not bad. I'm savoring the moment :-)

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    1. Lovely shirt. Would you tell us the fiber content, please? I gathered it is NOT rayon. Is it cotton and Lycra, maybe?
      Thanks, Chris

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    2. It is not rayon. I believe it's cotton and lycra, just as you've suggested. I'm over rayon, gotta say, since I've felt the awesome recovery of this knit.

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  15. Love it! Looks really a really feminine and great all-around fit. Must feel great to nail a tnt. Great job on the stripe matching, too. It's nice to have those a-ha moments and realize things are going better than they used to!

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    1. Thanks Amy! It is nice to have those aha moments because they don't happen all that frequently, given how much I sit in that sewing room :-)

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  16. Perfect! I have no idea what sleeve band wonkiness you are referring to! DANG, that is some GREAT stripe matching!

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    1. It's because I've photoed this very sneakily :-) But the stripe matching is awesome. Gonna take the credit on that one!

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