Sunday, March 18, 2012

Stepping Out of My Box: A Print Version of 'The Tee'

If you read through my prior blog posts, you may notice that I'm a solid gal. It's rare that I sew with prints for myself. I occasionally wear RTW prints, but have a hard time choosing fabric prints when shopping online, which is how I do most of my fabric shopping.  Overall, I tend to be pretty conservative in the way I dress.  I would, however, like to introduce more variety with prints into my wardrobe.  Primarily, my everyday wardrobe is casual, but I also need dressier clothes fairly often.

So, a while back I was perusing Emma One Sock, and found a Chico's knit abstract print in oranges/reds/browns/and near black. It appealed to me, as I love shades of orange, but I like it broken up a bit, not so much in-your-face orange. It hopped in my cart, just a scant little yard of it.

A few other knits were close matches.

Last week I was perusing digging through the stash, looking for summer knits to sew. I just love knits, the unrestricted comfort and easy wear, easy care, and I really need some tops. I found the Chico's knit, and thought she would be lovely as my favorite J. Stern's Tee. I have made it before, here and here.

So I laid out the fabric, which is not as wide as a lot of the knits I've purchased. I fooled around with layout for a couple of evenings, until I was able to squeeze the entire pattern, including sleeves this time, on the fabric.

The pattern envelope on the right is saving a spot for the other sleeve.

A few notes about pattern alterations:

Jennifer is great about providing alteration instructions for this pattern on her blog. At some point along my sewing journey, I altered the Tee pattern in the following ways: First, I made an FBA. Then I made the Tee out of Ponte a couple of times. I wear them all the time - the Ponte is so-so quality and is 'pilly', but the it is firm, and good for hiding some bumps & bulges. Knowing that I would want to make the Tee from a softer, more drapey knit, I used a modified form of Jennifer's instructions to relax the fit of The Tee.

I also took in the front neck and armscye a bit by adding mini pleats to the pattern tissue in those areas.  If I recall correctly, Jennifer had those instructions on her blog also.

As I was laying out the pattern, I remembered seeing this version. on pattern review, and loving it. Then this review popped up with an update - the reviewer had redrafted the front yoke as one piece, and it looks great on her.  I knew I wanted to do away with the yoke side seams/pieces in this version, so I redrafted the yoke, combining the side and center pieces into one. Then when laying out, I folded the new pattern piece in half and cut it as two halves, with the intention to trim it and leave it open.

Why I began keeping a sewing notebook:

All those pattern alterations I just described? I don't remember how much I altered, or when I altered. I'm usually pretty good about scribbling notes on the tissue and/or pattern envelope, but not so much in this case. A while back I began keeping a sewing notebook, and have found it to be so helpful. I typically put much more detail in the notebook regarding flat pattern measurements, tissue alterations, fit issues, and fit-as-I-sew changes, than in blog posts.

If I had kept a notebook when I made The Tee, I would have been able to look up and remember that I needed to make an adjustment to the pattern for a more perfect fit. You see, now that I have made the front of The Tee and pinned it to my (as yet unnamed) dressform, I am recalling that when I sewed my last Tee, I needed to sew a much deeper seam allowance under the arm at the upper side seam. What I cannot recall is whether I thought taking up some of the armscye would help, or if I did that just for gaping above the bust. At any rate, I am adding a sleeve to this version, so hopefully that will take care of that little issue at the upper side seam.  If I were going sleeveless, I'd just do a wider SA at the top.  And make a note in my sewing notebook to correct that on the pattern tissue.

The upper side seam is pinned further back than midline.

Back to design changes:

 Serindipitously, laying on my cutting table was some leftover red knit from the Creative Cate top. There were also black knit scraps, and I pulled out a brown knit from my stash. Here is a picture comparing the three colors against the primary fabric.

 I went with the red for trim, as I think it lends the most versatility as far as wear is concerned. I lined the redrafted front yoke pieces with the red knit, then made and sewed red knit trim to the center split.  In the interest of blog post length, I will leave that part of the construction for another post. I also plan to trim out the neckline with the same red knit, rather than self fabric.

So, here is the front of The Tee, pinned to the dressform. I like the bust fit, and I also like how the lower bodice is a looser fit in this version, skimming the abdomen rather than hugging it.

The in-laws came for dinner, so I had to turn off my machines and unplug the iron.  Stay tuned for more of The Tee.

Happy sewing!



  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. That is a lovely print, i can see why you were drawn to it!
    In answer to your comment; stand-up paddle boarding is a lot of fun, and very easy! The board is very stable in the water, and standing and paddling is very good for core muscle control and balancing. I really like that you can see the ocean floor for so far around you (and no, I didn't see any sharks) It is currently a very popular activity here.


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