It's about exploring and sharing my creative adventures (mostly sewing these days) ~
~those activities that sometimes obsess, usually inspire, occasionally frustrate
~and always provide a delightful maze to wander through.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Utilitarian, Beefy Cotton, Theme T-Shirt? A Thing of the Past!

My confession:  I was a born & bred tomboy (is that term even used anymore?) who has aged into a less active lifestyle, and although I'm still outside scraping my knuckles & getting poked & gouged by wildlife, said wildlife is more apt to be a rose thorn from my garden than a wild goat that's chased me off the edge of a cliff while hiking in the mountains.

As much as I still think in youthful, active ways, I do admit that some activities are simply best left to the young(er) & fit(ter), and it is now time (nay, it is PAST time) to retire all of those old, ratty, stained active theme t-shirts from the various 10K's I used to run and the kayak events I used to frequent.  Yes, it's time to dress up the t-shirts, and accept that I now feel better in a pretty rayon/lycra print T than I do in a T that's printed with a pic of a  hapless kayaker in peril.....

Marcy Tilton to the rescue!  Here is my version of her Vogue pattern 8636:

Some of the things I love about this pattern:

Really nice fit - the raglan sleeves are SO easy to construct, and can hide a multitude of body/shoulder fitting issues, especially in a knit :)
Several creative (but not outrageously out-there) options are described in the pattern, and there is a lot of room for your own creativity (Marcy's particular gift, imho!)

I added some fabric tubes to the neckline, which, because of its width, can have a tendency to be a bit floppy if your fabric is thin.   Here's how I dealt with that:

#1.  Add interfacing to one side (Pam Erny's Pro-Tricot)

#2.  When you realize that one side of interfacing isn't enough, add more interfacing to the other side (Pam Erny's Pro-Sheer Elegance)  (Note:  I used 2 different types of interfacing just because I'm still figuring out which interfacing does what)
I recently got an order of Pam's interfacing  from Fashion Sewing Supply - I'm still playing with it, but so far, I have to say that her interfacing deserves all of the rave reviews it's been getting!

The neckband still needs some way of adjusting the folded edge so that it lies flat on the body.  The pattern calls for darts, or buttons & gathers.   I used the dart method.   The pattern calls for 4 darts in the front and 2 in the back - I ended up making the 2 back darts about twice as wide as called for - 4 darts in the back would have had the same result.  The next time I make this I'll cut the entire neckband an inch (or more) shorter, and stretch it to fit the body of the shirt.

I decided I wanted a little something extra, so I used my Dritz fabric turners (I LOVE this little set of tools!) to make some simple embellishments for the neckband.

Finished tube on top.  A length of fabric cut about 3/4" wide below that, and the metal rod & blue plastic tube for turning.   This is the smallest size turner in a set of 3.

Fabric sewn with a narrow seam allowance - (NOTE:  a larger seam allowance would give more padding in the center of the fabric tube after it's been turned - I recommend doing this if you want a rounded tube, since I actually stuffed a strip of fabric inside the tube once it was turned, in order to have it be a bit thicker.)  Blue tube is inserted into the center of the fabric tube.

Catch the end of the fabric around the tip of the metal rod (just do it any way you can!) and start to push the fabric through the center of the blue tube.

Once the turned fabric appears at the other end of the blue tube, you can grasp it with your fingers & pull it through.   

Keep pushing the unturned fabric up to the first end of the blue tube, while pulling the turned fabric out the other end.   SO easy!!!!!   It takes longer to describe it than to actually do it.

After stuffing a bit of padding inside (I did this with the metal rod) I handstitched  two rows of the tubing on to the neckband.

It adds just the right amount of 'something special', I think :)

I liked the pleats at the wrist - another little 'something special' in this design.


shams said...

Very very cute, JillyBe! I also love the tubes on the neck and the pleats on the wrist. I'm not sure if I have this pattern, but I can see I need it!

Peggy L said...

Love it! I am moving this one further up on my "to do" list.

Susan said...

This is a great t-shirt. What about some ideas for restyling that beefy t with the dragon?

Jilly Be said...

Thank you all!

Susan, restyling some of my old closet 'treasures' is definitely in the pipeline.....all I need is a bit (or a lot) more time & energy! ;-)