Sunday, July 16, 2017

Simple Knit Shirts

  Earlier this year, after another occasion in which I sewed a shirt only to find that it was way too tight, I decided it was time to update my knit shirt block. I tried to keep the shape of the curves the same, and added enough width so that it would have no negative ease. Then I tested it out with some heathered grey 12oz cotton Lycra knit from Nick Of Time Textiles.

  I kept it pretty basic with half-length sleeves and plain twin-needled hems.

  While the new pattern was a huge improvement over the original, in that I could actually fit into it, a little tweaking seemed like it wouldn't hurt!

  But first, I decided to relieve this shirt of its extreme plainness with some freezer-paper stenciling.

  I hand-drew the letters, then scanned them into my computer and traced them with the Silhouette software, then cut them from freezer paper with the Silhouette. Once I had it ironed on to the shirt, I painted a base layer of dark blue acrylic paint mixed with textile medium, then painted tiny roses and buds all over in pink with some dark green leaves, and finally removed the stencil and heat-set the paint with my iron. I really love the results!

  I had tested the idea out with just a heart on a scrap of knit, and then didn't want to waste the heart, so I cut it out and added some Heat'n Bond UltraHold to it, and ironed it to the back shoulder.

   Unfortunately it came off in the first wash and disappeared, so I wish I'd sewn it on instead. But it was cute for a day!

  For version two I changed a few of the curves, brought the shoulders in a bit, and added some width to the back of the shirt at the hip line, and a tiny bit to the front at the bust line.

  I sewed version two in brown 12oz cotton Lycra knit, also from Nick of Time Textiles.

  This was also an improvement! Although there were still a lot of things that weren't quite right.

  I added a lot of vinyl to make this one interesting! The lettering was once again hand-drawn, then scanned, tweaked in Illustrator, and cut with my Silhouette. The swirls were slightly modified from some free ones I found on The Noun Project, and the butterflies were modified (using the offset tool) from a free one I downloaded from the Silhouette Store years ago.

  I used Siser EasyWeed in Tiffany Blue and Turquoise for this. In some lighting situations the colors work together perfectly, and in others they just don't.

  I didn't realize until it was too late that the vinyl I'd bought wasn't actually a full 12" wide, and I had the pieces laid out to just within 12", so a couple of pieces have straight edges where the blade went off the edge of the vinyl.

  I didn't do a lot of planning as to where the vinyl would go, and I was in a bit of a rush to get it all applied, so there are quite a few spots where it doesn't look quite as balanced as it could.

  I still like it though.

  Rushing is also why I missed that swirl above the lettering until it was already ironed on... that wasn't supposed to be there!

  The vinyl hasn't stuck to this shirt as well as I'd hoped it would, and I ironed just as long as usual in spite of my hurry, so I think it might have something to do with the fabric thickness- or possibly my iron isn't heating up as well as it used to.

  On to version 3! In addition to a few small tweaks to get the side seams more balanced, I did a swayback adjustment on this one, thinking it would help with the lower back wrinkles. Now I suspect that having a swayback isn't the main cause of them, because it didn't help!

  I might need to raise the back waist height? Or add width to the upper hip area? I really don't know. The adjustment ended up causing other issues, because it changed the shoulder slope in the back and made it too square for me.

  In the end, version 3 was a downgrade.

  I do prefer the shape of the hem on this one though. I used more 12 oz cotton Lycra knit for this one- I used the same weight and stretch of knit for all three so it wouldn't skew the fit.

  I kept the decoration pretty simple on this one and just sewed some buttons on by machine around the neckline. It gives it a fun nautical sort of look!

  My husband finds it absolutely hilarious to push my buttons though.

    I don't need any more basic shirts, so I've mostly reverted back to version 2 to make a couple of more interesting things, and will hopefully return to this block and get it fitted properly at some point in the future, provided I haven't changed shape again! I have a feeling that the answer is 'darts' but I really don't want that to be the answer because I dislike the way darts look on knit shirts.

  If you've got any fitting suggestions for me, I'd love to hear them! I'm clearly still a beginner in this department, and need all of the help I can get!

Thanks for stopping by,

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Eyelet-Trimmed Tiered Dress

  I didn't make matching Easter dresses for the girls this year... three of them already had cute dresses that would work perfectly well. Beckers' dresses were all looking pretty worn-in though, so I made this for her:

  I used the Round Neck Ruffle Dress pattern from "Sew Classic Clothes for Girls" by Lindsay Wilkes, which was a birthday gift from my sweet mother-in-law last year. =) (Thank you, mama!)
I bought the pretty butterfly hair clip from my friend Tricia of LeafyTreetopLeather. =)
  I sewed a size 2 in width and 6 in height plus a bit extra so it would be just-below knee length, and switched up the height of the tiers somewhat to work better with the fabrics I had, and so I could use eyelet trim instead of the bottom tier. I prefer the proportions of the original pattern though. I didn't have to buy anything to make this dress!

  The pretty handkerchief-look fabric on the bottom was from my friend Karen a while back (thank you, Karen!), as was the pink linen sort of fabric I used for the bodice. The collar and green gingham were both from a set of fabric I found on Craigslist a few years ago... I've used the green before!

  I changed the sewing order a bit too... instead of sandwiching the bodice between the two collar pieces, then finishing the neckline edge with bias tape, I sewed the collar pieces together at the neckline and back edges and flipped it right side out. I basted the eyelet to the outer side of the collar, and sewed the bodice to the lining side, then pinned the top layer down to enclose the seam allowances and edge-stitched it down. I just love the collar fabric!

  I used KAM snaps for the back of the bodice. This dress doesn't have an opening in the top of the skirt below the bodice, so the skirt is sewn to both layers of the bodice at once, then finished and top-stitched. I was a little bit concerned that my serger wouldn't make it through all of those layers at the back! Also, please ignore the top-stitching on the bodice and focus on that lovely collar edge-stitching instead, okay?

  I would definitely add an opening to the skirt next time, and enclose the skirt seam, instead of following the pattern instructions.

   I wish the eyelet I'd had for the hem was wider (and the gathering, more even- clearly I rushed too much on this dress!) but it still worked.

  As for the fit- the measurement chart seems pretty accurate, and it fits Beckers pretty well! I think the collar shape isn't quite right for her somewhat more square than average shoulders, as it bunches up after it has been worn for a while, and a tiny bit wider would probably work better for her as well, but the bodice has just enough ease to pull on even without an opening in the skirt. The pattern wasn't trued, and the grading looked pretty uneven. However, I still plan to make more things from this book!

  And although I wish I'd been able to leave the proportions of the tiers like the original, I love these fabrics together, and on Beckers!

Thanks for stopping by,