Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Summer Sewing Week: T-shirts

Somehow (I am really not sure how) I survived marking thousands of pages of exams and essays and got all my grades submitted fully 18 hours ahead of schedule on Sunday. Go team me. \o/ That meant that Monday morning was the Morning of Freedom, which I celebrated by washing up all the millions of things that had stacked up in my kitchen while I focussed on marking -- let us never speak again of the bizarre combination of dishes I had to use to actually make breakfast on Monday -- starting my laundry and then sitting down and SEWING.

I started with t-shirts. I used one new-to-me pattern and two I used for the second time each.

From left to right: a turquoise Kirsten Kimono Tee; a Trifecta Tee and Ottobre 02-2013-13, bizarrely called the "Lemon Juice Tee" in the magazine.

Turquoise Kirsten Kimono Tee with cuffs

I've reviewed the Kirsten Kimono Tee before. In fact, it's the first pattern for knits I ever used. The only changes I made for this version was to redraw the neckline, as I did not really like the original, and I made wide binding strips for the sleeves as otherwise it's a very high cap sleeve on me. Despite the fact I am notionally a couple of sizes smaller than when I made my first one, I even made this tee in the same size as last time (XL). I still wear the old purple version as PJs and I like the fit of the XL at my current size, even though obviously it has more ease than the pattern creator intended.

Really, such an utterly basic tee is hardly worth making. However, I made this one simply because as it turned out, a previous little turquoise tee using this fabric is one of my most worn EVER makes. I used the same fabric to make my first muslin of my all-time favourite Ottobre 02-2013-02 Summer Basics tee pattern last summer and I wore it to DEATH even though the sewing was rubbish, and when it got too big for me when I lost weight I moved it into my PJ drawer and am STILL wearing it to death. The fabric is nice and soft, it washes really well, and I just love the colour, so I'll probably end up wearing this new turquoise tee a million squillion times. It has less than £2 of fabric in it (bought 2 years ago on eBay from the lady liquidating her late mother's stash) and under an hour of work. I still have something like 1.5m of this fabric left, too. :D

Kitschy Koo Trifecta Tee as ~inspired by J Crew
Next up, another really simple tee. A few weeks ago, I made a Trifecta Tee muslin in lilac spotty cotton jersey which turned out so well, albeit a bit tight in the sleeves (curse my fat arms), that I have worn it every time it's come out the wash ever since. Here's my (new) review of the pattern on PR, now that I've adjusted it to fit better.

J Crew "Inspiration" for Trifecta Top
This version, however, is ~~~inspired by a RTW piece I saw on the internet. My inspiration piece is made of wool and silk jersey and was sold by J. Crew, all of which means it is hilariously out of my budget -- something over US$120 originally I think -- even if I were inclined to buy unwashable silk tops with giant flowers on them, which I am most certainly not.

My version is made with two cotton/lycra fabrics from Tia Knight (formerly Tissu), probably my favourite online knit fabric shop in the UK. Both of these were from the upper end of the price range, plus I had them posted to Ireland which was stupidly expensive. The price came in at somewhere around £17 total for the package of 1m of each fabric delivered. However, I still have about half of each in my scrap bag and will use them for something else one of these days.

I really like how this turned out, although the pattern placement of the (allegedly) Japanese garden design did not quite work out how I had hoped and interacts rather unfortunately with my bust. However, now that I've got the sleeve to fit the way I like I am really happy to add this pattern to my pile of "make as many times as you like" knit top patterns -- personally, I seem to get good fit from the Kitschy Koo pattern draft, so I hope she makes more. (I have seen several people say the opposite: that the draft could not possibly be worse for them, so, you know, YMMV.)

Ottobre 02-2013-13 "Lemon Juice" Tee (draped tee)

Ottobre 02-2013-13 "Lemon Juice" tech drawing
And finally, an Ottobre tee, specifically 02-2013-13, the "Lemon Juice" tee, because I love all things Ottobre and knit. My PR review is here. Hardly anyone seems to have made and reviewed this particular Ottobre tee -- there's just one review on the whole internet, seemingly! -- which I think is a shame because I love what I ended up with. I can understand why it's not been popular, though, because it's sort of peculiar. For a start, it's cut on the bias and on a crosswise fold, so that's immediately bizarre. The fact that it's on the bias though IMMEDIATELY made me want to make it in a stripe since I've been obsessed with having a diagonal stripe knit top for ages -- I even tried it once, but it all went horribly wrong.

I have been planning this t-shirt for about a year, and I am delighted with how it turned out even if it's honestly kind of a weird shirt and I can't imagine really ever wanting to make another one (or at least, not while this one is in my wardrobe). Worth mentioning: it's a real fabric hog. I needed a 2m piece to get it cut out, it takes up more than half the width of the fabric (and would even at a smaller size) and because I am an idiot and had to recut my sleeves, I don't even have as much length left over as I hoped, probably only enough for part of a t-shirt rather than a whole t-shirt. The fabric was expensive too, £16 for two metres including shipping to Ireland from Croft Mill. It's nice enough, but it's not amazing -- I wouldn't have spent £8/m if I had seen it in the flesh before I bought it. Honestly, though, I kind of love this top, even if it's weird and stripy and worked out expensive.


  1. You're back!!! I love all three of them!!

    I love weird draping tops, apparently. And even moreso when they are striped!!

    1. I am! I have been sewing up a storm for the last few days :D :D

      I like the idea of weird draping tops but I wasn't sure I'd wear one if I made one. However, I am definitely going to wear this stripy one because I love it. Tomorrow I'll post the skirts I've made as well, though one of them is super disappointing.

  2. I love all three! I remember you posting the original JCrew inspiration top, liked it then, and I like your version. I'm sure that the garden placement isn't as bad as you think. The Ottobre reminds me a little of that draped Burda top that everyone seemed to be sewing a few months ago. I like your version better than the line drawing.

    1. Thanks! I really like all of them as well. I was more excited by the Ottobre pattern than the Burda one that did the rounds just recently because of the bias cut. I really was obsessed with making a diagonal stripe top, so I'm glad I found a way to do so!