Over the last couple of weeks I have been tackling another t-shirt. I’m using the word “tackling” instead of “sewing” because this fabric has been monstrous to work with. I bought this fabric last year at Britex Fabrics in San Francisco. It looks like they still have this fabric in store. I am quite frankly rather relieved that I didn’t try to sew with this until I had more experience with knit fabrics. I don’t consider myself to be a much of a knit fabric expert, but at least I have sewn a few things now and have had some moderate success.
What has been so challenging with this fabric?
First of all, it is flimsy tissue knit. It’s soft and beautiful and semi-sheer, but it really feels like I’m trying to sew cobwebs. Secondly, it’s very stretchy – although it is 100% cotton. This means that trying to sew without stretching it is really challenging. Thirdly, it curls. I thought the last fabric had a tendency to curl, but this fabric has a profound desire to curl and ironing doesn’t help one bit. Altogether, it has been the most challenging fabric I have sewn for a long time and I have been struggling.
What techniques have helped?
Sewing with a layer of tissue paper under the fabric helped loads. It gave the fabric the stability to stop me accidentally stretching it. Using Wonder tape helped hold more than one layer of the fabric in place. This helped particularly when I was sewing the neck band into a loop and other small seams.
Using “tried and tested” techniques has worked. I decided, despite temptation to hem and do the neck band in the way that I have before. I didn’t feel brave enough to try anything else.
What pattern did I use?
This t-shirt was again based on the Laurie T-shirt by Named Patterns.
What did I change about the pattern?
I didn’t use the “folded stripes” as although a tissue knit would work well for this, I felt that the fabric print was busy enough as it was without any other features.
I also decided to add some folded cuffs on the arms; just for something a little different.
I made these in the following way:
- Cut two strips measuring 35 cm by 15 cm. I cut the two strips so that when attached to the sleeves the “stripes” appear horizontal compared to the vertical stripes on the sleeves.
- Make the strips into loops by sewing the short ends together right sides facing.
- Next, attach the strips to the t-shirt sleeves with the overlocker
- Hem the sleeves by folding over the last centimetre and hemming with a zig-zag.
- Finally, fold up the cuffs so that the finished hems meet the seam were the sleeve and the cuff meet and sew in place with a zig-zag stitch. This makes sure that both the inside and outside of sleeves look good and the cuffs can be turned up without a seam showing.
Will I sew with a tissue knit again?
No! Oh, go on maybe yes, after I’ve had a couple of years to calm down after this one. It is such a beautiful fabric to wear, that the thought is tempting.
October 2, 2016 at 8:22 pm
Phew! Well done in keeping your sanity and finishing it. It looks lovely, so I bet you’re glad you did. I’ve just finished a top with similar fabric and found a triple straight stitch in a long length and using my waking foot worked really well. I tried zig zags and all sorts of combinations before deciding. The walking foot really is a must if you’re going to be seeing a lot of knits. 😃
October 5, 2016 at 2:41 pm
I have heard of that technique – using the tissue paper – haven’t had to test it out yet. I’m glad it all worked out for you! It’s just lovely!
October 5, 2016 at 4:56 pm
Well done! Sounds difficult but you’ve done a good job and have a really pretty top.
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