Steely Seamstress

Sewing for life


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Just a basic t-shirt but in lime green!

This is my second make with the viscose-lycra blend jersey.  I actually sewed this before the infamous cowl-collared horror, but didn’t get around to taking photos until this last weekend.

I think the colour is fantastic and a bit of a departure for me. It is loud! I think I was attracted to it mainly because it was just a bright sunny day when I bought the fabric and seemed like a great colour to celebrate the changing season. I think it goes well with my new jeans, although I’m really wishing I had a pair of black skinny jeans / jeggings to wear with it.

The t-shirt is just a basic loose-fitting t-shirt made with the Laurie Striped Tee pattern from Named Clothing. I have made this particular t-shirt before, and like my previous version, I again omitted the stripes.

I suppose it isn’t really possible to get very excited by basics like this, but I’m very glad that I put this t-shirt together as I am rather short on t-shirts and short-sleeved tops in general.

I had been really very worried about the pilling that I experienced with the cowl-necked t-shirt, but weirdly this particular t-shirt hasn’t suffered as badly. Could it be that being looser and being worn under a cardigan it doesn’t experience the same friction as my previous make, or could it be that my eyes are deceiving me and it is harder to spot the pilling on the lime green without going cross-eyed. Either way, I am feeling happier, because I still have another length of this fabric, and it’s possible it may not pill.

I’m not sure that my learning process with knit fabrics is going as planned though. I’m still having difficulties with wavy hems. I’m tried my Swiss zig-zagger and really it can’t cope with the extra thickness. I’ve tried making the seam more stable with knit interfacing. The only thing that really helps is giving the garment a wash. The waviness is nearly eliminated (hence no photo to share here – I’ve already washed the t-shirt). I’ve watched a few youtube videos where people manage make non-wavy hems without the aid anything, but a standard foot. So sadly, my conclusion, is that perhaps my old Singer is just not up to doing this job any better. Can any of you shed any light on this? Is there something else I could try?

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Tissue Knit Terror

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.

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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.

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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.

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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:

  1. 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.
  2. Make the strips into loops by sewing the short ends together right sides facing.
  3. Next, attach the strips  to the t-shirt sleeves with the overlocker
  4. Hem the sleeves by folding over the last centimetre and hemming with a zig-zag.
  5. 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.

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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.

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