Sewing Cafe

Patterns, Tutorials and Works in Progress from the Sewing Studio of Lynne Williams

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Active Wear - Pink Shirt

Sewing with knits is quick and fun and I can recommend it highly.

This is my 2nd t-shirt for my active wear wardrobe and it is made from a light weight rayon Lycra which I purchased at Sawyer Brook.  Initially I just wanted to add this as an accent color, but.....okay how many other people do this?  To qualify for cheaper shipping I just had to add another 1/2 yard of fabric....what is a girl supposed to do?  spend my money in shipping or fabric?  A no brainer really.

But let us move onto the tutorial.

 I started with the same pattern I used for my navy shirt but I wanted to use a raw edge trim around the neckline and to hem the sleeves and bottom.  I decided to open up the neckline a tad and here you can see where I have removed the seam allowance from my previous "V" neckline.  Once again I simply marked my fabric with dressmakers carbon and then cut along that marked line.

I also wanted to add some length so that it would be ruched over my hips and tummy.  I guess-t-imated an additional 8" which I simply drew on with a chalk wheel.

 After cutting, my first step is to sew my shoulders using a strip of stabilizer.  When I pinned them in place I noticed that I had failed to remove the seam allowance from the back neckline, after having done so to the front.  No worries.....
 I simply took my lovely rotary cutter to it and eyeballed the difference...remember its a t-shirt to work out in

After my shoulders were sewn I trimmed the seam allowance back and left them raw.  I did not want to create a bulky seam by serging or finishing in some other way. 

I used a straight stitch for sewing with my stitch length set just under 2.  This allowed for stretch.  The stretch stitch I used on my yoga pants would have been overkill on such a light knit.

I cut 3 strips of my knits on the lengthwise grain at 3/4" wide.  This is what I used to finish my edges.  With the right sides of the fabrics facing me I placed a strip along the cut edge, zig zagged it in place at a rough 1/4".  I did pull on the strip slightly as I sewed it down. This helped keep the under layer from stretching out on me, as well as causing the knit to curl back down over itself.

In this picture you can see the finished edge after it has curled down, and the lower edge shows the zig zag stitch prior to curling.

Once the sleeves and neckline were "hemmed" I could set my sleeves in, and then sew up my side seams.

At this stage I tried my top on and discovered that while it was looking great, it was longer then I desired even with the ruching I was planning.  I folded up a few inches and then also marked where I wanted the ruching to begin and end.  This resulted in me cutting off 2" from my hemline and deciding I needed 6" of elastic to be sewn into 10" of side seam.

Once the new length was cut I could finish my hemline with my last strip.

I pinned my 6" of clear elastic to each side seam.  At the hem, 10" up from the hem and in between at 5" for the shirt and 3" for the elastic.  Place your pins so that you can remove them easily as you approach them while sewing.

Using my default zig zag begin by anchoring the elastic to the seam line by back stitching.

Then you will need to pull the elastic towards you with your right hand so that it lays smooth on your seam allowance, while with your left hand you pull gently from behind to help it feed correctly.

Can you believe that is all there is to it?  In just a few hours I have a new top to work out in, although I will admit this one would look cute with leggings or some skinny jeans long as I am actively doing something in them actively curled up in a comfy chair with some fabulous and foolish musical, or ridiculously thick novel.

I am now flirting with the idea or trying to get one more top done.  We will just have to see how kind Sunday is to me, meaning how quickly can I get my housework done and get back into the sewing room.

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