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A Tale of Two Tees

I think it's fairly common to be drawn to making dresses and tops in fancy patterned fabrics when you first start making your own clothes. You feel amazing when you wear them and love saying 'Yes, I made this!' Patterned fabrics are great for hiding a multitude of sins and can really boost your confidence in creating a me-made wardrobe.

After a while, you realise that most of the clothes you reach for day after day are the basics - especially in current times, where we aren't going out. Jeans, sweatshirts, leggings, joggers and tee-shirts - the real wardrobe heroes. Trouble is - they're not nearly so exciting to make...or are they?

I've found a real sense of satisfaction in finding the ideal t-shirt pattern and then refining it to be 'my best t-shirt' style. I've taken time out to really think about fabric and how it influences the final make. I recently downloaded the Orlando T-shirt pattern from Seamwork (after seeing Alex Judge Sews on YouTube). I made a 'straight from the pattern' version in a beautiful red cotton jersey from The Cheap Shop, Tiptree. And I love it! It's a great colour for my skin tone and the fit is really good. This great quality fabric is available in a variety of colours and is very reasonably priced.

I then wanted to make a version reminiscent of the Gregory's Girl blue and white t-shirt (see pic in case you're not old enough to remember this 80s film). I had some lovely loop-back modal jersey from Guthrie Ghani in navy and some white ribbing to add to the collar (and possibly the cuffs). I cut exactly the same size, sewed up in the same way and ended up with quite a different top. The fabric is a bit heavier and has more drape (it feels lovely - I have made things in a few different colours of this fabric) - but doesn't work that well with the ribbing I used.

I think the rib is VERY stretchy - so I should have reduced the size of the neckband. I ended up with an unattractive 'wobbling' around the neckline. I've attached it with the overlocker - so it's not going to get unpicked any time soon (if ever) and has gone into my 'pile of shame' to be dealt with later. This is a real shame as the fabric and the ribbing are both superb quality. Lesson learned, but these things happen and even though you may be using a tried and tested pattern - if you are using a different type of fabric you might end up with something surprising.

Next time I make this top (and there will be more) I'll be raising the neckline by about 1 inch (2.5cm) so that I don't have to check where the neckline is sitting when I'm wearing it!

I will be talking about all things stretchy on Zoom (Thursday 18th June, 11.45am) if you would like to join me. I will talk about buying jersey fabrics online, what to look for and what to avoid. This is a free session - please email me if you would like an invitation. The following week, my Sewing with Stretch Fabrics 4-week class begins. We will be making a boat neck top (ladies), a classic t-shirt with neckband (adult or child sizes) and a pair of knickers! I will be holding your hand over Zoom every step of the way. It's £45 for the 4 week session.

Happy Sewing,

Jo xx

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