Sunday, November 13, 2016

Making it "My Tee"

I scored yardage of three beautiful, buttery-soft knits by Art Gallery Fabrics. Yep, there are quilt shops venturing into knits... and stocking their shelves with "other" types of fabrics in addition to our beloved quilting cottons. This is very on-trend and really exciting news for sewers and makers!
Front: My Tee made with Morse Dot Sun by Katarina Roccella for Art Gallery Fabrics.
Back: existing ready-made top from my wardrobe.
With not much time for sewing these days, I wanted an easy pattern for a Tee or knit pullover top. Someone suggested (yes, Walter, I used your idea) to make a pattern from an existing top. Nothing ventured nothing gained, right?
Making a pattern from an existing knit t-shirt.
Making a pattern from an existing top was actually quite easy to do. It also cut out a lot of "futsing around" time that comes with having to fit a standard commercial pattern to your not-so-standard body. (The necessary evil part of making a first-time garment that I dislike doing.)

There are many on-line sources for quick tutorials on doing making patterns from existing clothes. Here is one from the experts at Threads Magazine. Here is another. Or do a quick Google search to find something that makes sense to you.

TIP: One thing I have learned through modifying and fitting my garment patterns is to make sure the front and back pattern pieces where the shoulders meet are the same width.
Make sure the front and back shoulders are the same width.
I did follow the instruction sheet from a commercial pattern for the step-by-step garment construction. The sleeves were set in rather than attaching them flat and then sewing up the side seam. This works better for me. TIP: use the free-arm on your sewing machine for set-in sleeves.

The commercial pattern also provided insight for creating a neckband to enclose the raw edges at the neckline. This was similar to attaching a binding on a quilt—a process in which I'm familiar. TIP: You can also use the fabric yardage information on the pattern envelope to estimate yardage needed for your project.
Using a commercial pattern for the assembly steps.
TIPs: Use a ballpoint sewing machine needle made for sewing knits. If you have a serger, use it to finish the seam allowances for a nice, clean finish on the inside (it's fast, too). Otherwise, the zig-zag stitch on your sewing machine will work.

The pattern instructions also said to slightly stretch the fabric as you sew so the stitching won't break as the knit stretches. I'm not totally convinced on this as the hems on my Tee were ruffly in some places. I'll have to research this more. All in all, the process was painless and I'm happy with the final result. 
Morse Dot Sun by Katarina Roccella in knit for Art Gallery Fabrics.
With the weather turning colder, these other Art Gallery knits are slated for long sleeve Tees. These knit prints are from the Etno (front) by Pat Bravo and Forest Floor (mushrooms) by Bonnie Christine collections.
Etno and Forest Floor knits from Art Gallery.
Do you see a knit project in your future? I can highly recommend sewing and wearing the knits from Art Gallery Fabrics. Ask YLQS [your local quilt shop] if they will carry knits... and be sure you support them when they do.
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