My new t-shirt

Tonight I’m going to share a project that’s quite popular on the French sewing blogs right now: a Plantain tee. It’s a free pattern released by Deer and Doe earlier this month. It’s not a shape I usually wear but I was curious and the challenge organized by Eleonore (owner of Deer and Doe) gave me the motivation I needed to try it.

I wanted to make it into a dress for the challenge, but was afraid to start the dress without making a test garment first (my measurements have changed since my pregnancy and I’m not used to D&D’s sizing), so this t-shirt came to life. I used remaining fabric from my pregnancy top. I didn’t have much fabric left and had to make the short sleeved version. I made it in size 38 without any pattern modifications (it fits in about 80cm of fabric if I remember correctly). I did reduce the hems though: I made them 1.5cm at the bottom and about 0.7cm at the sleeves, wich make the top and sleeves slightly longer.

I was very pleasantly surprised by this top when I tried it on: I found it lovely and more flattering than I thought it would be. Plus in this drapey fabric it’s very nice to wear. I couldn’t take pictures without another top under it because it’s cold right now, but I’ll try to take some as soon as possible to better show the nice neckline. I’m sure this baby will have brothers and sisters, especially since I’m now the happy owner of a serger (birthday present from my friends and family, thank you so much!). It made sewing this top a real pleasure. I couldn’t start working on it before last Sunday because of a sick Mr E. and a lack of ink in my printer, but I still managed to finish it yesterday. Yay for a quick and rewarding project (yes, that’s a quick make for me)!

At the last minute I decided to cut the neck band off grain to play with the stripes. I’m really happy I did it! I love the result and already got nice comments about it. Small details like this can make a difference. I changed the construction steps for the sleeves. The pattern has you sew them flat and then sew the sleeves bottom and the top sides in one go. Since I wanted to test the fit early on I sewed the shoulders, then the side seams, tried the top (it was okay), and then sewed the sleeves closed and set them in.

The contest ends tonight so my dress won’t be made on time, but I’m still happy that it made me discover this nice pattern. I really recommend it! And since all Deer and Doe patterns come in both French and English, you have no excuse not to try it. ;)

Project firsts:

  • first garment entirely sewn with a serger and coverstitch machine. I have to say that I was quite pleased of this and rather proud of my little t-shirt, as a knit fabrics beginner.
  • first jersey neck band
  • first Deer and Doe pattern
  • first time sewing with my own serger!

The positive:

  • the stripes almost match at the side seams! See above and below. Okay, so maybe I shouldn’t be happy that they almost match, but considering that I didn’t make it a priority, it’s a nice result. I didn’t spend much time on this but tried to place my pattern pieces roughly at the same level when I cut my fabric. The left side is quite nice. The right side only matches at the top, the bottom being totally off. I say it’s a good result/time ratio.
  • I discovered a very nice pattern (and some people who saw my tee might try it also)
  • I have a nice top to wear
  • the serged seams look nice
  • I used fabric and thread from my stash

The negative:

  • I’m note as comfortable with the coverstitch machine we have at my sewing lessons as with my serger, I’m not very happy with how my hems look. Luckily you don’t see them too much on this busy fabric. I have to practice more!

First jersey piece

As promised here are a few pictures of my new top taken during our holidays. Looking at them makes me want to go back, it was so nice to enjoy the sea for a week and not have to worry about anything. It was the best way to start my maternity leave and forget about work.

This top is actually quite simple, but it was my first piece made of jersey fabric, so it feels like an achievement. I’d been afraid of knit fabrics and had been avoiding them, except for the occasional dolly piece that I would sew by hand. That’s why I had made it one of my goals for this year’s sewing courses to start sewing with knits. At the beginning of June I realized I had very few time left to achieve this, since the lessons would end soon, so I stopped the project I was working on, went to a cheap fabric store in Paris to get a nice looking but inexpensive jersey and then went looking for an appropriate pattern in my Burda magazine collection. Since I didn’t have much time and because of my jersey fear I wanted something quick and simple. And if possible something that could accomodate my big belly. I settled on the 123-A top from Burda 2013/01.

If you’re considering making this top, please know that it’s quite large and long! I expected it, but not that much. I traced the pattern according to my maternity bust measurement, which is one size bigger than my regular size. But I think my regular size would have accomodated my 8 month pregnant belly without any problem! The top body is straigt so it’s quite roomy. Also the sleeve opening is quite large and low, so if you’re not wearing anything underneath your bra band will show when you lift your arms. Lately it’s been too hot in Paris for me to mind, but it’s not something I usually like.

This top was quite easy to sew, it makes me wonder why I waited so long to sew with knits! That said it’s a pretty forgiving project, since it’s very simple and not fitted. I started sewing it using the serger we have in the sewing class, and since I couldn’t complete it before the lessons ended I finished on my regular sewing machine, using its elastic stitches. And you know what? Everything went ok! The stitches might not be as nice looking as if I had used the serger all along, but it worked and my seams are stretchy and not too bad looking so it’s fine with me. I even used a twin needle to hem the bottom. It’s a little bit wavy, I don’t know if it’s because of the needle or the stitch settings. But with the busy fabric you don’t see it that much when I’m wearing the t-shirt.

I was very careful when cutting my fabric to have it laying properly, so that the stripes wouldn’t be wonky, but I didn’t think about matching them at the sides… ^^; I guess I’ll do better next time. The intructions called for Vlieseline stabilmanche to stabilize the back neckline, shoulders and sleeve opening. Since I didn’t have any my teacher suggested I cut small bands in a bias tape and used those as stabilizers. It made the back neckline a tad too thick and rigid with all the layers, but it’s okay. I didn’t use any stabilizer on the sleeve openings though for fear they wouldn’t hang properly. Below is a picture of how the shoulder seams look like with the bias strip stabilizer.

So here it is, my first knit project! I feel more confident in using jersey now and would love to try other patterns. I’d like to make some fitted garments, which are more my style. But it’ll have to wait until I have the time. With all the things we had to do in the house to prepare for the baby’s arrival I’m only now finding the time to sew, and there are some more urgent things in my to-do list, like things for the baby for example. ^^ He might arrive any day now, I’d like to make a few things before that…