Follow this blog with bloglovin

Follow on Bloglovin

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Day 13 - T shirt Tutorial as promised

First up you need a good fitted t-shirt pattern.  The one I have is from the first Ottobre Woman magazine, it's also available as a separate pattern from their Website (2nd from top on the RHS).   For me it's an excellent pattern with a good size range, different sleeve and neckline options as well.   Next time I might remember to add a touch more length, but otherwise it'll do me nicely.

Next choose your fabric; the fabric I'm using is a cotton/lycra blend with a dot print.  It has good recovery and the recommended amount of stretch; it's also fresh and summery.

My method doesn't come from the Ottobre mag or from Kwik Sew; it's just what I've ended up doing after following their instruction before now and choosing what worked best for me.

Now, in my machine arsenal I have a sewing machine (2 actually), an overlocker and a coverhem.   It is possible to sew with just the sewing machine, but I really do recommend an overlocker as well if you can manage it.   On this t-shirt I only used the sewing machine once.
First step for me is to turn up the hems.  I normally sew a 1"(2.5cm) hem but turn up 1 1/4" to ensure that my hem is properly caught on the wrong side.
This is my coverhem, she's a Janome CP1000.  I've threaded her up with normal polyester thread in the two needles and the looper is using woolly nylon; as you can see I've bypassed the tension disc for the nylon as otherwise it'll pull and the hem won't look good.  You may also be able to see I've used a permanent marker to mark the 1" mark on the machine as a guide.  I'm using the left and right needles, not the middle one; in fact I don't think I've ever used the middle one.  I start sewing at the beginning of the fabric, much as I do for sewing, but as there's no backstitch it's right on the edge; often I'll use a scrap from a previous project to start in the middle of just to get things going without bunching.
This is the finished hem on the back; as you can see with the woolly nylon being untensioned it's looking really flat and professional.  Once I've finished the first piece I then continue sewing the next piece.  I do this for front, back and both sleeves.  You can do this in the round, but I find it a pain to do and always seem to have problems with finishing the ends.

At the end I sew off onto a scrap piece of fabric, I then cut the threads between the t-shirt and the scrap.   I then leave the scrap under the foot for the next start.
My next step after separating all the pieces from eachother is to cut a piece of twill tape (you can use clear elastic if you prefer).  I cut it to the size of the shoulder seam; this lends stability so the shoulder won't stretch out of shape with wear.  Most RTW garments have this touch too.
Making sure the tape, front and back shoulder seam are even, and right sides together get ready to stitch.  You could pin it, but for such a short and straight seam I don't bother.  That and when using my overlocker the less pins the better.
Start overlocking.   If using your sewing machine for this you'll need to use the machine's overlocking stitch; or failing that stretch or zig-zag will also work.
Whoops, the twill tape moved towards the blades a bit here, however it will still do it's job and the fabric did not move so all is well.
Here you can see both shoulders are sewn and we're marking centre back and centre front with pins.   We will then match those pins and put the edges of the neckline together until we reach the side quarter marks; this is not the shoulder seams.  The back-neck is actually shorter than the front, so we want the exact halfway point.
see, pins together on top of eachother
and you can see as the fabric moves along the halfway point is onto the front, past the shoulder seam.  Mark this with a pin too.  Do the same on the other side; you now have 4 pins in your neckline dividing it into quarters.
Now it is time to get our neck facing ready.  Mine is cut from the same fabric as the t-shirt and is slightly smaller than the neckline on the main pattern.   I'm folding it in half with the short ends together, right sides facing eachother and this is where I use my sewing machine for the first time to sew a 1/4" seam.   This won't see any real stretch so I'm using straight stitch.   Can you see more permanent marker?   I love that stuff!  On this machine the marker is covered with clear nail varnish to stop it wearing off the enamel paint.
I am now folding the neck facing wrong sides together and putting the first pin at the seam; this is the centre back.  I will find the centre front by putting that pin on the left, folding it at that point and flattening it; the far right will be the centre front.
Now, just like on the t-shirt I'm putting those 2 pins one on top of the other and the far edges are the other 2 quarter marks.  Place a pin on each.
Here we are with 4 pins; doesn't look like much at the moment, but....
Now we match the pins on the binding to the pins on the garment; be very careful to make sure that your seam on the binding is matched to the centre back; I've done it wrong once and I don't recommend it unless you like undoing sewing; I don't, lol.
Here, I am sewing the binding to the neckline from the right side of the garment.   I start near the centre back, and as I go I stretch the binding slightly so it fits the neckline of the t-shirt.  You don't want to stretch the neckline as you'll end up with a wavy look; best to go slow on this.  Also make sure to remove pins before they get near the blade; use your fingers on that point as a temporary pin.   If a pin goes under the blade at best you'll blunt your blade; at worst you could injure yourself, or put out the timing on your machine.   Both are expensive to fix, and damage to either could be permanent; so instead lets just be careful.
Once I've finished the neckline I like to pull the overlocking tails through the seam to secure them.  I use a tool which is made from a knitting machine hook; this one is fairly fine.   The main one I use has a dowel handle, but I couldn't find it for this picture.   You can just thread them onto a darning needle and pull them through that way.
  If you wanted to you could use your coverhem to make the seam lie flat, but I've never found it to be a problem when I'm wearing them.   Now look at that, a nice smooth neckline all finished; that's the hardest bit over in my opinion.
Now for the sleeves; most patterns you'll find the sleeve will have 2 notches.  One for the shoulder seam placement and the other will be echoed on the main garment.   You can see here I'm pointing at them; if you don't match them the sleeve won't sit correctly.   Some patterns are drafted in such a way that the sleeve is the same both sides; Kwik Sew is one that does this; I find a sleeve like the one above tends to fit better.  Match those notches, and make sure you have right sides together.   If you find that your right sides are together but the notches are on opposite sides of the garment, then swap your sleeves to the other side; you've got the left sleeve on the right side of the garment, or vice-versa.
You can see here the 3 pins I use.  One at the side seam, one at the shoulder seam, and one at the notch.
Making sure your raw edges stay together and if need be slightly stretching to fit, carefully sew around the sleeve seam, removing pins before you get to them again; make sure all notches are in the right places.
There, nice smooth seam.   Best part, you're almost done!
For the side seam I don't pin at all, I match the 2 sleeve hems together, and overlock down the side, also matching the underarm seams together; the internal corner is the only tricky bit as you go around that underarm seam.  As you approach it, straighten the two edges, the fabric will form a bubble to the left,  but should be flat and go through the machine nicely at the edge.
Keep going, hold the bottom hems together, if need be put slight tension on to keep both sides even.   I do this right from the beginning so don't normally have any seam movement and my edges are more often than not even.  As you did for the neckline, pull the overlocking ends into the overlocking seams, and you're done!
Isn't it lovely?  It sits better on me, cos unlike Bonnie here I don't have gaps in my middle.  I think I might possibly have to use some batting to fix that problem.
I've started eating raw garlic; I apologise for any odour, but it's part of the campaign to get my bowel back on my side.  Garlic kills the bad guys, but leaves the good guys alone; I will still have to repopulate, but going by the reaction so far I think it's working, but although I'm going to the loo a few times it's still much better than the normal IBS version.   I figure that's my system chucking out the bugs that last nights half clove killed off.   Last night I swallowed half a clove in one piece with milk.   After a little research today I went looking for salsa and failed to find it; instead I'm using a dried tomato and parmesan dip (which is yummy!).  I've taken probably half of the garlic so far and I'm going to stop there as it was a big bit and I don't want to go too fast.


Blog Archive