I want to tell you about my new top in this DREAMY tissue weight bamboo knit from The Confident Stitch. This was my first time working with this fabric and it is out-of-this-world soft and cozy, but still super lightweight and perfect for the climate where I live.
I'm not going to lie: it was not real easy to work with. And while many sewists claim to always be up for a challenge, I must admit that I typically dip my toes into working with new-to-me fabrics more out of naïveté than the search for a good sewing challenge. That was exactly the case with this. Now, don't get me wrong. It was not crazy difficult. And it's not that I never want a challenge. I just hadn't expected it with this. No matter! It was totally worth it and I cannot wait to get through some of my current projects so that I can make more plans to work with this gorgeous textile!
One of the sewing tricks that I've used in the past with chiffon is to sandwich the fabric between pattern paper when sewing to keep the fabric from slipping and sliding around or from getting eaten up by the machine. This technique came in very handy for this project! However, I had not quite thought about the fact that the narrow zig-zag stretch-stitch would make it far more difficult to eliminate all traces of paper from the shirt after sewing. Live and learn!
Although I have a self-drafted t-shirt pattern that I really like, I wanted to try out another t-shirt pattern to create a slightly different silhouette, and also to kind of contrast and compare. It's interesting to see how basic tees can differentiate, but putting one pattern on the other I can see clear differences to the basic blocks used for drafting - mainly in the shoulders and hips - as well as differences in the depth of scoop for the armcyes. The Union St. Tee* is the only indie t-shirt pattern I've used beside my own, so I'm not sure how it compares to others. It was also my first time using a pattern from the popular Hey June Handmade* collection. Although I liked the pattern overall, I'm not going to offer a full review because I rarely follow pattern instructions (hence, a pattern designer!) and this time was no different.
Lately, I've been trying to make a bit of a dent in my capsule wardrobe making plans. See, even though I've been living in the tropics for nearly three years now, I've yet to truly define my personal style for this climate. (Perhaps this is an idea for a future post?) Long story short: I had an image in mind (well, on my Pinterest board, really) that I wanted to (re-)create, and I used the Union St. Tee* pattern as a starting off point. Not too shabby, hey:
I don't do white anymore. Not because I don't like it, but because it just doesn't seem to stay white for very long. So I went for a lovely grey.
As I was going for a muscle shirt (because it's also too hot for any sort of sleeve most of the year), I only needed the front and back bodice pieces. By very scientifically placing the paper pattern over my body and standing in front of the mirror, I noted that I'd need to scoop out the front neck by an additional 7cm (2 3/4"), and the back neck by about 2cm (3/4").
Again, due to the heat, I also like a lower underarm because, well, sweat (have I gone to far??). So I lowered the under-armcye on the front and back by 2cm (3/4").
At the base of the shirt, I wanted the front to hang slightly higher than the back, with the rounded out bit at the sides (I have no idea what that is called, but I think you know what I mean. Right?). I therefore raised the front hem by 1.5cm (2/3") and used my hip curve ruler to create a nice round bit.
For the arms, in addition to being a sleeveless shirt, I wanted to have fold-over sleeves. You know, to look super tough? (Not really. I just like them.) Instead of simply cutting out enough fabric to create a standard band, I cut out a rectangle on the straight grain (it's a 4-way stretch) that was equal in width to 90% of the armscye circumference (at the seam-line, not the edge of the seam allowance!) by 10cm (4") high. This gave me a thick enough armband to press and fold over.
In order to keep the arm bands in place, I edge-stitched about 5cm under the arm (2.5cm on either side of the side seam) and tacked it at the shoulder. Unfortunately, it still doesn't stay quite as I'd hoped, but I still wore it and loved the feel!
I think I'll probably shorten the length by about another 2 cm (3/4") because it feels just a touch too long. And, while I'm at it, I may tack the armband down in a few more places. All-in-all, I love my new top and the way it feels against my skin! I am also looking forward to gradually tackling my capsule wardrobe sewing plans and sharing this with you on my way.
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