Did you take part in Me Made May? I did, and one thing it taught me (apart from the fact that I have too many clothes) is that I reach for T-shirts more than any other garment. So, when it was time for the Simple Sew bloggers to choose their patterns for this month I got in there quick as flash to choose the Miranda tee. This is a brand-new pattern soon to be released into the wild so I was quite excited to try it out.
I cut out a size medium in some rubbish fabric to check the fit and was very pleased to find that it did. I had to make one change, but it was a simple one. The pattern is very long so I shortened it.
To make this t-shirt I was given this gorgeous viscose jersey fabric from Doughty’s. I love stripy T-shirts and have made several of them. The pattern states that you need 1.5m of fabric but I can confirm you can get it out of less. I liked the fabric a lot, so I wanted to conserve as much as I could. I’m glad I did this as my finished T-shirt is not exactly perfect as you shall soon see. A bit of practice though and I’ll have it nailed.
Obviously, stripes need careful handling. Everything must match! Well, it doesn’t really but I like it to.
Rather than fold the fabric in half I folded each selvedge to the middle. This allowed me to get the pattern out of less than a metre of fabric but also it allowed me to match up the stripes ready for cutting.
Pattern matching starts with careful cutting out.
The easiest way to make sure everything matches is to get the underarm point to match in the same place each time. I have the underarm point at the beginning of a black stripe in the photo above and I did the same for the front piece and both arm pieces.
I decided to live life on the edge and go for the V-neck variation. I’ve sewn plenty of round necked knit tops before, but this was my first V-necked one. You can tell it’s my first one when you look at the finished garment!
The first thing you must do is sew the front to the back at the shoulder seams. Now it’s good practice to stabilise these seams to prevent your shoulders from stretching out in the future. I sometimes use twill tape or ribbon but on this occasion, I used clear elastic. I attached it to the seam allowance of the wrong side of the back bodice and ran it through the overlocker.
Once the shoulder seams are done it’s time to attach the dreaded neck band.
The neck band for the V-necked version is longer than the round necked version and it is also mitred at each end to give the right shape. You sew the short, mitred ends to each other right sides together, pivoting in the middle. You then press the entire length of the neck band in half length-ways. If your fabric has good 4 way stretch, like the pattern suggests, you can cut the band so that the stripes run horizontally or vertically. I went for vertical stripes in this one.
You then need to evenly add the band to the neck line. The neck band is shorter than the neckline is so you will have to stretch it slightly to get it to fit. This is important as it allows the neckband to sit nice and flat to the chest once constructed.
I did write a more detailed post on how to attach a neck band here.
I split the band into quarters and marked each quarter with a pin. You can see them in the photo above. I then did the same to the neck line on the top. I’ve folded the front and the back bodice in half in the photo below (the neckline is at the top) and I popped a pin at the folds. I then brought those pins together and folded it in half again. This allowed me to mark the quarter points. You then match the pins on the neckline up with the pins on the neckband, stretching the neckband (not the neckline) as you sew.
So, it’s round about here that things started to go a little wrong. What I should have done is get that neckband seam at the lowest point of the v first by anchoring it in place with my sewing machine rather than going ahead willy-nilly and using the overlocker to attach the band.
Once the seam is in the correct place and stitched down then you can go about attaching the neckband in the same way as you would for a round one. This means stretching the neckband to fit the neck opening.
It’s probably a good idea to attach the whole band using a basting stitch on the sewing machine and then go over it with the overlocker once you’re satisfied. That is what I’ll definitely do in the future (well, for the V-necked variation anyway)!
As you can see I didn’t quite get the V point right. I did not stretch the neck band far enough and I ended up with excess fabric on the front bodice which ended in a pucker. I did unpick the overlock stitches and tried to correct this, and although it improved matters, it is still far from perfect. Grrr! I then used a zig-zag stitch to top stitch the seam allowance to the bodice and moved on with my life.
After the neckband debacle it was time to move on to the side seams. I was on firmer ground here! It’s hard to tell from the photo above but all stripes were nicely matched. The notches weren’t quite cut in the same place on my front and back bodices but if you’re matching stripes, it’s more important to match these rather than the notches.
So stripy fabric can be a pain to cut out and match up but it comes into its own when it comes to hemming. You can use a stripe as a pressing guide and then as a stitching guide. As you can see from the photo above, I’ve pressed it so that the black stripe runs across the bottom. I’ve used the skinny white stripe as a stitching guide. I tend to use a zig-zag stitch to hem because I have no luck with twin needles as no matter what I do I cannot stop the tunnelling. I think the zig-zag looks effective anyway.
Here’s my finished t shirt. I really love how it fits. I’ll be making more to replace some of my tired RTW t-shirts. I have to anyway as I need to keep practicing that neckband!