Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Flamingo kimono tee

I haven't posted anything in a week or so, as I had got stuck in a bit of a slump. I just wasn't feeling in the mood for sewing for a variety of low level reasons. After meeting with the lovely Debi of My Happy Sewing Place-Fashions of the Past (and the Sew Weekly) to drink Gin and Tonics and talk about sewing, I found my sew-jo returning slightly, mainly about trying to finish the hemming on my Shifting Skies skirt, which has about 25m of hem in the petticoat. However, after about 2 hours of applying white bias binding to one bit of hem, I decided that it was both tedious, and looked bad. So that knocked that on the head a bit (I will finish it, I am just going to hem it normally!). 

So I drifted on, and then, spurred on by my flatmate needing me to clear the airing cupboard which currently housed my now dry prewashed jersey that I had purchased in a mammoth charity shop/fabric shop binge the other week, and spurred on by Casey's recent post, I decided to venture where  had never ventured successfully before. KNITS! 

I had tried to make a T-short once before, when I first started, but it was a horrible failure, pulling all the wrong places and just looking irretrievably awful. I think retrospectively it was the type of jersey I used, as it was like conventional chunky tshirting, and I never wear tshirts made from that as they don't fit. For some reason, I figured if I made it myself it would, an important fabric lesson.

The jersey I used for this was a much softer drapier jersey (presumably with more polyester or something?). As I mentioned in my plan the other week, I had spotted a pattern and tutorial on Burdastyle for a kimono sleeve tee, which is all in one piece, you just sew the sides together and add a collar piece. I decided to go for the kimono sleeve as I was sick of all my tops being identical. 

So I printed it off and stuck all the piece of paper together to make the pattern. It then looked absolutely enormous, particularly for something that was meant to be stretchy. The pattern has small, medium large on it but they all seemed pretty massive, especially when compared to existing t shirts I have. I cut the smallest size (and yes everyone who says this-I concur- slippery knits are a pain to cut!) and then doubled the seam allowance to make it a bit smaller. It was still too big when I tried it on, so I took a 2 inch chunk of each side and it fit perfectly! I think, having looked in more detail at the burdastyle page, that this is again a reflection on the type of jersey. Most of the finished projects on there used the unstretchy chunky jersey, and therefore don't stretch as much. This pattern works very well with the more stretchy jersey but you do have to make it smaller (to put this in perspective if anyone is going to make one, I took about 3 inches off each side on the back and front, after cutting the small, and I have a 43 inch bust..). I also added 3 inches to the bottom to make it longer as I tend to find t shirts too short, however that was not necessary, as it is now very long, and if I wasn't 5ft 8.5 would probably work pretty well as a dress. 

The neckline was more of a challenge. The pattern has a quite high neckline, and I wanted to lower it. Again, ignoring everything I know about t shirts and sewing in general, I decided to just cut it bigger. This obviously made it huge and gapey. sigh. The instructions are more aimed at people with sergers, so I winged attaching the neckline, which actually worked quite well with just the narrow zig zag and then topstitching with normal stitch (there isnt any problem with the not fitting over my head without stretching!) Though the whole thing is super droopy and doesn't sit quite flat, I am actually pretty pleased with it for a first attempt. Due to the drapiness of the whole top, it looks quite plausible in a slip off your shoulder top sort of way.  

All in all I like it a lot. I didn't bother hemming the bottom or the sleeves, as the jersey just rolls about and looks alright as it is. It is nice and cosy to wear and it pretty flattering. YAY! I am no longer scared of knits! (OK I am but now its a more informed scared that hopefully wont stop me trying to use them!)

my neckline, looks pretty bad form the inside, but OK from the outside- and the the part that really counts!)


  1. yay for sewing knit tops!! see it's really not so hard after you try it :) next up for me is tackling a bathing suit by monday....eeep!!

  2. I have done another one now too-well a refashion. I hope your swimming cozzie went well!