Monday, May 20, 2013

Obsessing on T-Shirts

I haven't sewn any garments in a long, long time. So now I am making designer T-shirts as fast as I can. It is not because I need a new wardrobe - I just like to design. My style is "design on the fly". I lay all the fabric out and start moving them around to see what goes with what and begin thinking of ideas. Sometimes I keep an idea and go for it and other times a new combination emerges as I am working on something else. So far I have completed six for myself and two for my sister. The shirts for my sis are to test the pattern for fit. I mail them to her and she lets me know what is working and what is not working.

I must confess I like garment sewing much better than quilting. There may not be any more quilts in the future.

I have three more shirts waiting to be finished and fabric for a few more. This is my entertainment!

I made this T from an old cotton knit skirt. I liked the fabric but the elastic waist was no longer elastic. The neckline trim is from a scrap of fabric that is probably 20 years old. I really liked the fabric and couldn't part with it. The edge is pinked and hand sewn with embroidery floss.

This is an ITY knit with and overall pattern. The white is a little bit cream colored. The trim is from a tunic that will show up later. I reversed the sleeve and used the wrong side of the material for interest. I really like how well the trim went with the black and cream fabric. the color and scale were just right.

Another ITY graphic print that was just two bold and shiny for my taste. By adding the black and abstract polka dot fabric I was able to "disguise" the intensity of the graphic print. I no longer have access to fabric stores so must order online. Sometimes I get surprises. This was one of the surprises.

Nothing too spectacular with this shirt but I love the fabric. I made the band from a piece of hand dyed silk fabric cut on the bias. I made a small reverse pleat at the neck and hand stitched for added interest. I may do something at the hemline to make it more interesting.

A nice classic blue and white mini stripe with a touch of red and grey stripe. This one could become a favorite.

And finally the ethnic ITY print tunic. I wear it with skinny black pants or tights. This was another one of those oops fabrics. Just a little two bold for me but I kinda like the smaller motifs in it and in small trim pieces it looks rather good.


  1. *love* all of the t-shirts in this post. I'm not much of a risk-taker when combining fabric, but this motivates me!

  2. Jane, Thank you. One way to test combinations is with the "sneak test". I put the fabrics together and drape them on my dress form then leave the room and "sneak" back in to see if they wow me. Sometimes I even wait over night. If I feel I am working too hard to make it work I probably am. When shopping for fabric I do the same. Sometimes our brains get on overload and we can't see the possibilities until we get away.

  3. Love your T-shirts. Is there a pattern you would recommend as a good basic T-shirt?

    1. Carmen, When I started making T's I used Kwik Sew patterns because they gave the stretch factor for knits. My current pattern is Burda 3197, modified. I suggest finding a basic pattern that has the correct shoulder and make it up in a 30% stretch first to test for fit. Then modify neck, length, style lines as you wish.