This spring I have made three versions of what I call my Turkish t-shirt. I named it like this because I drafted it based on a favourite t-shirt of mine that I bought in Turkey a few years back. It is a simple, loose fitting top with integrated sleeves. It is a real all rounder pattern, I wear it to work, to yoga, to exercise classes and to bed. Obviously I rotate and wash the t-shirts as I move through time!
For the summer, I wanted a more fitted t-shirt and I decided to go back to a top that I made a while ago, the Concord t-shirt by Cashmerette. Back then, I only had white thread for my overlocker, which turned out not so great with dark purple fabric. Although the threads are only visible on the inside, it bothered me rather more than it should have. It was one of the first garments I made with the overlocker and it shows. I was also less experienced with fitting and adjusting patterns. The t-shirt I made back then was ok for a bit of gardening but no more. Nevertheless, I like the style and decided to have another go. I bought a pretty red and white stripy jersey knit from Minerva Crafts. If find this shop overwhelming and their online shopfront is not as good as the one of other online retailers. Still, I am warming to it, particularly after I found out that you can call in and order the actual length required rather than the metre increments you can choose online. When you call, you can get 10 cm increments. So much more economical.
I don't know if you are familiar with Cashmerette patterns? I have mentioned them before. It is an independent pattern company run by Jenny Rushmore. All her patterns are exclusively drafted for curvy women. Yes, that's true, curvy all around! The sizes range from US 12 to US 28. All patterns come in three bust sizes, C/D, E/F, and G/H. I would say that covers quite a few curvy women. Having recently spent some time making toiles for a Cashmerette dress (more of that when it is finished), I knew which sizing would work best and how to grade between sizes to accommodate my disproportionally large butt. Also, I did have my first version to work with. This was clearly wrongly sized, I see that now.
So I boldly did what I haven't done before: cut into the precious stripy fabric without making a toile. As you know, I do like making toiles, too many probably so this is indeed a bold step.
I mulled over the thread colour for this top. White or red? What would you have chosen? The stripes are all the same width, about 2 cm. I chose white.
Sewing the t-shirt was easy, the instructions are clear and detailed enough for even a beginner. The only issue - for me anyway - was the neckband. For my own design, the Turkish t-shirt I cut the neckband 10% shorter than the neck opening. This works just fine, the neckband sits nicely and doesn't pucker. The Concord t-shirt pattern neckband is far exceeds the 10% and I could simply not get it to stretch enough to go all the way around. Yes, I checked if I cut the correct size. I also checked the stretch of my fabric both along the grain and cross grain. I went back to the cutting table and cut a longer neckband, favouring my own calculations. This worked much better.
In the process of sewing, I experienced a lightbulb moment, which is always nice. I finally grasped how to use the twin needle on the sewing machine. For a long long time, I thought my sewing machine was faulty because I couldn't achieve two parallel stitch lines on both sides of the fabric. It always looked a bit tangled, but in a regular kind of way. Those of you expert twin needle users, please don't laugh! Because I wanted to finish the hem with a double stitching line, I finally took the time to watch a tutorial on how to use a twin needle and it will come as no surprise to you that the back is not meant to look like the front but rather that the threads are linked together, resulting in a stretchy double row of stitches on the front and a criss cross pattern on the back. Ah yes, that would make sense, what else could happen with only one bobbin?! I am so pleased with myself, it is silly. I think the double row of stitching gives a far more professional finish.
I am really pleased with this t-shirt, I love the cheerful stripes and I love the shape. It is a good fit, although maybe I could remove a teeny tiny sliver from the arm scythe. I shan't bother, my Concord is still a better fit than many shop bought t-shirts I own.
The Concord can be made with three sleeve lengths and finishes as well as three different necklines (crew, scoop and V-neck). I never liked V-necklines much so that's not one I am going to try.
And just because I was on a roll, I made a plain black version, too. Of course I approached this second version with a bit too much nonchalance and attached the neckband with the seam right in the middle of the cleavage... I wasn't sure what would annoy me more, having the seam there (and being reminded of my sloppy work), or cutting it off and start with a new neckband, ending up with a deeper cleavage. There was no way I was going to unpick an overlocker seam. I went for the latter. Let me know if it is too revealing!
If you are worried this blog is turning into a sewing blog, fear not. I am really exited about sewing just now and I spend every waking (free) minute making something. With the summer holidays approaching fast, I am sure my focus will shift and you'll find more eclectic postings. Bear with me! In the meantime, enjoy your week! xx