Monday, 12 June 2017

Wardrobe essentials 2017 - Concord t-shirt






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









23 comments:

  1. It is lovely to read about your sewing journey and your enthusiasm so always a joy to visit. What a great job you have done on the T shirts and no I don't think they are too revealing but it is how you feel yourself.

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  2. Really like the striped one, the sewing on the neckline looks professional, so well done! And no, it's not too revealing.

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  3. Loving all your t shirts. I've only managed basic stitching on a sewing machine. Maybe it's time I branched out 😀B x

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  4. I love it! You're really becoming very skilled at sewing things like this. I like what you did with the neckline. I always have issues with the neckline on t-shirts. My shoulders must be fairly narrow for my bust and waist measurements, so the necklines are always way too big and they slip off to the side. Everyone is always seeing my bra straps. Your overlocking looks beautiful, so neat and straight. Good job!

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  5. I actually think the black t shirt is showing the right amount of cleavage, it looks perfect on you.

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  6. Well I love these​ sewing posts, they're interesting ​and inspiring. That red and white striped fabric is really stylish and summery, while the black top is so flattering. Great sewing! X

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  7. Well I love these​ sewing posts, they're interesting ​and inspiring. That red and white striped fabric is really stylish and summery, while the black top is so flattering. Great sewing! X

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  8. That is very impressive sewing, I can't imagine tackling something that complicated! There is hardly any cleavage, looks great.

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  9. No worries as I love reading about your sewing adventures and seeing the lovely things you create. I love this top you made. Pat xx

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  10. Brilliant job, really professional. Stretch fabric is so tricky to work with but you've made a fantastic job of it. Especially love the stripey one. CJ xx

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  11. I'm really impressed that you can make your own t-shirts and they look perfect! I love the striped one a lot. And your blog is to share what you're doing.. don't worry about it. Enjoy your new clothes! ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

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  12. The stitching on your stripey t shirt is so neat and professional looking. They both look lovely.

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  13. Christina, as usual with your sewing, I am super impressed! Jersey fabric is something that is out of my league. The red and white shirt is perfect for summer. I've been on a stripe kick lately and think your shirt is super cute! And don't fear guilty about showing off all of your sewing - it is really impressive that you are able to make so many of your own clothes, and actually form fitting clothes instead of pillow case style shirts or skirts which is what all I'd be able to make for myself!

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  14. I just can't get over the fact that you made a t shirt.
    I like the stripes one.. great for summer.

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  15. Those neckbands and twin needle sewing are really top notch. I bought 'another' twin needle the other week and broke it as soon as it hit the footplate.It didn't even touch fabric before I broke it. Why can't I learn to hand turn the wheel first and check I have not got it on zig zag!!!! Anyways, I love your sewing and you know I would still come here if it was only sewing because you are clever at it. Jo xxx

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  16. You did a great job with both shirts and they fit you beautifully.

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  17. You and Jo do a grand job on your sewing and on your blogs. Even if I never construct clothing I am getting encouraged to think I could as you share what you have done. Your red and white stripe T is especially striking and your black one is elegant. I get teased by my family because I wear turtlenecks nearly year round because I like the way they feel, so my opinion about necklines is suspect! xx

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  18. Ha the only thing that is too revealing is you! We would have never known if you hadn't told us :) Great work, I'm impressed. By the way I have found a lovely lady with a sewing machine who sits on the streets of Bangkok and mends things, I'm not sure if she creates like you but you'd be impressed!
    Have a wonderful Wednesday
    Wren x

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  19. I can't sew for toffee and I love to see what you've been making. You've done brilliantly with those T shirts, the stitching on the stripey one is so neat. If I'd managed to produce anything as good as that, I'd wear a big sign saying, 'I made this, all by myself'.

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  20. In awe of your skill, Christina. Can't even seem to get round to repairing hem on a pair of summer work trousers which have been in the ironing basket for for months now. Take care and enjoy the sunshine if it has reached Glasgow this weekend. x

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  21. super, super, super impressed! Love them! Clever clogs!

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  22. I'm full of admiration as I've never been able to sew well, I do turn up the odd pair of trousers and sew loose buttons back in place but that's about all. Your t-shirts are both wonderful and the stripey one so cheerful and summery:)

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Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment, I love to hear from you, I really do. I sometimes reply by email but I am not all that reliable... Christina xx