Friday 25 May 2012

Finished Project - Colour Block T-Shirt

This was my second Salme Sewing Patterns project - this time the 'Colour Block T'. It's a lovely pattern to make up, again I really took my time with it so it took me a while but I definitely think the more experienced seamstress could knock one of these out in an hour or two. I loved the colour combination pictured on the pattern so much I couldn't see past it and just went with it! This project included a number of firsts for me, one of which being the first time I made my own bias tape. For some reason I have always been really put off by the thought of this as it seemed like a long process for something so small but I really enjoyed it and am proud of the finished result. Look at that neat neckline! I used my bias tape making tool which you feed the strips through and press but I'd definitely give other widths a go freehand.

Again the fabric was just cheap from Walthamstow market (I want to wait until I'm more confident in my sewing skills before I start hacking up more expensive beauties!). I'm not sure what it is but it is lovely and lightweight and has a beautiful drape. It is however pretty slippy to sew with, which made me very nervous as this was another first for me! I had my spray starch all ready but I was also apprehensive about using that as I didn't want to ruin the fabric somehow. So I gave some of the straight seams a go first without the spray starch and found that it actually went together ok! I made sure to use a lot of pins and take it nice a slow and had no major silky fabric mishaps. This project has definitely given me the confidence to work with hard to handle fabrics in future.

Although the Salme Patterns Peplum Skirt fits really well for some strange reason this top came out pretty HUGE! I can probably turn it into something wearable by taking in the side seams to make it less tent like but as you can see from the picture above it's even big on the shoulders! I know the style of the top is meant to be loose fitting, and I was actually concerned about it being too snug as I cut a UK8 when I can vary from an 8-10, but I think if I make this again I should definitely at least go down a size.

The only area I veered from the pattern instructions on was this insertion of the sleeve. This is another part of construction that makes me very nervous! The instructions called for gathering around the top of the sleeve but at the same time to this I'd started another project which called for a lot of gathering and I was pretty fed up of it! Instead I pinned in a few small pleats and this worked out quite well. I did manage to stitch through part of the sleeve I shouldn't have on one side but I rectified it and it all worked out ok in the end! I'm not sure that I feel more confident about setting in sleeves though...

The part I was most pleased with were my seams! I discussed on my last project how I was having trouble deciding how to finish my seams and on this I made my first attempt at french seams. Let's just say I LOVE THEM! They create such a neat and lovely and strong finish. You can see an example of the seam joining the two colours above.

The only area with messy seams is now the armhole...I'm not sure whether french seams are impossible on this area or if my brain was just too fried to figure it out but I just stitched them together with a bog standard straight seam in the end! I've asked my wonderful Nan about her recommendations for seam finishing and she said her machine only did straight stitch so she used to blanket stitch along her seams for an added bit of strength! I love a bit of therapeutic hand sewing but on a whole dress that must take some time! I may instead try machine zig zagging along the edges but think this may look a little messy. Does anyone have any tips for neat and strong seam finishing without an overlocker/serger?

One more little pic of my neat hem (no bumping and twisting there for a change!) and my lovely french seam. Overall I'm glad I used some cheap fabric as the fit is so bad but I'm still very happy with the finishing and experience I gained from making it. I really like the style and feel of this top so would love to make it again but am not feeling particularly inspired by any fabric choices I could use. Maybe when I come back to it I'll see it with new eyes!


  1. Just practise your zigzag on scrap fabric, it sometimes looks better if you stitch a wee bit in from the edge - but my best advice is to save for an over locker, definitely the best finish, I've had mine for 20 years now and I wouldn't be without it!

  2. It looks lovely! Color block shirts are soo cute


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