Sunday, 28 October 2018

Striped MIY Collection T-Shirt from Beginner's Guide to Dressmaking

I feel like I've been on the hunt for my ideal t-shirt pattern for the entire time I've been sewing and it is a subject I've returned to a couple of times here on the blog. It may seem like a simple garment but finding the right pairing of fabric and pattern and getting the cut and fit just so for your body shape can be really tricky. I hadn't been entirely satisfied with any of my handmade tees before and find myself falling back on old RTW favourites which are looking quite worn now. That is until I discovered this MIY Collection pattern and hit upon success.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: MIY Collection Beginner's Guide to Dressmaking T-Shirt in Striped Cotton Rayon Jersey from Girl Charlee

Wendy Ward has recently released some of the designs from her first book 'The Beginner's Guide to Dressmaking' as stand alone PDF patterns. When she offered one to me to try I snapped up the T-Shirt pattern as I thought it was about time I tried a tee from a different designer. This is a less structured style than those I have sewn before and actually than in my wardrobe. To be honest I thought I would prefer a more fitted style with a deeper neckline but I gave it a whirl and think I have accidentally discovered just what I was looking for!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: MIY Collection Beginner's Guide to Dressmaking T-Shirt in Striped Cotton Rayon Jersey from Girl Charlee

I went a little bit nuts for this striking striped jersey when I spotted it on the Girl Charlee Instagram months ago and they very kindly sent me a length to play with. I adore the seventies feel of the vivid colours and retro stripe design. It has taken me a shamefully long time to get around to finding the right pattern for it and sewing it up. But it has been worth the wait as this simple style really showcases the stripe and beautiful colours. It is lightweight but opaque and the rayon content gives it a lovely drape. I've found with some fine jerseys that they have a weird slightly grainy texture and are easy to stretch out of shape permanently but this has a gorgeously smooth soft hand and a bouncy stretch. Perfect for a little tee.
Diary of a Chain Stitcher: MIY Collection Beginner's Guide to Dressmaking T-Shirt in Striped Cotton Rayon Jersey from Girl Charlee

The sizing on this pattern (and I think with the other patterns from the book) is quite generic with just three sizes covering busts from 31.5" to 40". I absolutely don't think there needs to be more detailed sizing on a knit style like this. My bust and waist measurements actually fell just between the small and medium sizes but I opted to cut the small based on the finished measurements. I figured 2" of ease around the bust on a t-shirt, even that has a relaxed fit, would be plenty. I'm very happy with the fit of this, it has the perfect amount of ease and length for me. I am sometimes concerned about fine, very stretchy knits like this clinging and showing all the lumps and bumps but this skims the body really nicely. I am getting a couple of drag lines around the bust but I think that's more to do with the way this fabric hangs on the body than anything being too small.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: MIY Collection Beginner's Guide to Dressmaking T-Shirt in Striped Cotton Rayon Jersey from Girl Charlee

It has a similar amount of ease around the body to the Pattern Fantastique Equinox which is the last t-shirt pattern I made. But I feel like my Equinox tees shift around on the body in a weird way throughout the day so I'm constantly fiddling with them. Not the case with this one. I prefer the cut of this, particularly the bateau neckline. It is perhaps a fraction wide on me as a hint of bra strap peaks out. I have quite small shoulders so may rectify this next time by taking a small wedge out of the centre front of the pattern piece. Here's a photo with hair up so you can really see that lovely neckline shape!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: MIY Collection Beginner's Guide to Dressmaking T-Shirt in Striped Cotton Rayon Jersey from Girl Charlee

Of course when working with knit fabrics, even when using exactly the same pattern, in exactly the same size with the same construction techniques the result can be completely different in one fabric to another. I adore this pattern in a lightweight drapey knit like this but I'm not sure I'd like it in a more structured knit. It would be quite boxy and that isn't a particularly flattering or comfortable shape on my body type. I've certainly noticed that I wear my lightweight grey Equinox Tee a lot more than the heavier white cotton jersey version.

I was initially unsure about the lack of neckband; the neckline is simply turned back and stitched (I did this with a twin needle). I've come to quite enjoy sewing neckbands now I've done quite a few a love that finish, particularly a nice skinny one. However simply hemming this edge is much better for the bateau shape as it would be difficult to set a band into that tight corner on each shoulder without distorting the shape. This finish also suits the relaxed style of the tee.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: MIY Collection Beginner's Guide to Dressmaking T-Shirt in Striped Cotton Rayon Jersey from Girl Charlee

My favourite thing about this design is the sleeve. I've always been a fan of a small cap proportional on me and this one sits really well. Even in a fine knit like this it holds its shape well as the entire sleeve piece is doubled back on itself rather than hemmed. It makes for a lovely clean finish and a much better defined edge in a lightweight fabric.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: MIY Collection Beginner's Guide to Dressmaking T-Shirt in Striped Cotton Rayon Jersey from Girl Charlee

A big part of making this top was of course the stripe matching, made even more complicated by the fact that this fabric was very shifty to cut out and work with! What did make the job a little easier is that you're only contending with two pattern pieces. One for the front and back bodice and one for the sleeves! I cut the front by cutting one half, drawing onto the pattern piece where the stripes were then flipping the pattern piece along the centre line to cut the other half. I used the stripes drawn on the pattern to line up the piece when cutting the back. The sleeves I didn't attempt to match with the body in any way but made sure to cut two that matched. I used lots of pins when assembling and am delighted with how that turned out.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: MIY Collection Beginner's Guide to Dressmaking T-Shirt in Striped Cotton Rayon Jersey from Girl Charlee

I thought the instructions were great, with nice clear illustrations. They're laid out slightly differently to what many of us may be used to and each point is fairly brief but there is a tonne of information about sewing with knits and relevant techniques included before you even get to the step by step method. I think a lot of the information has probably come from the book the pattern originated from which is a real bonus. I particularly enjoyed the additional instructions for hacking your pattern to do some colour blocking by adding a vertical c/front or back seam or alternatively a diagonal or horizontal seam. A great way to push beginners on to get creative with their sewing.

I've taken the photos with the tee untucked over skinny jeans so you can see the cut of the whole thing but my favourite way to wear it at the moment is tucked into high waisted trousers like these; really making the most of that seventies vibe. It is also great for layering under overalls/dungarees. These trousers are my new Persephone pants...blog post on these coming soon!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: MIY Collection Beginner's Guide to Dressmaking T-Shirt in Striped Cotton Rayon Jersey from Girl Charlee

I think my wardrobe could probably do with some slightly more fitted tees and different necklines but this is certainly a winner in the relaxed style category. I think a number of these made up in lightweight viscose or linen jerseys are going to be great in South Africa and the Philippines; those fabrics will feel cool against the skin and the loose fit won't cling in the heat.

8 comments:

  1. Thank you for the "hair up" picture. I'm getting frustrated with pattern companies using long-haired models, and you can't see the details.

    There are so many tee shirt patterns out there, it is quite challenging to figure which would be best. This was a nice review of the details.

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    1. O you are welcome! I hate pictures of myself with my hair up and usually just try to make sure it is out of the way in garment photo but this neckline needed showing off!
      I agree, there are so many t-shirt patterns to choose from and it is hard to pick what will suit your body shape and fabric. This is a great one for a relaxed look

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  2. Love the tee, something I have never made and always bought. Will head over to look at girl charlee ...

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    1. Do! There are some great unusual knits
      T-shirts are so satisfying to make once you have figured out your preferred construction method. So speedy!

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  3. Your stripe matching is epic, is the secret cross-pinning???

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    1. Haha thank you! I've had lots of practice now
      I think the secret is in cutting everything in a single layer rather than on the fold so the stripes stay balanced either side and then lots of pins yes! I pin at right angles to the raw edge on every or every other stripe

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  4. I love the fabric! this looks like such a great simple top.

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    1. Thanks very much! I've been getting lots of wear out of it

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I love hearing from readers of my blog so please feel free to leave a comment letting me know what you thought about this post/make! Any hints or tips to improve my sewing are always much appreciated too!