Thursday, October 11, 2012

Write Myself a Letter T-Shirt

 Three goals for this project:

  1. Make a start on my resolution to add at least five new simple t-shirts to my fall wardrobe.
  2. Use fabric on hand.
  3. Convince myself that I do not need to purchase an embroidery machine to add graphic interest to sportswear.

Pattern = Ottobre Woman T-Shirt pack (available from Banberry Place).

Sizing and alterations = Size 38 on top, 40 on bottom. Shortened sleeves 1 1/2" and added a small cuff. Lengthened the neckband slightly (I've noticed before, it's too short on this pattern). The shoulders are a bit wide and more room is needed at the bust, which I will address in future versions.

Fabric = wonderful wool jersey purchased two years ago from It didn't get used for a while as I've come to realize that gray is not my best color, no matter how much I love it. I thought perhaps adding a bit of color in an applique would mitigate the unflatteringness of the gray, and so it does, a bit. The applique is a Kokka print on canvas which I bought at Waechter's Fine Fabrics in Asheville, N.C.

I use Steam A Seam II Lite in the 8 1/2" x 11" sheets for this kind of raw edge applique. Yes, there is still a little distortion, but it's not bad. Past projects using this technique have held up very well through wear and laundering.

After applying the Steam A Seam to the reverse side of the applique fabric, I trim the edges, remove the paper backing and position the embellishment on the unsewn front garment piece. It sticks well enough to then hold the shirt front against myself to check the placement. The applique can be repositioned until I am satisfied. Then I gently press to fuse it in place. 

I have started using a hand embroidery hoop to hold the fabric taut while I zigzag it in place, which is very helpful. Even though my hoop is not tiny, I did have to reposition it halfway through attaching the typewriter. The little heart on the sleeve was small enough to attach all in one go. Lowering my presser foot pressure helped prevent rippling.

The sleeves are finished with a narrow binding strip the same width as the neck binding. I really like this finish, as it stretches and lasts better than a twin needle hem on a sleeve edge, which gets pushed up and down the arm throughout the day. The lower edge of the top is turned up and stitched with a twin needle.

I like this approach, but I'm not sure it's totally cured my embroidery machine longings. Maybe I need to try silk screening!

1 comment:

  1. That applique is so fun! I like the idea of choosing a number of shirts to add to the wardrobe. Winter tops are a huge problem for me every year.