Friday, August 1, 2008

Back in Black

It's kind of funny. After that last, extremely bright and cheerful refashion, I turn to solid black. Maybe it was sensory overload, I don't know. In any event, all that patching got me thinking I could do anything, so it seemed like a good time to dip my toe into the pool of knits again.

Truth be told, I don't have a huge desire to sew on knits. The fabrics I find are all either ugly or too expensive. When I can buy a tee at the store (or thrift store as the case may be while I'm signed up for Wardrobe Refashion) for a couple of bucks, why bother? Well, it's the principle of the thing I guess.

So I had an XL Fruit of the Loom tee in my refashion basket, and I had Simplicity 4076. In case you've missed it, Simplicity 4076 is a much-loved, much-lauded pattern on Pattern Review. There are a few styles to choose from. I picked the short sleeve, scoop neck tee with gathers. Okay, I can do this!

To begin, I sliced off the shirt's sleeves and cut along the side seams to open it up. The pattern pieces all fit fine, except somewhere along the line, I had cut a few inches from the bottom of the XL. Without that strip of fabric, I couldn't lengthen the shirt, and I really had nowhere to cut the neck band. Boo! That's fine, I pieced together a few strips from what I had leftover and managed to cut a passable band from that. The length had to stay as it was.

Now my real fear entered in. I don't have a serger. My mom always tells me to sew with a small zig zag, but what the heck does that mean? The pattern directions seem to say you'd be a fool to sew knits with anything but a serger. Humpf. I'll show them.

Between my mom's advice, the pattern's advice, and the advice of someone on Pattern Review, I decide on the appropriate settings for my zig zag and start sewing. Hey, it's not so bad! The neck band, which I feared would be the hardest part, actually went very smoothly and looks good! Woohoo! I even broke out another stitch on my machine and used that for the hems.

All in all, it was a pretty positive experience. However, I am unable to sew a garment without making stupid mistakes, and this was no different. Let's see...first I put the hem in the sleeve before I'd sewn the bottom seam. Then I sewed the sleeve onto the shirt inside out. Finally, I managed to snip a hole in the back of the shirt when I was trimming something. Hey, for me that's pretty minor!

I do wish I could have lengthened it. That's the number one complaint I've read about the pattern. The other is that the directions tell you to baste the pattern onto the fabric when you do the gathering. Uh, yeah right. We're not going to fall for that! But I think it came out okay for an experiment, and I'll be sure to try this again.


Becca said...

very cute, I love shirts that are gathered at the neck like that. one solution to the length problem could be to add some stretchy lace at the bottom or some other trim.

MJ said...

great job! I have been meaning to refashion one of my shirts into something very similar to this one! I was planning on just winging it, mimicking yet another shirt I have as a pattern, but I think I'll check out that link...maybe I'll actually use a real pattern for once!

Antoinette said...

I am avoiding knits like the plague because of some recent scarring experiences. You, however, have created a great little top, and will have much success with your knits! You could always try wearing this with a high-waisted skirt as they are in style now...?

Becky said...

It looks like a really great basic top. And knits always kind of scared me, too, though I did have better luck with the zig-zag stitch. And my machine also has this "walking foot" thing that has feed dogs attached to it, so that helped too. Of course, I do have a serger now and love it. As for the length, do you have any more black knit things in the refashion pile? You could always add a band to the bottom or something, like that waistband at the bottom of shirts look that's so popular now. (Or thrift a black knit something and do the same.

Raiye said...

Personally, I love this length on you. I think it rests at just the right "What Not To Wear" place.

Beautiful job, as always.

Paula said...

That looks really nice!

Darling Petunia said...

Thanks for the nice comments!

Anyone who has shirts to redo, try this really did work out well.

The length thing, well, what I did was add the bottom of a different shirt to the bottom to create a layered look. I'm just not sure it's done yet. Still thinking. Seems like it would be a good opportunity to try the reverse applique thing, but with the gathers? Not sure about that. Hmm.

Anonymous said...

this is fab. when i saw your post on the refashion blog i rushed out to buy the same pattern. was a little scary but your blog gave me the courage to give knits a shot.
thanks. (i thought it was quite short too- but added an extra 10 cms to the bottom so as to protect the kidneys.)