Sewing With Knits: Round One! The Briar Tee.

March 14, 2013

This post’s original title was going to be something along the lines of “I Fought the Knits and the Knits Won.” But after wearing this tee around multiple times in the last week or so since I sewed it up (and washing it! it has survived several washes very nicely too might I add. hooray!), I decided that that actually wasn’t really the case. You may remember that one of my big Sewing Goals for 2013 was to learn to sew knits. So I’m now introducing… my first “Me-Made” knit tee. Hooray! I’ve been wearing this tee around with jeans mostly, but we had a random snowstorm last weekend, and this outfit was perfect for a chilly, snowy day. Sometimes I think that tights and boots are actually warmer than jeans when it’s so cold out!

After finishing this I originally thought that (due to my super newbie sewing-with-knits skills) it might be a bit “home-sewn looking” for everyday wear and I was ready to relegate it to being a new (super soft and luxurious) top drawer pajama tee, but after Mr. Sweet saw me wearing it around (not knowing that I’d recently sewn it up) and asked “Hey, when did you buy that? That’s a new shirt, isn’t it?” I thought hey, maybe it wasn’t that bad after all. Sure, the neckline is a teeny bit bunchy in two spots, and the hem is a little bit wavy even after ironing and washing (will definitely try using some fusible web and/or a walking foot on my machine for this part next time), but overall, I think that it looks pretty darn good and not too shabby for my first time really working with knits. Not to mention it’s so soft and comfy! Seriously – I think that I want to sew everything in this jersey now! Can we talk about this fabric some more? It’s one of the rayon/lycra blends from Emma One Sock. OHMYGOODNESS. Best. T-Shirt Fabric. EVER. Seriously. This fabric is SOOOOO silky soft… I didn’t find it to be sheer at all (can’t speak for the light colors, however), it wasn’t too warm or too cold or sweat-inducing or clingy, and I would describe it as being just a little bit drapey – which I think works well with this particular style, don’t you think? The jersey is a bit pricey… I think that I lucked out for this color and happened to grab one of the special reduced roll ends, but I know that this shirt will get a TON of wear, so it was totally worth it. And I, um, may have picked up a couple more colors since then… Anyway, it looks like the high-low tee trend is still very “in” this season – in fact, Anthropologie seems to have quite a few similar ones in their current catalogue, and for mucho more dinero to boot (similar tees online herehere, and here). Back to sewing stuff! So after checking out the measurements and finished garment length listed on the back of the pattern (and um, holding the pattern up on my body to get an idea of the approximate length of the shirt), I sewed up a straight size small and managed to squeeze all of the pattern pieces for the full length version with half sleeve modification onto one yard of 60″ jersey. I really expected to have to do my usual long torso modification to the pattern and add a few extra inches to the length of the shirt, but this time I didn’t need to. That never happens! Cut and fit straight from the pattern? What?! I think this is the start of a beautiful friendship… hello Tried and True tee! I actually used my sewing machine for the entire construction of this tee. I really wanted to use my serger, but I only had one spool of matching thread… which was for my sewing machine, so I just went with that and used a zigzag stitch for the inside construction. The seams still look pretty nice! They’ve kind of curled even more with the wash since then. Here are a few construction pics. Pardon the little pills on the close-up shot of the sleeve… this shirt’s been getting a ton of love! Sleeve Stitching/Finishing: Inside Seams (w/ZigZag Stitch): Collar Binding, Pocket, and Sleeve: Here’s a super quick pic of how I styled it with jeans for another outfit. I think that I was adjusting my shoe when the camera went off… whoops! But you get the idea. It’s a great basic tee. Overall, I thought this pattern was awesome! Not just because it was my first me-sewn knit tee, but because it 1.) Stitched up rather quickly (only took me a few hours from start to finish), 2.) The instructions were great (plus even more photo instructions if needed on her site), and 3.) Very well drafted and followed the measurements on the back of the pattern. I’ll admit that I was really intimidated to sew with knits… and especially intimidated to sew a t-shirt! If you are feeling the same way about sewing with knits (and especially if you are sewing up the Briar Tee Pattern), then I highly recommend checking out Megan Nielsen’s blog, especially the posts on sewing on neck bands and binding (I used her binding method on this tee as I liked the look of the finished result the best out of all the choices – it’s a very neat finish), and her post on hemming. Her Briar Sewalong just finished, but you can check out all of her Sewalong posts right here anytime you need them. Her pictures and descriptions are really clear and it’s a great resource!

Check back for a super fun Giveaway on Saturday!  You don’t want to miss it!