Wednesday, April 15, 2015

No Pattern, No Problem: The making of a T-shirt

I have a frightful confession. I don't sew with knits. Oh I do hope you didn't bump your noggin when you fainted from the shock of it. Now that you've recovered I can tell you that I can happily revise that confession to: For years I did not sew with knits. 

It was not always so. When I was a teen I sewed knits with impunity, I had no fear and I couldn't for the life of me understand why people were hesitant to sew with knit fabrics. Ok, I do admit a slight aversion to pure polyester knits, but that's a story for another day.

Somewhere along the way I stopped sewing with knits, and with this lack of knit sewing I too began to have doubts, fears even. Silly me.

On the practical side, one of my excuses was that good quality knit fabrics are expensive. Well, the other day I was taking a long overdue peruse through my local thrift shop, and though I did not find the perfect v neck sweater I was searching for, I did find a few very large men's T-shirts in white. The perfect lead in to playing around with knits without breaking the bank while at the same time upcycling some formerly unloved clothing.

I didn't have a pattern so I made one. This is true of some knits, they can be forgiving of the hastily self drafted pattern. I created a Dolman sleeve t-shirt, one of the easiest things to sew, really! I then went about making a couple with various sleeve lengths. In the photos above I used some gorgeous knit that my friend Nancy sent me ages ago and added the contrasting bands from another shirt that happened to be the perfect shade of green.

This one was made using one of the white thrift store t-shirts, dyed black and stenciled with a horse of course.

There are some tricky things about sewing with knits, but honestly it's just like anything else... it takes practice and there is no reason to fear sewing with knits. Not that you're afraid, of course not, you are very brave and have no idea what I'm talking about. It was probably just me. Silly me.

I also whipped up a pair of yoga pants made from t-shirts that suffered from an unfortunate dye job. (Note to self: Order some good quality fiber reactive dyes!)

Well, I'm so glad I now sew with knits. 

Oh! And coming up on Friday I will be posting a quick tutorial on how to make a Dolman Sleeve T-Shirt of your very own! Hooray!


Anonymous said...

Well I love them and think you are very brave and clever.

sustainablemum said...

I keep coming across fabric called knits and I have no idea what it is, perhaps it is time I looked it up......

Frances said...

Long ago, I used to sew about all my clothes, but have become lazy over the decades, and have gained, via my employer, access to more virtually free clothes than I can ever wear.

And still. I do like to think about sewing, and still do some hand sewing and embroidery, alongside of my knitting and crocheting. Seeing this post of yours (and the beautiful embroidery in the prior post) has got me thinking about doing some sewing.

I don't think I have ever sewn using knit fabrics, but definitely have a respectful feeling for the challenge.

Bravo to you for your recycling. Bravo to your model, too.