Why hello there, readers! The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of house activity, without a lot of sewing. I'm currently painting my kitchen! The walls are done (I chose SW Agreeable Gray, the same color I picked for our living room), and next I have to tackle painting the cabinets (in Behr Swiss Coffee). It is so. much. work.
But all of this is for a good (and a little bit scary) cause: We are considering listing our house for sale this spring or summer!! Cue total panic attack, right? I have never sold a house before and the idea is daunting, to say the least. There are just so many moving parts. Not to mention the fact that until recently, I believed that we were, if not "underwater," definitely not in a position to sell. But the market is quickly changing! So the idea of selling has required a complete mental turnaround from last year, when I focused on the idea of staying in our house indefinitely and making the best of its quirks and issues.
(Imagine loud clunking and grinding sounds coming from my brain while I tried to process this change in situation. I'm not as nimble as I used to be!)
This is a positive development! But there is a lot to think about and plan for and it's mentally taxing.
Okay, so I know that last week was KCW, and I so enjoyed seeing what all my bloggy friends were sewing. I was too busy with work and painting and other things to keep up with a regular sewing routine last week, but y'all totally inspired me, and yesterday I decided I had painted enough and sat down at my sewing machine for the first time in several weeks.
One of my sewing goals for 2015 is to buy less patterns and use the patterns I have. One great source of patterns at my disposal is my Ottobre subscription. I've had this subscription for over a year, but I am ashamed to admit, I never sew from my Ottobres. Time to change that! There are so many hip, cute, fashionable, and current styles in Ottobre, and for a wide size range. As much as I love indie patterns and want to support all of the great indie pattern-makers, the cost does add up. Ottobre has many of the latest shapes and styles, albeit without the excellent instructions that smaller pattern-makers provide, and whereas indie patterns are indisputably biased towards girls, the selection of boy's patterns in Ottobre is really excellent. Each issue could be used to sew an entire wardrobe for your children, no kidding.
When I got the January issue of Ottobre, I happened to be sitting next to Joe as I perused it, and I asked him if he liked any of the clothes. When I opened this page, with the pieced triangle shirt, Joe sat up in his seat. "I would love that shirt, mama." Well, okay! It is pretty darn cool. I can work with that.
Upon further conversation, it was clear that Joe wanted exactly this shirt (Ottobre 1/2015 #13), with the same colors and everything (unfortunately for me, he did not want the pants, which I thought were totally cute; he is still anti-pants). So I looked around the nets and found some Riley Blake black striped cotton knit and some Kaufman Laguna knit in black and orange. I already had some white knit in the stash. When the striped fabric arrived in the mail, I realized the stripes
are wider than what's pictured in the Ottobre magazine, but it was close enough.
And here it is! Exactly (or almost exactly) like the picture!
In its basic form (which can be seen on this page of the magazine), this is a really simple t-shirt pattern with a dropped shoulder. I measured Joe to figure out his size and decided he's a 110 cm with a 116 cm length, which makes sense because Joe has a really long torso. It's clear that this shirt is intended to be roomy and relaxed; unlike my TNT t-shirt pattern the Flashback Skinny Tee. Since Joe is so sensitive about clothing these days, this is probably a good thing (although he happily wears his Flashback Tees too). It would also make a great sweatshirt in a heavier fabric.
That said, this version turned out pretty big! Next time I would do a size 110 cm and possibly not add any seam allowance. As it is, he has some room to grow into this shirt. The sleeves were so long I decided not to bother with the black cuffs and just hemmed them.
The (only) tricky part of the pattern is the "log triangle" effect (like a log cabin, but triangular, get it?) of the front, which of course was Joe's favorite part! The pattern provides lines for cutting up the front into six pieces with grain lines, creating a cool diagonal effect with the stripes. I thought this might be difficult but it went really well with the serger, and any waviness created by differential stretchiness was easy to press out. I tried to line up the stripes cleanly along that diagonal line and match the stripes on the arms and sides: it's not perfect but it looks pretty good. Stripe matching is not my forte, but knits do make it easier. Even if your cutting is a little off, you can just stretch those bad boys till they match!
Joe had eaten a blue popsicle before this photo shoot, and was very proud of his blue tongue as you can see.
My only problem with this project arose from "user error": I tried to do a bound neckline like the pattern calls for, but it just looked awful and wavy, even though I used my walking foot. I started trying to rip out the seam, but tiny black stitches on black fabric - ugh!! So I just cut the neckline off and started over, using a wider piece of black knit, and attaching it like a ribbed neckline. That worked out a bit better, although the neckline is definitely wider than in the shirt I was copying.
I need to figure out how to do a nice looking bound neckline in knits. I'm learning that while knits are easier than wovens in many ways (stripe matching!), there are certain skills that really require a TON of practice and the right tools. Necklines are one of those.
Joe seemed pretty pleased with his new t-shirt, at least in concept. But after wearing it for a few minutes, he complained that the seam allowances on the triangle piecing inside were "itchy." That's the bummer about the pieced front - there are a lot more seams on the inside of the shirt. The pattern called for topstitching them, but I didn't want zig-zag or double needle topstitching distracting from the fun lines of the shirt, and topstitching might make those seam allowances even stiffer and scratchier. I am hoping the shirt will soften with a good wash, but I am also thinking I might be able to tack another piece of jersey over that section of the shirt on the inside (probably by hand) if that doesn't work. Worst case, he could wear this over other t-shirts. He frequently layers t-shirts in the wintertime anyway, so that's not the end of the world.
My sensitive, some might say "demanding" boy! It's a good thing he's so cute.