I remember watching episode of Highway to Heaven when I was about 6 years old, and a woman walked into a bakery after a hard day, and said “I’ll take two of everything on the top row”. For 30 odd years, I’ve been waiting to say the same (but maybe at the sushi place, not a bakery).
The time has come…
Meet NewLook 6217. It’s a wardrobe builder pattern with a kimono, easy tee, skirt and pants. And I love it. I have now made the tee five times, that’s how much I love it. I’ve got my construction method nailed, and can pump one out in about an hour, from cutting out to final stitch.
The first one I made was this black knit one, bashed out from a piece of fabric I opped in Yamba at Christmas. It has this lovely print that looks a bit like azaleas. Because it’s knit, I cut the back on the fold, omitting the centre back seam and button closure. I never actually finished the hem, so this one is for wearing tucked in.
Because I was so happy with v1.0, I cracked out the good stuff for v2.0, a soft and sweet Cloud 9 organic voile. I went the full monty and included the centre back seam, adding a cute silk covered button. It’s purely decorative though, because my fat head goes through the neck hole no worries. I did French seams on the shoulders and sides, just for a nicer finish with this light fabric. Unfortunately, the effects of all those lovely seams is a snug fit (exacerbated by the sushi lunch I’d just had. Or maybe it was the gelato chaser…)
V3.0 was more opped fabric, this time a white poly with black spots. This fabric has a direct line to the devil – shocking to iron, feels awful wet, and the black spots are already fading. But… it’s a dream to wear and has a lovely drape, so I guess it’s forgiven. It’s on this one that I finally figured out my preferred construction method, which I’ll show while making v5.0.
V4.0 is a rayon from Spotty. As soon as I nailed my construction method, I stuffed up, which is why it has a red binding ‘trim’ on the hem. I’m calling it a design feature. Also lovely to wear.
Right, so let’s get to the nitty gritty of my preferred construction method, which is the fast and easy way. If you want the suggested method, you’ll need to read the pattern because I can’t be assed writing that as well 😉
Ok, firstly, I’m omitting the centre back seam. You don’t need it, and it saves at least two rows of stitching. Unless you’re using a directional print on a narrow Japanese lawn, and have to do some dodgy piecing and pattern matching to not waste acres of fabric. That’s a story for another time…
Once you’ve cut out your front and back (only two pattern pieces for the win!), hem them with bias binding. Because the hem is curved, it’s waaaaaay easier to do this now, not later. The pattern suggest narrow hems, which suck. It’s also a good idea to stay stitch your neck lines at this point too.
Next, sew your shoulder seam using your preferred method. I’ve gone with French seams, just to be fussy. It’s a nice finish if you don’t have an overlocker/serger. Now, apply binding to your sleeve hems. Yes, I know they’re flat, just go with me.
While the whole top is still flat and easy to wrangle, apply your neck binding as well. There are plenty of tutorials around explaining how to get binding to sit flat, but I find avoiding crappy bias binding in shops gives the best finish. Both vintage binding and DIY binding do a much better job.
Now you can sew your side seams, again using your preferred method. French seams can get a bit bulky under the arms, but if you’re using a lightweight fabric, you can get away with it. I’ve finished mine with the overlocker. For a nice finishing touch, stitch the side seams down at the hem.
Et voila! You’re done!
This shirt has doesn’t have any bust shaping, so you may need to do an FBA. I’m a D cup, and don’t have any issues, but like anything, make a toile first before you cut into the good stuff.
Do you have a TNT (tried and true) patter that you just keep coming back to? Please tell me all about it.