|The Arty T in 10 Steps|
|Original starting point $7 t-shirt.|
I recently taught a 2 day workshop titled The Arty T to the Wearable Art Connection (WAC) in the LA area. This is the t-shirt I made to wear at the workshop. Started as a little short sleeved $7 el-cheepo t-shirt from TJMaxx. The fabric on the t was good, but it was a bit small. Took me a week to work it all out, but I love the final result. I have distilled the steps below---but know that each stage/step was a time consuming design opportunity.
I visited a cool little gallery in Malibu where I saw a $500 'artist' t-shirt done in a similar but different manner. ....and I like mine better!!!
1. slice the curved opening (mark w. chalk, cut with rotary cutter)
2. insert bits and pieces
3. trim away neck band with rotary cuttern
4. sew in new neckband
5. add a bit of silk screening using Spot E O and French Dots silk screens
6. try on---aaargh, too small.
7. add contrast polka dot & stripe strips at the side seams
8. pin together at side seam and try on....it it fits and I love the narrow dotty-stripey little strips at the side!
9 cut and sew new sleeves
10. pin at side seams, fine tune fit, sew side seams
Playing with my pattern design V 8559, loving the cut of the little tank, I experimented with inserting the sleeves from View B onto the tank, and it worked! Super fast and easy too. Next, I tried making the both versions of the drapey little shrug cardigan into a vest. Here are the results in two different fabrications
View B as a vest in our Vanilla Polka dot burnout knit, over the t-shirt in our ivory rayon/lycra Italian knit. One of those cosmic and glorious mistakes happened when I sewed the t-shirt. In spite of my fitting, and after the tulle edging was sewn in place, the neck was too big, so I made 2 darts in the front and 2 in the neck and added teeny vintage buttons---the frustrating mistake improved the design. Both top and vest are edged in our cotton tulle.
The fabric is a semi-sheer poly/lycra stripe (sorry, we are sold out), so I cut the body of the t-shirt double, putting the hem on a fold. It is easier than it might seem, and this fabric is smooth, so it hangs beautifully. The little vest is View A without sleeves, and is edged in the selvedge which has a sweet little roll to it.
|Vogue 8582 |
Sure to be your new favorite t-shirt. It is a bit of a stretch to call this a t-shirt, but that is what it really IS. The asymmetrical shape (side drape on one side, slit on the other), is super flattering, and it can replace and upgrade any turtle neck in your closet or translate into a fun little summer top or a fun version of a basic t-shirt with a twist.
2 lengths---tho in our studio we are already visioning it lengthened & tweaked for a little summer dress.
2 necklines: a super flattering and super easy twisted cowl and Marcy's signature twisted binding.
I used knits from our collection, a cotton knit polka dot for the sleeveless version (trimmed with a poly/lycra knit stripe). The red and slate grey versions are rayon/lycra jersey, also from our collection.
Follow the step-by-step instructions to easily insert circles in knit fabrics. It works with wovens too, but knits are easier and more forgiving. I discovered this playing around and it is a fun way to add a bit of interest to almost any knit. I insert the circles after the garment is cut out.
|....follow these simple steps:|
Draw a circle on the wrong side of the fabric.
Stitch around the circle 1/4" from edge and clip.
Press, forming circle, using stitching as a guide.
Mask off the seam allowance and design table, and spray the seam allowance with 505 Spray or other spray adhesive.
Remove protective paper mask---here you can see the spray on the seam allowance.
Place an insert over the hole, smoothing so the adhesive sticks. Here, I have used a scrap of the same fabric. The line indicates the grain---though you can use off grain with stable knits. Always make a practice sample.
Underside showing the seam allowance. Stitch with this side up, using the original stitching as a guide.
|I changed the line of the seaming on the front pattern piece, keeping the original neckline size and shape. I added the cuffs (intentionally NOT the same size), during sewing. The front seam is sewn to to the outside, trimmed to 3/8" and topstitched down the center of the seam with a long wide zig-zag. I used a commercial elasticized tulle ruffle at the neck|
One of my personal design strategies is to keep playing with variations on a pattern. Ideas seem to percolate best when I am working/sewing/designing, and while I am making one version, the other is emerging. Wanting something new to wear in the middle of a cold grey January is another source of inspiration. I used Double Weave Dots Cotton Knit
| which is an exceptional fabric. All cotton double weave--2 fine quality light knits woven together, so the resulting fabric is soft and stable. Cream dots on black on one side, pure black on the other. I have never seen a fabric like this---we bought all the supplier had on hand, and it is fabulous. Plus, it washes like a dream, It got a bit more dense and soft after pre-washing and drying.
|Fall Rendition of V8497
Made in our Chestnut rayon-lycra double knit . I raised the neckline all around 1/2", and used a 4" wide self band (folded in half lengthwise and twisted as sewn). Wraparound strips of contrast fabric were positioned before sewing the band and treated as one with it.
|Variations of Vogue 8497:
Round Neck to V-Neck
It is simple to customize the pattern, changing the front neck and edge into a V instead of the curve shown on the pieces. Take the left and right front pattern pieces, line up the front curve lines and make a new one piece front. Then, using the original curve line as a reference, draw in a new shape.
When you go to sew the pattern, stitch the shaped front seam LAST, after you have sewn the back, shoulder seams and neck binding. .....sewing the neck binding with the front edge open makes it very simple to sew.
The photos below show the pattern changes step by step.
Make a paper copy of the two front pattern pieces, marking the front stitching lines.
Mark the center front line on each piece
Align the center front and stitching lines on each piece and tape the two pieces together.
Using the original curve as a guide, draw in a new cutting line. Note that the tip of the V neck comes right at the center front line, and that both sides of the V neck are symmetrical. (New cutting line is in green in this example).
Cut the pattern on the new line and add seam allowances.
|Link to Vogue 8497|
|INSIDE the T-ShirtWhile I love the feel of cotton/lycra jersey, it can tend to curl and stretch. Here is how I solved that problem on the t-shirt above. The back and forth 'cardiac' stitch tended to stretch the fabric, so I used a stabilizer (Totally Stable) on the inside of the garment as I stitched, then carefully picked it out. This shows what it looked like before removing the stabilizer|
|Inside the T-ShirtOn this T, I used a lightweight fusible tricot to stabilize the area behind the topstitching. This shows the inside of the garment.|
|Silk Screening the T-Shirt
While I was sewing this t-shirt, I had the (20-20 hindsight) brilliant idea to add some surface design. The Olive Stone Grey color just seemed too dark for summer. I usually add silk screening to the cut out pattern pieces, but here, I did dye discharge, then silk screened paint, then added a bit of metallic foil. It is done in stage. I used only one screen, the large version of Spot-E-O one of my all-time favorite silk screens.
|A padded board is one of the secrets to silk screening. This is just a piece of foam core wrapped in layer of craft felt. The surface adds a bit of give that makes a better image than a hard surface.|
Yes, it is a BIT tricky to get the screen positioned on a garment that is partially sewn. I work on just a section at a time, making sure the area to be screened is flat. (I also made some test 'strikes' on scraps to get a feel for it).
|This shows the silk screening: the pale dots are the dye discharge (which removes color from fabric), the black and antique gold are paint. The metallic foil would be added last....just a scattering of bling.|
|Renditions of Marcy's T-Shirt-Vogue 8497
At the recent Sewing Expo in Puyallup, I co-conducted a fashion show with Sandra Betzina. The following T-Shirts were designed and made by my sister Nandini and myself to pull different outfits together. We changed the front shape by taping the front pattern pieces together, making a new front pattern, and cutting it in the new shapes, then adding a seam allowance to the new seams.
|Ivory cotton-lycra knit zig-zag T|
|Neck detail uses a single layer as binding with a snippet of hook and eye tape as a design detail. The binding is simply zig-zagged to the raw neck edge. |
|link to ivory cotton-lycra knit|
|T-Shirt uses our cotton-lycra in mediterranean coral.|
|Link to Riffle & Circle Game Silk Screens|
|This version uses our cotton-lycra knit in French lavender, using the original pattern curved front seam. I inserted a strip of lightweight tulle into the seam. To prevent the seam from stretching while doing the back and forth stitching, I used Sulky Totally Stable. After stitching, I trimmed the stabilizer, pressed, then trimmed the tulle in a raggety edge with my small sharp Kai scissors (I love these!).|
|Neck detail with tulle trim|
|Super simple twist. Double layers of sheer designed to be worn with a camisole beneath. The pattern front and back are cut in one piece, but the hem is cut on a fold. |
|Selvedge used as a neck binding.....fast and easy!!|
|Yin-Yang TThree T-Shirts all use the same basic block. The basic pattern design is super-simple with a flattering all in one sleeve. The details make the difference. This version uses my cotton-lycra knits in black and stone grey, and is embellished with the Riffle and Circle Game silk screens.
Special for BOTH Riffle and Circle Game
Zig-Zag T-ShirtI wanted to make a 'non-dorky' short sleeved t-shirt with a flattering shape and interesting and fun detailing. The two versions pictured here use the raw edges of the cotton-lycra knit. Pictured here is the Paprika color, a 'perfect' orange!
I used raw edges to bind the necks on both t-shirts, raw edges on the lapped zig-zag seams. Stitching on the black shirt is uses both zig-zag and straight stitching with Sulky rayon varigated thread.