Sewing Wardrobe Staples

This is an interesting one. Before I started sewing I was unsure whether I’d want to sew everything in a wardrobe, including super basic items like simple t-shirts for both Trev and myself. I’ve made a Renfrew, but I wouldn’t class that as a simple wardrobe staple. It’s a bit more involved and more than a basic t-shirt.

Despite being unsure whether I want to do it regularly, I wanted to have a go at doing one – we’d recently bought Kwik Sew 3878 for Trev, which is a great basic t-shirt pattern (the one in the middle):

We had even been prepared and bought Trev some nice basic knit fabric – some of what’s in the below pile, including the grey is for him:

So on Sunday I decided to give it a go. I traced out a medium for him, although he’s losing weight, his measurements aren’t quite back to being an M around his waist, but it’s a stretchy fabric and I thought zero/a little negative ease wouldn’t hurt. Plus the plan for this tee was for it to a) be a test and b) if successful, to be worn as a simple PJ top or underneath shirts etc as a layering piece.

Cutting this fabric was an experience! I’ve only worked with knit fabric once before, on my Renfrew and it was a thick, stable, double knit. This was not fun. Stretched, slipped, slid… Not good. I managed to cut my back piece shorter than the front and also cut the neckband too short as a result.

I definitely see a rotary cutter in the very near future.

You use a zigzag to sew pretty much the entire shirt – medium length but narrow width for the seams and then a medium length and wide width for finishing edges. Generally I managed this, but there were a couple of occasions I forgot and sewed seams with a wide stitch.

Laid out on a table it doesn’t look too bad. The shortness of the neckband can be seen here in how the body fabric puckers a little, but it looks fine when on a body or hanger. I was also able to tidy up the different lengths on front and back, although it was very hard to get right as it varied massively depending on how the fabric was positioned. I gave up in the end šŸ™‚

On a hanger it looks waaaay better as it sits and falls properly. I don’t think it looks bad at all!

And finally on its intended person. Not too bad really! Trev used the words “comfy” and “cosy” to describe it – so I think it will make a great PJ top for him. I forgot that this pattern only has a 1/4 inch seam allowance and I cut deeper than that when snipping my notches. This means there’s a couple of teeny holes in some places and it did make sewing some of the seams tricky. It probably compromises the integrity of the garment so it’s good that it won’t be worn out of the house.

I think I’ve got enough fabric left within the 2m of fabric that we bought to potentially squeeze another short sleeved t-shirt out of it. I’ll have to position the pattern pieces and see. I could try and do the v-neck of View B next time too.

While I’ll definitely make another for Trev to use up the fabric, I’m still undecided on how many items like this I will make. It wasn’t quick, as you have to sew the seam and then finish all of the seam allowances, but I guess getting an overlocker would help make the sewing process a lot quicker. The other awful bit was the cutting, but a mat and rotary cutter should help that too. So it’s hard to know. Is it worth the effort for items you can pick up for a few pounds in the shops? With a cutter/mat and overlocker I could probably whip one of these up in about an hour, in which case I would say that it is worth it.

What are your thoughts?

With that, I’m off to browse overlockers šŸ™‚



3 thoughts on “Sewing Wardrobe Staples

  1. You don’t need to finish the edges!
    Just zig zag, narrowish for the seams with a shorter than you expect stitch length, remember the stress point is every OTHER stitch when you stretch the seam as it’s worn across-wise, not up and down.
    Cut close-ish to the edges and you’re done. It won’t ravel like a woven. Even the neck will be fine. MUCH quicker too!

  2. I have a rotary cutter and for stretch material like that you need one! Have a look online as they tend to be cheaper than ones you can buy in the shops. I love the idea of making my boyfriend a T-Shirt. I made my first dress the other day and that has convinced me to do some more experiments in sewing. Well done with your sewing!

    1. Oooh when do we get to see the finished dress? Not to mention the pants! I’m so excited to see the pants šŸ™‚

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