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I am a mother, a new grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My first book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge will be published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon


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Saturday, October 12, 2013

T shirts : warning strange picture alert

Over the past week or so I have been making some experimental knit shirts. 

I needed some fast sewing due to the speed of life lately, and I was in the mood to fool around a bit with some patterns I had kicking around.

Worst case scenario I figured I would have something to walk the dog in. That's where I park my wadders.

I have a fairly large dog-walking wardrobe.

I also wanted to try out some new shapes, mainly the wider body dropped shoulder styles that have been sneaking back, to see if I liked them any better than in the last iteration twenty years ago.

So here we go.

My first try was this Stylearc top, which was my first ever colour blocking attempt, owing to the general policy of trying to be on trend when that trend was about to die.  

I am also still involved in my anti-black attitude and part of my motivation was to use less of the scary black print of haunted houses (yes you read that right) that I must have bought in New York at Elliot Berman when I must have been delusional and thought I was edgy when in fact I am live in the small suburb of a small city in a small, northern province where people wear Christmas sweaters at Christmas. Without any irony at all.

Here is the pattern I used:

I made the long sleeved version (see location above).

The shape kind of threw me because it is a current shape, that I have confirmed at Target and other high end stores is IN right now, meaning the body is boxy but the sleeves are themselves skinny as opposed to boxy. This is worth noting as this is a change from the last time boxy T shirts with dropped shoulders were in. In those days your dropped shoulders dropped into wide sleeves. Some men still wear T shirts like that and so do some women who wear their husband's T shirts.

I have seen this with my own eyes. Both cases.

To distance myself from the horror of having once paid more than my mind will let me remember for fabric with haunted houses on it, purchased without irony (see location above) I inserted in some turquoise knit that I have decided is more cheerful than black ( see current phobia above).

This is what that whole experiment looks like.

Excellent for dog-walking:

The first shot is to show you how wisely I have coordinated my bra strap to my skin and the second is to show you, but doesn't, that it is one of those longer at the back tops. A style that doesn't quite grab me since it reminds me of toddlers you are trying to catch and get dressed who run around with the tail of their onsie hanging down. I look I am not quite ready to emulate.

See what I mean about the drop shoulder transitioning into skinny sleeves with the underarm wrinkles that naturally gives?

( I also want to point out that I do not have a giant head and a tiny body - the opposite in fact - but it appears my husband had that lens on the camera for this photo shoot. It gets even better, keep reading).

Structurally the one interesting construction feature of this pattern is a tiny in-seam pocket in the seam between the two parts. This takes about the same amount of time to construct as 14 T shirts and I would like to point out is not entirely useful as it is only big enough for about one bus ticket, which you can hold in your hand anyway. If you really need a chest pocket, say for a packet of smokes, something I don't need, you might want to soldier on but you really should make the pocket bigger.

If I make this again I am going to leave the pocket out.

Moving along, and now to Vogue 8597

I made this top:

I used what turned out to be a fairly emotional fine rayon knit and I can see now that I need to go back in and redo something with the hem, the coverstitch seems to have tunnelled. 

The camera never lies and I often wished it did:

Again you will note the skinny arm thing going on and that lens is still on the camera and I seem to be standing on a deck at high seas.

At least my glasses match.

And on again to my third project of a busy week. No pattern shot because this is an out-of-print so long gone I can't even find it on the site. Vogue again. And cotton lycra and longer to go over leggings which I find is a good outfit to wear on home days when you are doing the laundry or out dog walking.

Here we go on vertical shot and one when the waves were really bad, but shows the purple colour more accurately:

Now off to dry land and off to walk the dog.


badmomgoodmom said...

I just sewed something for the Goodwill (charity) shop with skinny sleeves, too. I understand how a high armhole and narrow sleeves makes a torso look slimmer. But don't most people need to move their arms? I am perplexed by the trend.

Karen in VA said...

I love the fabric you used on the Style Arc top; love the top also. Your posts totally crack me up and since I'm incapacitated right now, I need some laughs (I'm a klutz and fell down some steps and sprained my ankle...)

Bunny said...

Love the last purple outfit. I think it looks great on you. Not a dog walker!

freshcityfarm said...

Crying I'm laughing so hard. I read it to my guy....he usually looks at me like "ya, and what was the funny part?" but he got it this time! More tears...

Alexandra V. said...

I like all of them.

I liked long-short hems too but now I can't shake the escapee-toddler-onesie image.

Pattyskypants said...

The last item is quite nice! Seems to fit you well and is flattering! I am not able to identify without doubt the seaming in the front . . . does it have a panel up the center and pockets therein? Must be a 60's pattern.

Debbie Cook said...

I don't think any of these are dog-walkers. And whatever you've been doing, keep it up ... you look 10 years younger in these pics. See, not such a bad lens after all. :-)

BeaJay said...

Really like all your items and in particular LOVE the stylearc. The fabric really suits the style. Lovely

Angela said...

Actually I think you look fine in all of these, even the haunted house fabric. And I love that purple! I sympathize with the husband/photographer thing. Mine keeps angling the camera so that I'm either very foreshortened or my middle -- which is not slim anyway -- is doubly magnified. He is really slowing down my blog posts:)

Carolyn (cmarie12) said...

Mmmmm, I do like the pink one.

Anonymous said...

You are the BEST (standup) makes me laugh out loud to read! and your sewing skills/selections are top notch! thanks for sharing!

elena & fabiana said...

I really like the way you write.....irony is higly appreciate these days !!
Bye bye

Shelly said...

Love your fabric choices for the Style Arc top. I'm not a fan of the drop shoulder either. I wasn't the first time around and even less this time. I find them quite uncomfortable to wear with the skinny sleeve. Do you?

Anonymous said...

I don't think any of them are really that bad - I even like the haunted house one. But I know what you mean when you make something that doesn't feel right. Awesomely funny post. A great thanksgiving treat. Thanks.

a little sewing said...

I really like your tops! I must say, I struggled with the Style Arc Olive top, too. It isn't as comfortable as I would like, I won't make it again (yes the pocket is dumb!)

RebeccaHoward said...

As I read this I am on a bus taking 350 school kids to a school camp. They are wondering why Mrs H is sitting in the front seat laughing hysterically:)

Diana said...

Great minda think alike. I made three tops this week too. I love yours especially the last one.

Lessles said...

I laughed and laughed, you are a breath of fresh air Barbara. I happen to lurve the skinny arm tops myself. We have just come out of winter downunder and I spent the entire season in a navy cashmere bought at enormous expense in Denmark - you know, the place in the Nth hemisphere? Well I think the trick is that the body must be boxy and there tends to be a fold at the shoulder line that occurs quite naturally. This gives one the space to actually move. The boxy cut looks great with slim fitting bottom halves. So if I may make a suggestion, keep the body shape wide at the bottom of the armscye and try a solid cos' I think the horizontal seamline is messing with the style. Whatever you do, pls keep entertaining! We need the laughs when dealing with our own wadders!!

Quincunx said...

That haunted house fabric must have leaped into your cart by itself. It's marvelous and alive. It just doesn't play well with others.

The wrinkles are the price of the narrow arm but I don't mind them. The narrow cut of the pink top flatters you. The color's just perfect.