Daily Archives: November 16, 2012

when the answer to “Why?” is, “Because.”

So why haven’t I sewn that new top I desperately need? Because I’ve been sewing something needed even more desperately by someone else, namely a long-sleeved T-shirt for Nonno. It’s too complicated to explain why he needed it so urgently, but I’m sure you’ll appreciate that, as we’re coming into summer here, thermal undies are more than a touch difficult to track down in the shops; Nonno needing something to keep him warm presented a dilemma that shopping couldn’t truly resolve. This is not thermal but it’s a step in the right direction. It’s long-sleeved and it’s made from a cosy knit fabric.

Although not sewn according to instructions, the neckband is tidy enough

Why is it blue? Because that was the colour of the fabric I already had in my stash. Why is the fabric so wrinkled? Because it had been laundered and folded less carefully than it should have been and then carted around the countryside a few times. Why didn’t I wash it again to get rid of the wrinkles? Because that would have required more time than I had available to me. Why didn’t I pop it through the tumble dryer for a while? Because that probably would have shrunk it. As a last resort, why didn’t I iron it? Ah, well, as a matter of fact I did iron it, so there’s one question I can’t answer with a because. However, I can tell you that because I ironed it, it’s not nearly as wrinkled as it might have been (or, indeed, was prior to being ironed)!

I didn’t have a pattern for a long-sleeved T-shirt with raglan sleeves, so I had to nut out what additional taper might give me the required result (loose sleeve, no cuffs) using a basic short-sleeved T-shirt pattern (one I’d used to make a sports day top for YoungB some years ago). I sort of followed the construction instructions on the pattern and I sort of didn’t. I sewed in the sleeves, which the pattern called for. Then it wanted me to put the neckband on, but I really like to do that last.

I sewed all the seams and overlocked them as well. Why? Because I wanted to give them extra strength (this will be subject to rougher laundering than it would be if I were doing it at home). Then I did the hems and ran into difficulties with the white thread I was using for the topstitching. Why did I use white thread? Because I didn’t have any blue and I suspect I’ve never had any. I also suspect that I had trouble with this thread when I first bought it (it’s a Coats Drima Polyester thread, so certainly not the cheap rubbish I often use; and it’s not listed on their page which might mean it’s discontinued). I seem to recall it misbehaving with my twin needle even when it was new though I struggled on and topstitched the garment I was making (accompanied by significant amounts of muttering and unladylike language, I don’t doubt).

Then lastly I applied the neckband and I didn’t align its seam with the left shoulder seam of the T-shirt as instructed. Rather than matching notches, I quartered both band and neckline and matched up that way. It’s a funny thing, I suppose, but I like my neckband seams centred at the back and much prefer the way they look. It might simply be that, because that’s how I learnt to do it when I first started sewing with knit fabrics, that’s what has become second nature for me. Do you have a preference for either method, or do you mix and match according to what you’re making?

In any case, I overlocked the band – it wasn’t ribbing, just the stretch fabric – then sewed it. I’m sure some folk would be able to do it all in one smooth operation but I’m not that clever with my overlocker. I’ve done it once or twice, but I then sometimes have trouble with the topstitching. If I do it this way, I don’t tear my hair out battling with the bulk (you can’t trim away all of it) and trying to negotiate tricky curves. Anyway, I think the end result is neat enough.

This morning it was all ready and waiting for Dr B to take to Nonno but it’s still here. Why? Because Dr B has been running around all day doing a thousand other things. So why did I break my neck rushing to get it finished? Because that’s just how I like to do things, I think! Why? Why, because!


Posted by on November 16, 2012 in Sewing


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