Back to the Sewing Machine

I’ve been working on many, many long-term projects: blankets, a shawl, a cross-stitch portrait, and a cross-stitch stitch along. I needed to do something that I could start and finish in one afternoon.

Two white and gray shirts with long sleeves that have large stripes at the wrists laying on a wooden floor, on on top of the other. The bottom shirt is gray with white sleeves with gray stripes. The top shirt is white at the top half and gray at the bottom half with gray sleeves with white stripes.

When I found out Itch to Stitch had a couple free patterns, I decided to make the Uvita Top. Then, when I got to planning it out on the fabric, I decided to make two because I had enough of both fabrics.

White and gray shirt on a tan cushion.

I knew that I wanted to make stripes on the sleeves, so I pulled two colors of knit fabric out of the drawer. When I realized I had enough of the white, I chose to make one set of sleeves white with gray stripes and one gray with white stripes. I didn’t quite have enough white to do a completely white shirt. So I chose to do an all-around yoke of white on the shirt with gray sleeves.

Gray shirt on tan cushion.

To make the sleeves, I started with squares of each fabric and cut strips starting from the bottom, alternating 3 inches wide and 2 inches wide for two stripes. Then I sewed the stripes and top of the fabric together, first with a single needle zigzag and then sewing the seam down with a double needle into the white sections. Once I had the fabric prepped, I folded it in half and cut out the sleeve pieces.

Detail shot of shirt sleeves at the stripes.

I cut out the shirt body pieces of the shirt from the gray fabric, then cut the paper pattern to make a yoke piece and body piece, laid the yoke on the white fabric and added half an inch of seam allowance to the bottom, and did the reverse to the body piece on the gray fabric (meaning I added the seam allowance to the top).

Detail shot of white and gray shirt where gray and white meet with a double line of stitching in the white portion.

I sewed all the seams with a single needle zigzag stitch and then sewed all the hems with the double needle.

Detail shot of the double line of stitching at the hem of both shirts, stacked on top of each other.

All in all, this pattern was super easy to follow, and super easy to modify with the styling. The end result is super comfortable, and it only took an afternoon to finish.


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Light and Breezy

I love layering. So much so that I have a drawer’s worth of plain colored t-shirts and tank tops that exist solely to be worn underneath other shirts or vests. I mean, I could wear them by themselves, but that would be boring.

One thing my dresser has been missing for a while in the layering department is what I like to call a “mesh shirt.” I’m sure it has another name, but I am too lazy to actually look it up. I had one for a long time that was pastel tie-dye, but it had a few holes that were bigger than they should be because they got snagged or torn in the wash.

Browsing for projects (because I never have enough projects lined up, right?) I came across the Breezy T pattern by Brenda Bourg on the Red Heart website. It was so perfect I even matched the color of the sample.

It turned out extremely well. This was my first attempt at crocheting a garment. Many hats before, and a couple of arm bands, but never a shirt. That kind of thing I tend to reserve for knitting. Because (for those who don’t know) knitted fabric tends to have more drape and be more suited for clothing than stiffer, crocheted fabric.

Because of the mesh structure, though, this shirt is quite nice and soft. The one thing I changed from the pattern was the sleeve edging. What was written does not seem like the edging in the sample picture, plus it was way too wavy. Instead I used a simple edging that would give me a similar shape to the picture (details here if you want to know, along with all details for the project).

This may become my favorite layering piece of the summer if the temperatures stay where they are. Turn a tank top into a work-appropriate look without making me feel like I’m boiling in my skin when we are outside.

Screen Printing: Round Two

After my attempt at screen printing using curtain material and stencils, I decided to make myself an actual printing screen. I went on eBay and found some screen mesh and stopped by Home Depot for a 2×3. After quite a bit of struggle getting the frames cut (hand sawing is exhausting), including a bit of help from my mom using the jigsaw to cut the boards lengthwise, I finally have 2 (or one and a half, considering one doesn’t have a screen on it yet) printing frames.

I decided to break it in with a t-shirt project for church. We aren’t a very big church, so there’s no money in the budget for making shirts for events. I chose to make some shirts that can be used at any event we hold.

Instead of stencils, since I was doing letters, I used Drawing Fluid to block out the words for printing.

After laying down the drawing fluid, I used the screen filler to cover it over. Once it was dry, I used the shower hose to clean out the drawing fluid.

I watered down some fabric paint to create an ink consistency.

I had already dyed the shirts, red and blue for the women’s and red for the men’s. I just printed the fronts and backs over a few days (having to let everything dry takes a while, especially since I only had enough card boar to go inside half the shirts at a time).

Though a few of them came out slightly different from others in terms of printing, They still came out very well.

Anyone else like screen printing? Have you ever tried to make something without power tools that turned out to be way too difficult?

Purple Giraffes

Well, not exactly. But it is a giraffe on a purple shirt.

My little buddy (the boy I babysit nearly every day) had his third birthday last month. Two things he is absolutely sure of on a regular basis: his favorite color is purple and his favorite animal is a giraffe.

In addition to a few cars and some stickers, I decided to make him a shirt. Mostly because I couldn’t find any giraffe shirts at Target.

I found a few tutorials online and cobbled together my own screen printing method using curtain fabric, an embroidery hoop, and some handmade stencils.

It worked well for the yellow base coat of the giraffe’s body, but not exactly for the spots.

The paint didn’t exactly go through the tiny holes. It frustrated me a bit, considering it took so long to cut out every single spot, but it gave me a good basis to paint on the spots that didn’t come out by hand.

I painted the outlines, eyes, and leaves as well because by that point I didn’t want to mess with the home-made screen anymore. The curtain fabric was not rigidly woven enough and it started creating large holes. Painting ended up working pretty well.

Have you ever tried to silkscreen this way? Anyone else like to throw in a hand-made present along with (or in lieu of) store-bought ones?