Monday, 20 May 2013

Me Made May 13 Weeks 2 and 3:Knits

I have been crazily dressmaking inspired by Me Made May 13.  Moderation is a hard thing for me; it's all or nothing and although I constantly try to amend this it doesn't seem to happen.  Prepare yourself for a rather picture heavy post. I have been making a lot of tops because tops and skirts is what I wear when I am not at work. (work is jeans and work t shirt so I never wear jeans out of work).  This post is knit tops and another post will follow with other clothing .
This T shirt is a free download from Kristin of Skirt as top.  It comes in one size which is small (around 10-12 UK sizing.  I made it a little narrower on the sides and added a self drafted pocket.  I also shortened the pattern all round by 1" as I am quite short in the body.
It makes a lovely T, lightly fitted at the top and loose at the hip with a dip hem lower at the back.   As the sleeves are part of the front/back it is very economical on fabric which made it perfect for the Nani Iro knit (this print is gone at Eternal Maker and Village Haberdashery) which is only 80cm wide.  This Nani Iro knit is double layered, a bit like double layer gauze, and is very soft.  Eternal Maker sell the same Nani Iro knit in a different print/colours here
I will definitely make more of these! Kristin has included all the making instructions on her blog and it can be made on a standard sewing machine.
I mentioned Meg McElwee's Craftsty knit class before- it is a great class.  Cotton jersey is the easiest knit to work with, especially if it is 100% cotton as the stretch is easy to control and the fabric behaves itself when pressing/cutting etc.  Viscose jersey (like the floral jersey top in this post) is much harder and slips and slides more.  This is organic cotton jersey from Eternal Maker and I managed to squeeze a long sleeved and a short sleeved T out of 1 1/2 metres.
This is size XS and fits really well. I gained a lot of confidence working with knits from Meg's class and it comes with a stack of knit patterns which made it an economical buy.  I wear long sleeve knit tops like this all through the year so this is a great basic.
This is the shorter T that I squeezed out of the left over jersey.
Megan Nielsen Briar pattern, in XS.  I went for the short style and cut straight across the front and left the back as the pattern with the dip hem.  Fit is just right, no alternations.  I underestimated this pattern.  I thought it was going to look like an 80s crop top but actually this ends up at the perfect length for the large collection of A line higher waisted skirts that I am currently creating.  Again, I see this as a wardrobe staple.  The hardest areas for me to fit are armscye/armhole and bust.  With knits, bust is not really something I have to think about (relief) and the shoulder line/armhole is perfect for me on this.
Having seen all the different versions all over different blogs I know it will work with lots of variation lengthened/long sleeves etc.  Maybe even as a cardigan or a woven?   I think it's worth a try- I love this one a lot!  I can't wait to make a version in the new Elk Grove knits! And the best thing about making it in this length is that it hardly takes any fabric.
I have found all the dress making highly therapeutic.  You have to look at yourself objectively when you make your own clothes, accept the lumps, (lack of lady lumps in my case) bumps, short bits, long bits and work with and around them.  I have had issues in the past, eating disorders in my very stressful early 20s, thankfully long behind me but body image is a toughie.  Making my own clothes helps.  They have to fit so sizing goes out of the window- one style like a dress might involve 3 different sizes at the bust waist and hip.  You also have to be prepared for a little failure- getting it right first time is the exception and sometimes you need to accept that you get it wrong.  Wrong fabric, wrong style, being swayed by what looks good on others but will never work on you- I've done them all and I still do it despite over 25 years of making my own clothes.  
My most recent failure was a Tova- not the style but the fabric choice.  Too busy, too small a print, too much going on.  At the moment it hangs in the sewing room so I can ponder it, and as a little reminder that not every fabric you love will make great clothing!  Reuse, recycle, I am guessing this will chop and end up in a quilt.
sib blog


  1. Ooh excellent makes! I am a bit long in the body and hate showing my midrift so maybe making my own is the answer - always been a bit wary of knit fabrics though....

  2. My lady lumps mean I would need a lot more fabric!! Your clothes making is fantastic, I love the t-shirts! And I actually adore the print you've used for the tova, I think it looks fab and I'd wear it! The busy little print is fun I think!

  3. Love the t-shirt and skirt ~ perfect colors and you look lovely!

  4. I love your tees - your sewing is wonderfully inspiring and I appreciate your comments on fit! I've been sewing my own clothing most of my life (from 14 on) and it always keeps me humble!

  5. Making your own clothes means no body secrets.
    Thank you for the reviews of several knit patterns.

  6. Such an inspiring post! I think fabric choice (in terms of print rather than type of fabric) is what's holding me back from making something for myself but I'm hoping that making a toile will ignite the passion and make me more confident in what suits me. I'm a bit of a ditherer, though, so don't hold your breath!

  7. These look great, but my favourite is the first outfit

  8. Wow you have been busy! I tried sewing with knits last year and it didn't go very well which kind of put me off. But I have bought the Craftsy course so hope to give it a go again soon.

    PS I quite like the Tova top, I think it'd look good on you may with plain trousers so the overall outfit isn't too busy or a denim skirt.


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