I’m writing today all the way from sunny Florida! So I’m not sticking around for long. The lovely Hannah from Sinbad & Sailor has put together this tutorial for you guys so I have more time to enjoy the sun. Here she is:
Hello FFDIYers! Welcome to my take-over of this fab and inspiring blog, I’m Hannah and I run sewing pattern company Sinbad & Sailor (www.sinbadandsailor.com). Our aim is to make patterns for clothes taking inspiration from shapes or styles you might see on the high street or catwalk so rather than go shopping you can be creating your own clothes.
As a maker I’m always inspired by what I see and so often I look at clothes on the high street and think – “I could totally make that, that shape is so simple!” Even from the comfort of my sofa I’ll be browsing on the ASOS site, picking up inspiration especially from the smaller designers they stock. One staple I don’t have is a white t shirt (I know that seems so ridiculous!) and when I saw this Pippa Lynn (http://www.pippalynn.com) lux boxy t-shirt it really set my sewing fingers itching!
Recreating a simple shape like this is also a great chance to explore zero waste pattern cutting which (as you might have guessed from it’s name) is where you endeavour to cut out a garment without wasting any fabric. So taking my starting point from a zero waste t shirt pattern by talented pattern cutter Franki Campbell
I’ve put together this tutorial to inspire you to create your own boxy t-shirt with sheer panels. //// Please note – This tutorial is a guide which combined with your creativity and individuality will create you an awesome unique top – you’ll have to decide on exact lengths and sizes of the pieces specific to your size and style preferences. If you’re a novice sewers don’t be daunted – this is exactly the kind of project which is a great starting point to help develop your sewing skills! ///
You’ll need a few bits to get going with this but it’s minimal and a lil tip – if you are choosing a natural fabric like cotton pre shrink it first to ensure it won’t shrink once you’ve made it up!
1) Main body fabric – approximately 70cm length (for a size 10/12 bust) in a medium to lightweight fabric which has a width of 115cm or wider (the wider it is the longer your top can be).
2) Sheer contrast panel fabric – approximately 25cm of an organza or chiffon fabric with a width no narrower that of your main fabric.
3) Spool of thread to match your fabric.
4) Bias binding 1.5m in a colour to match your main body fabric (this may be slightly more than you need but better to have too much than slightly too little!)
Got it all? Then it’s time to rock’n’rolllllllllllll!
Step 1 – Measure Up
Grab a tape measure and measure your bust, divide this measurement in half then add 10cm – this will be the width of the front and back pieces and the rest of the fabric will become sleeves.
Step 2 – Mark + Cut Out Fabric
Measuring from the raw edge of your main body fabric downwards mark the measurement you just calculated. Mark across your fabric and cut along the line.
Then cut this piece in half down the width and voilà – there’s your front and back pieces!
Step 3 – Cut Out Sleeves
Cut the left over piece in half also and now you’ve got the start of your sleeves. So it’s time for some decisions – Think about how long you want – the top sleeve, sheer panel and lower sleeve pieces to be. It can help to have a friend on hand to pin the bodice pieces then you can play around with the lengths – if you are being precise with lengths don’t forget you’ll need to add seam allowances to the pieces before you cut them out.
For reference on my top I used these measurements –
top sleeve 9.5cm + 3cm for seam allowance
sheer panel – 13.5cm + 3cm seam allowance
lower sleeve – 5cm + 3cm seam allowance
Once you’re confident with your measurements cut out all 6 pieces.
You should now have to a pair of sleeves which look (something) like this when pinned together ready to sew..
Before you sew the sleeves together consider how you’d like to finish the raw edges. One nifty way is to do a flat-felled seam, it gives you a nice sporty look and encloses all the raw edges. If you’re new to this both of these Collette tutorials can guide you through the process so you’ll be a pro in no time!
Mock Flat-Fell Seam Tutorial – http://www.coletterie.com/tutorials-tips-tricks/mock-flat-fell-seams
Flat-Felled Seam Tutorial – http://www.coletterie.com/tutorials-tips-tricks/standard-flat-felled-seam
Sew up your sleeves and if you are keeping them simple just ensure you press the seam allowance away from the sheer panel so it won’t be seen when you’re wearing the top.
Here’s my sleeves all sewn up using flat-fell seams –
Step 4 – Neckline
If you’re sticking with the round neck style of the top we’re copying then I’d grab a t shirt or top which you can comfortably get your head through the hole without stretching. Marking the centre front point trace the neckline outline from the shoulder to the centre.
Top tip – if you want an even quicker make choose to make your neckline on the raw edge rather than the selvedge so then that can be used as a ready finished hem!
Transfer this onto your front piece by marking the centre front on your front t shirt piece, tracing round your neckline template and then cutting this shape out. Repeat for the back neckline.
At this point if you are considering overlocking the raw edges go for it – otherwise zig zagging or pinking the raw edges once you’ve sewn your seams will be a good alternative so you have a longer lasting garment.
Step 5 – Sew Shoulder Seams
Match your bodice pieces right sides together at the shoulder seams, the seam allowance isn’t set in stone as the top is loose fitting but I wouldn’t suggest doing any more than a 1.5cm seam allowance otherwise it’ll be bulky. Press the seam open.
Step 6 – Sew Sleeves to Body
Fold each sleeve in half and mark the centre point at the top of the sleeve. Lay the bodice opened out with the right side facing up, place sleeves on top of the bodice matching the centre point of the sleeve with the shoulder seam. Sew sleeves and bodice together using a seam allowance of no more than 1cm. Press the seam towards the sleeve.
Step 7 – Sew Underarm Seam and Side Seam
Arrange your top so that the right sides are together with the underarm of the sleeves and side seams matched. Pin together and sew starting at the hem going upwards and pivoting at the corner then continuing to sew the underarm. Don’t forget to use the same width seam allowance as you did when sewing the sleeves onto the body.
Once you’ve sewn these seams carefully snip into the hem at the right angle (don’t cut into your stitching).
Press seams open and turn the garment the right way round.
Step 8 – Hem Sleeves
Press seam allowance up by your preferred amount and sew.
Step 9 – Finish Neckline
Open up your bias binding and starting at the back of the neckline slightly off centre leaving a 5 cm tail, pin the bias binding to the neckline right sides together all the way around. When you finish leave a 5 cm tail.
Starting 2.5cm from the first pinned point stitch along the first point all the way around finishing 2.5cm from the end point. Pin together the two ends where they complete the neckline to the correct size, stitch together and press seam open. Sew this small section to the join your first lines of stitching.
Taking care not to stretch your bias binding iron it towards the inside of the garment.
Step 10 – Hem
Try on your top and check that you are happy with the length, if you are and have used the selvedge as the hem them you’re all good to go! Otherwise adjust and pin the hem to the desired length, press to form clean edge then sew.
And that’s it – you’ve made a (nearly) zero waste t shirt so give yourself a big green high five