Friday, 31 October 2014

Knock Off Tutorial - How To Make This Shirt From A T-Shirt Pattern.

I am not entirely sure where this picture came from. 

I suspect it is from Anthropologie. It seems to be kicking about pinterest mostly, and seems to be quite old as it's lost it's links. But I saw it, and I liked it. 

I also figured, heck, I can make that. So I did.

Here is my version:

Obviously, I'm a lot shorter than the model, and proportions reflect that. But I think I did a pretty good job if I say so myself. (Not bragging. Just telling it like it is.)

Here's how to do it. I suppose in internet speak, this is a 'DIY Anthro Knock Off'. This spans over 3 posts because I'm trying to not turn every post into a thesis.

You need:
Stretch/Jersey with a horizontal stripe.
A T-shirt pattern which you know fits well.
Chalk / rulers
The usual sewing supplies.

Cutting Out
Just so you know, I drafted this based on the same pattern I made this basic, bog standard t-shirt with.

It does fit well. Mine has a dart at the bust, but it wouldn't be necessary to have a dart. If you would like to see how to copy an existing t-shirt to make a pattern, check out this post.

I have the pattern marked with horizontal lines to indicate the bust, under bust and waistlines.

To create the pattern, we have 4 pieces to make.
The back and sleeves are exactly as for the usual t-shirt. So I can cut them straight off the original pattern.

The front has two layers - which I will refer to as the front and the knot layer.

To make the front layer, I need to create that central gather. Working on two layers to make both sides, I do that by marking parallel lines at the edge of the fabric 15cm - 20cm [6-8"] apart. (I did 15cm, as the fabric was fairly stiff but could easily have gone for 20cm.) Place the pattern piece to one side. like this: (The stripes in the fabric should be horizontal to the pattern piece)

I've done a sketch as it's much easier to see than in the photograph. Parallel lines are 15-20cm apart.

 Mark the point on your pattern where the shoulder stitching line and neck stitching line meet. (Shown here in green)

Draw a vertical line in chalk, up from this point.

Measure the stitching line on the back neck:

 Make that vertical line the same length, plus a seam allowance.

 Join that new point to the far edge at right angles, like so:
I've also continued the bottom edge across at right angles. It can then be cut out.
On this photo the top cut is crooked, as I was considering tapering it, but I straightened it up later.

I mark on the fabric a point where a V neckline would finish, and I also mark a line halfway between the fullness of the bust and the underbust. Diagram here as the chalk just did not show up in the photo.
So 'X' indicates where I want the neckline depth to, and the red dotted line is marked in chalk for reference later.

Now we need to cut the knot layer.
The knot is essentially composed of 2 trapeziums (or trapezoids depending on your location) which are intertwined.

To make these trapeziums, we need to measure on the front pattern piece.

The seam  and knot will sit between the bust line, and the underbust line.
To find the shorter edge of the trapezium, I measure across this line and back, with an extra 2.5cm [1"] loop to make the knot, like so:

And for the longer edge I measure like this:

The top of the tape measure goes right into the armscye, so that it is directly above the bottom edge. It cuts through the edge about 5cm from the bottom of the armscye.

That length is the longer side of the trapezium.

To find the height of the trapezium, I need to measure here, as this is the widest part.

And I will add a seam allowance and a narrow hem allowance to that measurement.

With those measurements in mind, I cut two shapes like this:

The strip is as wide as the red line in the diagram above, plus allowances. The long edge is the triangular measurement, and the short edge is the measurement straight across the body.

Each one will fold inwards like so:

But for now, that's all the pieces cut. Next up, construction.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

A Quick Way to Copy Different Sleeve Lengths

Hello hello!

Today I'm going to share a quick trick for dealing with the patterns with multiple versions of a design on them. Sometimes you'll find a pattern with different options, but printed in such a way that to make the short version, you have to cut the long version. This could be a sleeve length or a dress / shirt, or a shorts/long leggings on the same pattern.

You may want to make the short version now, but don't fancy buying a whole new pattern later, or in the case of a PDF pattern, you don't fancy printing and sticking the sheets all over again. So you need to copy the piece in question.

Here's a quick method to get all your pieces cut out without losing any options.

I have a t-shirt sleeve PDF pattern (From the Craftsy course Sewing With Knits).

I've made up the sleeve pattern (on the left), but because I'm rather freakishly petite, I've drafted a new sleeve using the same sleeve head on the right, and a quick measure of my arm. Obviously, if you're closer to a standard size, you'd work with the original.

I'm using brown craft paper, because it is cheap and easy to come by. I have drawn on the three different sleeve lengths, and I have taped my original pattern to the top layer to keep it in place.

I then put 3 layers of paper in one pile and outside the edges of the pattern cutting lines, I staple them together. If the pattern piece is too large for the width of the paper, you can glue two sheets side by side and it works a treat.

 I don't know if the staples are visible from here, but they're in there!

I've put the hem lines in for both length options. I have only drawn in my size here. Its also worth noting that this pattern has straight lines on the sleeve, and I prefer a bit of a curve as seen in my drafting long sleeves post. But hey, it's not my pattern - so I'll try it their way, and if I don't like it I'll go back to my way. :) ***
Once I've got it all stacked up and securely stapled, I cut through all of the layers. I only did the bottom portion to keep the top secure. If this is a problem. you can pin the pieces together with dressmaking pins inside the pattern piece although the staples lie flatter.

Once that's done, I cut off the first length through 2 layers.

Then I cut the shortest length through just one layer. Really, I could have used the original taped layer for this. But I find the patterns much easier to manage without the tape.

 I've lost my grain lines, so while the top is still securely attached, I'm just going to pop those back in with a ruler.

 And clip the little extra bits off the longest sleeve.
3 useful sleeves from the one pattern. Don't forget to put markings from the original piece in place, and label them. No tape! Which makes them easier to fold and store too.

There you go!

***UPDATE - I will be sticking with my original sleeve in future. The missing curve does make a difference, and the sleeve head really shouldn't be symmetrical!

Friday, 24 October 2014

Blog Hop

So I've been a bad blogger. I haven't had time to write in ages. Would you like to see my excuses list? This time it's fun. I've been back in Australia, for my sister's wedding. I got to catch up with my BFF and meet her new baby boy (OMG cuddles!), and Jon and I went to Port Arthur and drove along the Great Ocean Road, which was just awesome. So I don't feel entirely bad that I haven't done a lot of sewing recently - apart from a quick maternity / post maternity skirt conversion for aforementioned (and much missed) BFF. You didn't think I could stay away from the machine completely, did you? 
Anyway, in my absence, I've been nominated for the blog hop. Big thanks to Helen from Cut It Out, Stitch It Up for the nomination. 
Why do I write?
Because it's fun! I started blogging when I was working in an office for a while, and needed to get my teacher fix somewhere. I'm back in school now, which unfortunately means less blogging time. But I found its a wonderful process, it keeps me focused, and guides me to be clear on what I'm doing and why. It also generates more ideas than I can possibly act on, and uses more creative skills than sewing alone. Mostly I just love sharing stuff with the world, and finding other sewing geeks to talk to.
What am I working on?
I've just finished a cheongsam dress, which I wore to my sister's wedding. True to form, I finished it the day we flew out, so my pieces need labelling and tidying up before I start the next thing.  I've got about 8 next things sitting there cut up or half made, and I haven't really decided what to start next. I'm jet lagged at the moment. Jon said to me this morning "Aww. You seem grumpy at the world. Is it because you're awake?". Probably not the best time to get out the scissors. 25 hours back to back flying will do that to you.
How does my blog differ from others in its genre?
I wanted to focus on knits / stretch fabric a bit because people seem to be scared of it. I don't really know why. My attitude is 'get out there and have a go' because that's how I've developed my skills. People are too worried it won't work the first time. It might not, but I figure it's still worth doing. I'm trying to demystify a lot of the drafting stuff and reveal the mechanics of clothing so people can find it accessible. 
How does my writing  process work?
I'm not sure! Sometimes I write after I make something, sometimes I write beforehand and use it as my planning. I'll often scribble down some notes when I have a free moment, or it'll just flow when I sit at the laptop. Sometimes I write it on paper, then ignore the paper and write it again at the laptop.
In terms of planning, I make plans,  write them down and then make new plans later. In the beginning I was worried I wouldn't know what to do next, but each project generates dozens more project ideas so that isn't a problem after all. My plans for a year at a glance overview which I rigidly follow have turned out to be completely at odds with my personality. And life too, because sometimes I need to make stuff for an upcoming occasion, or something cool arrives in my hands and must be made.
Who Do I Follow?
I am not so good at keeping up with reading peoples blogs as I would like to be! I always read Helen's, because I feel like we're at the same point in the blogging journey. So often, the links pile up in my email waiting for a spare moment to check them out. There are some great blogs out there, so it balances out the isolating IRL experience of people saying "You make your own clothes? But why would you do that?" 
I follow Jillian at the Refashionista. She has a far more adventurous approach than I have, and just makes sewing look fun. 
Mimi G has great style. Its a pretty popular blog! I so often look at her pictures and decide that my butt would also look awesome with gathering on it, and add that to the mental list of a trillion things I want to make.
The Perfect Nose has some amazing collections of out of copyright pictures and such. She's been a bit quiet lately. She lives in Melbourne (so jealous) and I've found a lot of other blogs through hers, including Jennys 'rennous-oh-glennus'. I love her blog cos she seems like such fun, and I want to go hang out with both of them.
I find a lot of great stuff through facebook, and the group Sewing Inspirations and Tutorials has lead me to a lot of good blogs and resources.
I am going to nominate Em, from Em Makes Patterns. Em's blog is pretty new, and I just found it last week. She also does drafting and her illustrations are awesome.
There are so many great blogs out there. But right now, the whole world is grumpy and unreasonable, so I need to go and have a nap so all the people can feel better and be nicer to hang out with.