Short version: I sewed a new shirt. See pictures below.
(Note: the pictures are lousy. That’s because I’m too eager to post about my successful sewing project to wait for daylight photos, and because there was a big smudge on my mirror that I was also too impatient to clean.)
Long version: For well over a year now, I haven’t been able to find t-shirts to buy that are comfortable and flattering. I’ve always had this problem, to an extent, because clothing designers assume that a larger circumference also means larger shoulders, and since this isn’t my case, when I find things that have enough fabric to go around me, the shoulders tend to hang and give a boxy/frumpy look. Also, since t-shirts lately are made of rather drapey fabrics and are cut small, it’s hard to find shirts when you don’t like your clothing to cling to every curve.
So in the last year or two, I’ve tried on fifty gazillion t-shirts and even purchased a few, but haven’t found any I like much. It’s been very frustrating, since I live a very t-shirts-and-jeans lifestyle, and get tired of ironing shirts just to do housework in them.
The other day I even got the idea to try on shirts at Motherhood , since I remembered that their styles would have more fullness and length without the big shoulders — but I didn’t have luck; out of the 30-or-so tops I tried on, I only found one shirt that was flattering — and it wasn’t a tee. (Also, I hated having to tell the cashier, when she asked my duedate, “I’m not pregnant right now.” It’s so tempting to answer all their questions with “That’s none of your business,” but I did learn that if you don’t give them a phone number, you can’t do returns. Not that they’ll let you do returns there anyway — just exchanges, and only within 10 days. For that privilege, you receive a whole tree’s worth of baby-themed junk mail.) (That was a long tangent, but this is my blog, and anyway I warned you that this is the long version.)
So, the night before we went to Zion’s, feeling desperate for something new and comfortable to wear when hiking, I sewed a shirt. I started it at midnight, sewed until 2:30, and then worked on it again for another hour or two the next day, after we’d mostly finished packing for our trip. I thought it would be easiest to make something from a woven fabric, and I aimed for a loose-fitting tunic-type top, choosing a nice loud fabric I got from a Congolese-run shop last time I was in Belgium. The top turned out just like I wanted — but unfortunately, it’s not flattering, and although I kept putting it on and trying to convince myself that I liked the way it looked, I ended up never wearing it. I might still try to cut it down into something else — or I could just start over, since I do still have more of the fabric.
Even though that shirt was mostly a failure, it did get me in a sewing mood. Since good quality knit fabrics are hard to find, a few months ago I’d bought a couple of men’s XXL t-shirts to cut down. Here’s one of them in its original form:
Last night I decided to try transforming one of these XXL tees into something more flattering. I used a Pattern Master Boutique pattern and did all the seams using the 4-thread overlock stitch on my serger (I only used the sewing machine to topstitch the neckline) and only kept the hems of the original tee — all the rest of the seams are new. And here’s my result (remember that the smudge is on my mirror, not the shirt. And yes, the neckline of the shirt gaps a little — that’s because I did a hack job of it (again with the impatience. But it was a test tee and not worth investing too much time figuring out how to do a nice bound neckline on a V-neck, especially since I only had tiny scraps of the fabric to work with for a binding. So far the sewing police have not shown up.) The shirt could still use some tweaking, but it’s better than any of the tees in my closet, and I’m excited to try making some more tops.
Here’s about all that was left of the original shirt: