Wednesday, May 4, 2011
The Path to the "Perfect T-Shirt"™
1. It all started with a trip to London Textiles. I'd taken a few days off to celebrate my birthday and ended up at London Textiles in Cherry Hill, NJ. I bought three pieces of knit fabrics. I'm trying to get over my reluctance to work with knit fabrics. I bought two pieces off the bolts for $8.00/yd and one piece from the remnant boxes for $4.00/yd.
2. On Saturday mornings, I sometimes watch "America Sews with Sue Hausmann". (I don't like it, but I watch it anyway.) On this particular Saturday, Sue featured a product called Sew Slip which is used to make a slippery surface on the bed of the machine for free motion sewing. I've been practicing free motion quilting and I wanted the Sew Slip, but I didn't want to wait days for an online order to arrive. So, I decided to make phone calls to find a local seller.
3. The first store I called was Steve's Sew-n-Vac and they carried the Sew Slip. Steve's recently moved to a new location and I was looking for a good reason to go there and see the new store. Before the move, Steve's carried only quilting fabrics. They now have a small selection of garment fabrics. As a matter of fact, I noticed the same fabrics I'd bought at London Textiles and they were priced considerably higher than I paid.
4. I can't leave any sewing-related store without browsing around and while at Steve's, I noticed the display for Pamela's Patterns. I looked over the selection and saw #104, The Perfect T-Shirt. The simple pattern would be perfect for the knits I'd just bought at London Textiles. I decided to buy the pattern and accompanying instructional DVD.
5. I took my selections to the register and the associate thanked me for choosing the pattern. I thought, "Wow! What polite associates!" Then I found out why. It was Pamela Leggett herself of Pamela's Patterns. We chatted about my knit issues and Pamela reiterated what everyone has been telling me; knits aren't a big deal. According to Pamela, if you're spending more than five minutes arranging your knit for lay-out, (and I was) you're doing too much.
6. I sewed the Perfect T-Shirt! Well, maybe not perfect, but pretty darn good! Minor alterations were needed. Pamela demonstrates a "fit as you sew" approach on the DVD. This approach works only if you need to make something smaller. I used pivot and slide to add an inch to the bust area and I will enlarge the jewel neckline the next time (and there will be a next time) I make this top. This is a very basic pattern with no design details so I could focus on the actual sewing techniques. The pattern has three neckline variations and four sleeve lengths. The instructional DVD was helpful in that it provided demonstrations and information that is usually not in pattern sheets. For example, Pamela recommends blocking after sewing the neck band and the hem. I don't think I ever blocked a knit. But it makes a big difference that is evident on the DVD and on the actual garment. My problem with knits was that I expected them to behave like wovens. I now respect the differences and I feel more confident about sewing knits.