Two weeks ago my “IRL” (in real life) sewing group, the Sewing Fashionistas, kicked off another “Wardrobe Sew-To-Fit Along” with the knit top and t-shirt as the topic of this months focus.  Alongside the IRL group, I participated in another Wardrobe building challenge/Sew-To-Fit Along with my online sewing group, the Pericrafters.  I taught class for my group here in Houston, called “Fit Diagnosis: The Knit Top” as well as created a few videos to help demonstrate how I sew my tops.  This video and blog post is the first of a series of post and tutorials you will be seeing over the next couple of weeks on how I fit and sew my knit tops and t-shirts.  
In preparations for teaching the classes, I made a host of tutorials on knit tops and t-shirts, as well as all the possible pattern alterations necessary to make it easier to help the folks in my groups.  The above photo is just a couple of the tops I have made.  You will be seeing those in some of the upcoming videos or upcoming blog post.   I have demonstrated how I make alterations for myself and my daughter using a good selection of patterns.  I hope you enjoy.
For now, here is the video on how to sew-in the sleeve using the flat insertion method I use for sewing a sleeve with a high cap.  Click on the picture above if you can not see the video here.  

Thanks for following along.  

Developing a game out of pattern play and creating fun pieces instead of always needing to worry about fitting a pattern can be exhilarating and satisfying.

renfrew- sewaholic patterns   I got the idea of this top from my regular StitchFix box this last week.

It’s no secret I have had a love affair with my Renfrew top for a couple years now. My first experience with this pattern was on a whelm when I ordered it after checking out a few people’s blogs back in 2014. I ordered my first indie pattern, from Canada, of all places. That was a hit on the wallet, but I wanted to support the indie designer, and as I recall, there wasn’t an option for a PDF. What is it about this pattern that caused me to like it so much, not withstanding the trials I had fitting my upper section. (Yes, I know now, they were not drafted for the busty.)  I wanted to know what it was that made everyone love this pattern so much. After all, it’s “just” a t-shirt basically. Shucks, I could have gotten 10-20 other patterns on sale, for what I paid for this pattern, plus the cost of shipping.

I got the idea of this top from my regular StitchFix box this last week.

THAT NECKLINE!!! My analytical mind wanted to know for sure what it was about the pattern that was different. I decided to do some measurements and find out exactly what the difference is in the neckline that causes it to sit on my chest so well.   I took my measuring tape and measured the pattern at the neck seam to determine the percentage difference from the band.  I found that it is a 12.25% ratio of neckline-to-neckband.  Plus the band is cut on an angle at the closure, which to me creates a snugger fit for the band.  I used that same percentage when I drew my new opening for this top, a little change from the basic “renfrew” which is much more open, to this more modest version and used the ratio I came up with as the base for determining my band length.

I got the idea of this top from my regular StitchFix box this last week.  (More on that later.) As soon as I saw this top out of the box, I remembered this fabric and knew it was going to be mine.  Now I know this lady, Susanne C., my stylist, is in my head, or following my Periscopes or my instagram or something.  I suspect this, because she sent me exactly the things I had been talking about on my YouTube channel or other social media.  SMH…this internet is really “mmmmmm….I can’t say.”  
Of course you know me, duplicate the heck out of that top…..I copied the front section of the original and then transferred the details to the back of the renfrew and used the neckline of their top, but made the ratio of neck to band based off the refrew to ensure the fit was spot on.  The sleeves are my renfrew sleeves as well as all the upper body, notwithstanding the neckline…as I said, I made that smaller to match the StitchFix version.   See the video here for more details on that shipment.
I enjoyed making this top, and the fact that it was chosen by a stranger….is even more unsettling.  Wow.  Check out those boyfriend jeans.  I have never even tried on a pair of those at the store.  I just don’t like shopping too much y’all.  So when I do go shopping I stick to what I know, which is not very good.  Its just a limitation I have.  Now I understand why there are stylist and wardrobe planners out there to help.  
Take care and stay tuned for more to come….I’m always working to bring you fun things to look at, consider and talk about.  Please subscribe via email at the top for faster updates when I post.  Next up…..”Stitch Fix Video.”

trash2tees blog hop 2016 #TheUpcycledTshirt  #bigballoftshirtyarn

Many, many times I talk about how much I hate to waste fabric in my sewing projects.  Which is why I enjoy using the tissue fitting method of fitting my patterns when I make my own clothes.  When you find others who see things the way you do and share the same ideals about living and being more accountable for our resources, you want to support their efforts to make a difference.
So, after meeting Jenelle Montilone, the author of “The Upcycled T-shirt Book,” I was inspired to create something with the leftover t-shirts in my own home.  I took an old work t-shirt from my husband and dyed it to color and created this cute number.

trash2tees blog hop 2016 #TheUpcycledTshirt  #bigballoftshirtyarn
My plans are to take full advantage of this free fabric resource and look into other options she has given in her book, as well as this awesome initiative for the “Yarn Ball Project” found here.  

T-shirt refashion is a big deal these days, but for me, I am moved by “reason” not fashion, although fashion is a big part of it for me.  This lady has such ideals for improving on the amount of waste created by “fast fashion”, with meaning and passion.

trash2tees blog hop 2016 #TheUpcycledTshirt  #bigballoftshirtyarn
Starting where I am, in my sewing room, I know I am making a difference.  Every little bit counts and will absolutely make a world of difference for everyone now and in the future.  Here is the funny thing….I had already been eying this book for sometime now.  Because of the sewing classes I teach, I wanted something that was cheap or better yet free, for the group of ladies who don’t have the means to buy fabric the traditional way.

What can you do to save on the fabric waste created in your sewing room.  Maybe bring in more fabric.  Wait, that’s not a ticket to go purchase more fabric.  Quite the contrary.  I say bring in other garments that can be repurposed into another fashionable garments for yourself or someone else.  For those of you who knit, maybe consider the fact that one large t-shirt will yield 15 yards of t-shirt yarn. Now, I don’t know personally how far that will get you, but, to me 15 yards is fifteen over zero, right!! Consider dying the t-shirts first the way I did, and you are off to create something wonderful.

Here is a great video in which Jenelle details how to create your t-shirt yarn for knitting.  Others on this Blog Tour have created some awesome projects with ideas presented by Jenelle.

trash2tees blog hop 2016 #TheUpcycledTshirt  #bigballoftshirtyarn

She has even given me the freedom to let one of my readers have a copy of this book, her treat.  That means all you need to do is comment below and I will pull a name next Wednesday, January 13th to name the winner.

Most of the time when I want to grab a simple pair of jeans and a t-shirt I end up with over stretchy, graphic and just blah-zay.  I need some basics so that when I want to dress basic, I’ll have something to wear. 


It was extremely hard to make this one plain and simple t-shirt.  No color, no patterns, no prints, stripes or fancy seams, just your plain ole’ t-shirt.  That is what this is at first glance.  But all the stylist and wardrobe planners who I consult, in books, online or InRealLife, tell you to make sure to have “the basics” and you will “always” have something to wear no matter the occasion.  

Thus, I have set out to make some basics, and I started with this T-shirt.  I’m told the next on my list of makes should be a White button down dress shirt/blouse, a good “day dress”, a black jacket with pencil skirt, a dressy jacket (this is where the Chanel-like jacket fits into the plan.) a Little Black Dress, a pair of nice black dress slacks, and well fitted jeans.  From this arsenal, I should be able to run to the closet and mix-n-match a manner of outfits just by adding choice accessories and colored pieces to match any season, spring, summer, fall, or holiday.

I’ll be calling this my tailored “T” since it has set-in sleeves.  I commonly wear RTW t-shirts which have raglan sleeves that fit pretty close to the arms and body.  The Renfrew Tee by Grainline Studios has been my go to for the last year.  It fits really well for my purposes, however, I wanted to try this one because it has the darts at the side bust and also at the waist back and front.  I only used the bust darts for the look I was after with this one.  Of course I could have just done that same thing to the Renfrew, but you know how it is—  “Why think when you can just cut.” 

Pairing it with shorts or a nice skirt changes the entire ensemble from casual to business.  So, there, is it really just another ole’ t-shirt?  I think not.  I just need to wrap my head around the idea of making the simple pieces needed to build a versatile wardrobe.  

Pattern details:  
McCalls 6355: view C,  I cut a size 16 based on the finished bust and graded the shoulders, neckline, and sleeve cap back to my normal size 14, including added 1/2″ at the shoulder/neckline to narrow the opening, it was way too wide even for the size 14.  The short sleeves were lengthened 1.5 inches from the pattern.  I lowered the front neckline by 1.5” and lowered the bust dart by 1” and angle it up a tad to taste.  The fabric is ponte knit from Hancock, so it only has 25% stretch.  Next one I will lengthen at the hem another 1.5” or so, it falls just a teeny bit to high on the hip or maybe just take in the side seams.  We shall see what happens with a different fabric.

I follow a lot of “idea” cites and get wardrobe planning tips from various sources all the time.  What are some of the special places you all check to help you sew with a plan or purpose?