Monday, September 14, 2015

FO: Blue Floral Sorrel Tee

As soon as I saw the Sew Independent bundle this time around, I wanted it for this top pattern. I'm a huge fan of peter pan collars, so add in fun options like an asymmetrical collar AND the fact that it's actually color blocked on the shirt - I'm totally there. I was too excited to wait. I had to make this one up now. So here is my entry into the Everyday Casual category of the contest for Sewing Indie Month.
This is the Sorrel Top and Dress pattern from Seamster Patterns (not for sale individually quite yet). It has several fun options to play with: symmetrical collar, asymmetrical collar, short sleeves, elbow sleeves with contrast cuffs, hem band, no hem band, dress with godets, or dress without godets. This was the first pattern that I printed out from the bundle and set to work that night. I taped the pattern together which wasn't as awful as some (though I'm never a huge fan) - the pattern was really big though. Like too big for my table big. This is understandable since it has the asymmetrical collar option - this has to be a flat pattern piece instead of one that is cut on the fold, adding several pages to the pattern. I just had to cut the pieces apart on the assembled pattern so I could manage everything, so no big deal.
Since this was my "muslin" of this pattern, I went with some "sacrificial" fabric. All the fabric for this was thrifted. The dark teal is an interlock knit that I grabbed a while back in a large lot of good knits - the only problem is whoever donated the fabric had tried to sell it themselves and had the bright idea that they would sell better as 1 yard pieces. So I had four 1 yard pieces of this fabric :/ It worked out for this top though since I certainly had plenty of the fabric to use a piece on something that might not turn out perfect. The floral knit I used for the contrast piece is actually from a Croft & Barrow brand t-shirt I thrifted YEARS ago. I liked the print, but it came out too short for my taste when I washed it so I never wore the shirt. I just chucked it in a refashion box and forgot about it until I searched through that box last week - it was meant to be!
Ugh, so wrinkly. One of these days I'll do a sway back adjustment. Or I'll just continue to smooth out my shirts.
Even though this was technically a muslin, I still tried to do everything right so it could be a true trial run of the shirt. The directions were fine, but definitely no hand holding went on there. (*I've learned since then that there is a separate file of illustrated instructions. Apparently I was a little too excited to start sewing and didn't look through the files, lol) The directions I used had no diagrams, so I had to re-read certain steps a few times to make sure I got it right. I thought I had messed up with cutting, but it turned out ok. I was assembling the collar when it hit me that I hadn't paid any attention to which side I cut the pattern pieces out on since generally it doesn't matter and I'm able to just flip things over since most patterns are symmetrical. Lesson learned: when making an "asymmetrical collar", pay attention to how it's cut out! It turned out my panic was unnecessary as I had luckily cut it out correctly, but it was certainly a head scratching moment to figure that out.
I was worried about getting the collar to lay smooth at the seam, so I really took my time and I am seriously thrilled with how it turned out! My one complaint is that the little spot where the two collars meet at the front is very bulky. Next time I make this, I will trim that spot down as far as I can. I am pleased that it meets up so well though! The pattern gives little dots to align on each piece so you don't have to guess at it yourself - this was invaluable for me and really made things come out great.
Here you can see that bump at the collar join. It's really not awful, and I don't think anyone else would notice. Another point I'm proud of is my stitching in the ditch. The pattern tells you to flip the facing to the inside and either stitch around the collar or stitch in the ditch. The reason I love this pattern is that you really can't tell that the collar is color blocked until you touch it, and I thought that stitching around the neckline would ruin that illusion. So I went with stitch in the ditch. I pressed the facing back really well, and then just went very slowly around the collar seam. I'm pretty ridiculously proud of how well that turned out! I didn't even use a special foot - just my walking foot - and I managed to stay just in the ditch of the seam the whole way around. This caught the facing really well and holds it all in place. I did completely disregard the suggestion in the pattern to cut the facing out of thinner/drapey-er fabric since I was just using this as a test run. It's a little thicker around the neckline, but not terribly so. I've worn the shirt a few times now and I've haven't felt it was too thick at all. Normally I hate facings on a knit garment, but the one is so securely held in place that it doesn't bother me at all :) Yay!
A few more details. This is my one flub up in construction - apparently I caught the edge a bit and caused a little pucker at the shoulder.  Honestly, it's tiny and it's around the back of my shoulder so I really don't care about it. One other slightly odd thing is that the shoulder is a little bit pointy when I raise my arms at all. I'm not sure if this is just that my shoulders aren't as wide as the pattern is made for (which is a close call), or if it's because I put the sleeves in flat when the pattern said to set them in. I'll play with it next time, but it doesn't bother me enough to not wear the shirt. Another thing I didn't notice while I was cutting out - the asymmetrical shirt  body is drawn a bit shorter so it can accommodate a hem band. This isn't a pattern flaw per se, I just hate hem bands and I didn't notice until it was too late and I had cut it too short. So this time I put the hem band on. Next time around I will be sure to add the length so I can do a twin needle hem. I also included a pic here of the curved sleeve cuffs - so cute!
Realistically how this shirt looks when I wear it. #longhairproblems
In the end my "muslin" turned out completely wearable in spite of the little issues I've mentioned. The fit is spot on for me :) It turned out a bit dressy looking due to my fabric choices this time around, but I would love to make one that was just a casual t-shirt too. I'm thinking in a lighter jersey and without the hem band would make it more everyday, and I really love the example shirt on Seamster's website with the striped body and solid collar, so I'm sure that will happen eventually. I'm really pleased with how this top turned out and I can't wait to make a bunch more!

Fabric: 1 yard dark teal interlock knit - $1.00 (thrifted), blue floral print Croft & Barrow t-shirt - 25¢ (thrifted)
Pattern: Sorrel Top and Dress by Seamster Patterns
Notions: Pellon Knit Interfacing, thread
Hours: 6 hours (including taping and tracing the pattern)
Total: $ 1.50-ish :)


  1. I like the collar, its something different, and the blue looks lovely on you!

  2. I like the collar, its something different, and the blue looks lovely on you!

    1. Thanks so much, Marike :) I do love a nice teal blue.

  3. This is so stinkin' cute! If I knew how to sew, I would sew this.

    1. Oh, you could totally make this! I wouldn't recommend it as a first try for a t-shirt, but once you've made a basic one or two it's really the same concept. I can trace the pattern for you when you decide to take the plunge :)

  4. I love your top! And am so glad you like it too :)

    The shoulders could be a little narrower, but if you hadn't mentioned it I might not have noticed. And if it's comfortable to wear then it might not be worth it to change. If you do want to change the shoulder width there are directions on how to do so in the "fit & fabric" section of both sets of the instructions. You did an excellent job just using the written instructions, but if you do want more hand holding the pattern does come with illustrated instructions. It's the file entitled "3402 illustrated instructions".

    Thanks for sharing your make and entering it into the sewalong contest!

    1. Thank so much Mari! I LOVE the pattern :) I figured out the shoulder issue on my second one - I think it's because I put these in flat instead of setting them in. I followed the directions on my second one and I didn't have the same issue. And thanks for letting me know about the more detailed instructions! I guess I was so excited to get started that I didn't look in all the files, lol. I'll amend that on my post to. Thanks for creating such a fun pattern! I know I will have many more in the future (I'm still looking for the perfect black and white stripe to copy yours!)


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