Saturday, October 17, 2015

FO: Southern Lady Plantain

It seems I have a Labor Day tradition of sewing t-shirts. Last year I used labor day to make my first ever knit tops, so I thought this year would be fun to keep that going. Plus, who am I kidding? Like I really need an excuse to make a t-shirt. 

I've had a stack of thrifted shirts sitting around waiting for new life to be stitched into them, and I thought that I would just whip them all up that day. That didn't happen, lol, but I did cut into almost all of them before I got bored and changed my project of the day. At least I finished this one first!
This spent the first who-knows-how-many-years of its existence looking like this:
Ugh, sorry for the terrible photos.
It's not too sad, really. I didn't like the neckline (or the huge facing inside - say no to knit neckline facings!), and the shoulders were a little wide, but I didn't mind the shirt other than those two things. I LOVE the print. I'm a big fan of paisley, and this shirt is a nice soft interlock (fast becoming my favorite fabric for cute t-shirts), and I even contemplated keeping the longer sleeves or at least keeping them elbow length. One of the best aspects of this shirt is the tag from the design company that made it: it's called Southern Lady! I thought it was so swanky that I just had to keep that name alive, thus the title of this shirt, lol.
I wanted to make my beloved Plantain out of this as much as was possible. The shirt wasn't wide enough to cut and sew again, so I kept it together at the sides, just tapering in a bit at the bust. I carefully cut the lined the shirt up at the side seams and traced the neckline on first. I made the neckline the highest I could make work with the button placket that was already there (which is the photo you see above), so it's higher than the pattern calls for but perfect for me. Then I cut a new armscye, cutting the sleeves off carefully at the seam line. I had hoped to keep elbow length sleeves and add elbow patches, but I was stuck with where to get the fabric for the new neckband. I couldn't use the facing I cut off because it was heavily interfaced and wouldn't stretch, and the hem was already the perfect length (with an oh so fancy blind hem to boot). In the end the only place I could harvest the fabric was from the sleeves, so I went with short sleeves and pieced the neckband out of two pieces from across the sleeves.
The one down side of this project was my thread choice. I wanted to make this that day, but the only thread I had in an appropriate color was actually button thread. Button thread is much thicker than regular thread, but I hoped that it wouldn't make much difference. Ho boy, I was wrong there. This is the only thing I've ever made where I can feel the thread while wearing it, and sadly it's a little scratchy - particularly at the arms. It's a more relaxed fit though overall, so it's not a deal breaker. I've worn the heck out of this shirt since Labor Day (including on that day as soon as I finished it). I did taper the sides in a little to meet up with the new armscyes, but left the body as it came everywhere else.
Details of course! Whenever I have to piece a neckband together, I make sure that the seams are near the shoulders so I avoid any visible seam lines. It ended up just a few inches in front of the shoulder seam here and with this busy fabric you can't see it at all. For some odd reason I decided to do the sleeve hems just single row like a normal hem. They are loose enough, so it's not an issue not having the extra stretch of the twin needle, plus I had no desire to wind a bobbin of that thick thread. And I just had to show off the fancy hem. Southern Lady indeed!
I seriously love this shirt and I love that it's sort of fall colored so I can feel seasonably appropriate for the rest of the world while staying cool in the still ridiculous Florida heat (though it is finally cooling down - yay!) I'm pretty proud of the fact that this shirt is so transformed and now I can wear it without feeling like a granny. And I just had to show my extra special touch ...
I sewed the original tag onto the seam allowance at the side seam! Now I can be a Southern Lady forever :) (the photo on the left is the tag attached to the original facing).

Fabric: Southern Lady cotton interlock long sleeve shirt - thrifted, $1.00
Pattern: Plantain by Deer + Doe - Free
Notions: button thread - from stash
Hours: 2
Total Cost: $1.00

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