As soon as Closet Case Patterns released the new Ebony Dress and T-Shirt pattern I knew it was moving to the top of my list of things to make for myself. I am a sucker for a swing tee!! I have several RTW swing tee’s. I was so excited to actually add one to my ‘me made wardrobe’! It may be my first, but it will not be my last. In essence, this is my ‘wearable’ muslin, but I was confident in the fit and the construction so I used a fabric that I knew I would love to wear.
The fabric is a soft bamboo/cotton/spandex blend jersey that I bought from Mercers Fabric. The rayon made of bamboo gives this fabric a luxurious feel and a flowing drape. It is perfect for the swing shape in this pattern.
It has been a while since I have sewn with knits. I am not sure why, because I LOVE wearing knits, in fact, it is practically all I wear. My serger has been acting up and I intend on treating myself to a new one soon. So I used this as an opportunity to sew a knit using my straight stitch machine.
I used the ‘lightning’ stitch, sometimes also referred to as the ‘stretch stitch’, to stitch the garment together. This stitch stretches a little bit with the fabric and won’t break as easily as a straight stitch.
Tip: If you have a walking foot attachment for your machine it might come in handy to use it for this project. I did not use mine, and I didn’t have any trouble, but I might try it the next time just to compare the ease of sewing.
I finished the inside seam allowances using an overcast stitch to finish the inside seam allowances. I lined this stitch up very close to the first stich (not on the edge) and then trimmed the excess width of the seam allowance (about 1/8″) without cutting through my seam finish. This actually worked remarkably well. I experimented with a few different stitches (ie. other zigzag and overlock stitches) and they were just bunching up the edge of the seam allowance. You might have to try a few to see which one works the best on your machine and it might be best to move in from the edge of the seam allowance a bit.
To finish I used a ball point twin needle to do the top stitching around the neckline and hemline of the tee. TIP: It is important to use a ball point or stretch needle in your machine when sewing knits. Otherwise you might get skipped stitches or pulls in the fabric.
I am not much into modeling my own garments. I have never been comfortable in front of a camera for family photos, let alone the internet. It’s just not my thing! So I laid my new tee out flat and took some photos of how I would wear it. I plan to make this my travel outfit for a trip I am taking in the near future.
For more on sewing knits you might also want to check out The Colette Guide to Sewing Knits: Professional Techniques for Beautiful Everyday Garments. I own the printed copy and love it.
I think you will enjoy sewing this pattern as much as I did. I plan to make other versions of it soon. I have a knit stripe that I would love to make up into an Emory Dress.