Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Putting the shirt into "tee shirt"

Ottobre 05-2007-08 Jersey shirt blouse

(you can back order any Ottobre magazine by going to their website and selecting the "single issue" button.)

This is the Ottobre tee "shirt" pattern. It's made of cotton lycra, in hyacinth blue.

This shirt fought me every step of the way. I unpicked nearly every seam (no exaggeration). Maybe I just had too many "shoulds" - I should sew something for summer, I should use a pattern I've tried before, I should sew it in comfy wash and wear fabric, I should sew something in a good colour for me, and I should make it a bit funky.

The thing about "shoulds" is that they just grind all the fun out of things. Jung had a theory about inanimate objects taking on the vibe of their owners. Perhaps the sewing machine and fabric were conspiring to let me know just how much they didn't feel like making this. (Actually, the fabric told me later that it would have prefered matching thread and clear buttons, so perhaps that was the source of its grudge).

At any rate, it's done! And I like it! Phew.

I used white thread and white retro buttons. I sewed a "gimp" buttonhole, this is the first time I've used this function on my machine. The buttonholer zig-zags over a piece of thick thread to strengthen the buttonhole on knits and stop them distorting. And look how well it holds its shape!

I converted the long sleeve into a standard tee short sleeve by splicing it and then gathering it onto elastic.

I learned an important lesson from this project. Without inspiration, there is no motivation. I need to find a way to sew those day to day basics in a way that is more creative.

Because like diets, discipline alone does not work.


  1. I'm impressed that you continued and finished this sporty fun shirt.

  2. Is it really called a "gimp" buttonhole? What a delightfully rude description!

  3. Lovely! This shirt has been on my to-do list ever since the issue was new. Sigh. But you've provided inspiration to move it up in the never-ending queue, and faster.

  4. It's a great basic shirt, and the retro buttons give it just a touch of quirkiness. I know what you mean about being uninspired by the basics. I've never heard of "gimp" button holes, but yours definitely look good. I've never had the nerve to try making button holes on jersey before. I think I would have to interface it with something pretty substantial first.

  5. I like all the detail in this knit top, and I think the white buttons and top-stitching look fabulous with the shade of blue.

  6. The buttonholes look amazing, no wonder you chose to do them in contrast. Don't worry about what the fabric thinks!
    The shirt looks great too of course, I am just sidelined by the buttonholes because of my new toy :)

  7. Mary Nanna I feel your angst. If the shirt is speaking to you maybe put some shiny blue buttons on it to cheer it up.
    I agree that sewing under pressure is no fun at all. It happens to me when I steer too far away from my original vision for the fabric.

  8. I think the fabric is quite wrong about the matching thread, the white looks terrific. Your buttonholes are particularly impressive.
    I find that having a cup of tea and reading old Burdas is much more attractive than starting "should" sewing. (Hmm, I wonder why my November sewing drifted into December?). However, when I finish such an item and wear it all-the-time I am generally pleased that I forced myself to do it.

  9. I wholeheartedly agree with the idea that if there is no inspiration there is no motivation. I have been known (frequently) to ignore the "should" sewing in favour of a sudden rush of inspiration.

    Having said that, your shirt is a great example of when being disciplined is a sensible idea - it looks great! (And I am so glad that I am not the only person who's fabric has opinions of its own)

  10. That's cute! The contrasting thread is a really nice touch. I'd never heard of gimp buttonholes before, but in lacemaking a gimp thread is a thicker thread used to outline the design so very similar.

  11. I understand about being uninspired to sewing basic garments, but then I try to buy them and the fit and/or fabric is crap. Your Tee shirt looks fantastic on you, great fit and color.

  12. All those "shoulds" paid off and it looks like you have a great, comfy tee that will get lots of wear. I do love that colour. Is that one of you "rules" for the month?

  13. I keep the motivation for day-to-day outfits by setting a few "parameters" for functionality and appearance... Sometimes it leads to disasters, but it's fun... Like playing a game with myself. Can I make this tough AND pretty AND from a sustainable fiber AND one of my TNTs without letting it look like the other garments sewn from it? I also try to slip in a little joke to myself, a reminder of what else I was up to while I was sewing...

    Probably I think too much....

    Jung was perhaps on to something.

    NICE SHIRT. Can you put clear buttons on it anyway?

  14. thanks for the tips about the buttonholes and how to win arguments - is this a sure fire way to always win fights - just pick them with fabric instead of teenage daughters ?! Your shirt looks great by the way.

  15. I like that you're sewing up these garments from past Otto Woman issues. I've flipped through the mags and mulled over the patterns many times.
    I love this shirt and its retro-ness. The contrast between this shade of blue and the white is very nice.
    What a clever trick the gimp buttonhole is. I'll have to store that one in my mind for future use.

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