Made by Me!

Sunday, 15 February 2015

The Amazing Emmeline Tee!

I spent the whole week trying to work out how to fit sewing into my schedule. I love my new job but it isn't helping me balance my out of hours sewing obsession! Also having had my first pay cheque a couple of weeks ago I have spent most of my weekends going out (because now I can without a guilt complex). Oh and I also started planning my spring wardrobe with something akin to crazed happiness at being able to buy some lovely, lovely new fabric ... Who says money can't buy a wee bit of happiness clearly hasn't met me in a fabric shop!!!

In essence my sewing time was tight this weekend and so I had to grab available time with both hands. I decided to make up the new pattern I bought a few weeks ago with fabric from a trip to the eclectic Goldhawk Road in London. So many fabric choices!!

The pattern is the first, in hopefully a long line, from the amazing blogger The Little Tailoress and its called the Emmeline Tee. Its a simple boxy t-shirt that's a perfect staple in any girls wardrobe. It comes in three versions and can be made in woven or knit fabrics. I spent a long time pondering but in the end chose V3, a lovely raglan tee that I made up in a sort of soft knit that looks slubby up close - and it was super cheap! Now I had planned to make the Nettie pattern, and will do sometime soon, but honestly right now I wanted a baggier style and something much quicker to make up and get my sewing fix in while I had a chance. Plus I didn't find any suitable fabric for it....or rather should I say I bought fabric and realised it wasn't quite the right stuff for the job (which happens when you try to search for the right fabrics by memory alone) so when I happened upon the Emmeline pattern a few weeks later it was like divine fabric stash intervention. A perfect match!! Sewing knits is still a little nerve wracking to me - both picking the right fabrics and actually sewing items together - so I prefer the simpler designs and this pattern is definitely an easy one to start with. It's a beginners dream really.

Looking at the pattern itself I don't think I have seen such a detailed instructional booklet in a long time. She breaks down the construction of each version separately for both knits and wovens - personally I think this could have been made shorter because the construction isn't that different between fabric types and because the booklet was in the end huge! She even says at the start that you may not need to print all of it out but I think you have to if you want to make all the versions over time, its just easier than coming back to it later. I don't mean it as a criticism its just a personal thing really and possibly from her part being her first pattern she would be keen to cover accurately all eventualities. You can see the hours that have gone into producing this pattern and that she wanted to be as thorough and informative as possible - well she totally achieved it.

Emmeline is quick to sew up - it took an hour and a half from laying out the fabric to completion - but it was the printing and sticking together that took an age as there are 54 pages altogether. This is always the downside of PDF patterns for me and I guess one you cant really escape but it is truly boring sticking all of those pages together. I think I started at 8.30pm and finished 3 hours later! It does contain three versions but potentially the layout could have been tighter to get more on less paper. Or you could avoid doing what I did - which is stick the intentionally blank pages together - I cant tell you why I did that but I think just because they were included I stuck them down. I notice on other PDF patterns that if the pages are not needed they aren't included so I think this would help reduce bulk. Anyway just so you can plan in advance you need to allow a lot of time to get the pattern together before the making begins. 

PDF pattern making aside the reason I like the Emmeline tee is that it is really versatile and its a basic shape you can see yourself making again and again. As you will see from The Little Tailoress blog she shows the various ways to style the tee, with lace inserts, all over lace, different jerseys, cotton..... Really the list is endless. 

Now I admit my version isn't the boldest of jerseys or designs but I realised that I don't have enough plain tops in my wardrobe so this was an attempt to rectify this. I plan on making a few more, one with a lace panel and sleeves and maybe a full lace one. I am having a moment with lace at the moment.

Altogether I really enjoyed making it - and I think it turned out pretty well. I used a serger to physically put it together and neaten the hem and then a twin needle to make the hem look more professional - I would have posted it earlier if I hadn't forgotten I didn't have any twin needles left when I started it.... I don't know why but I fiddled with the tension and tested the twin needle loads prior to sewing it but it still looks frilly and tubular instead of flat and lovely. Any help with why this happens I would really appreciate it. The test piece was perfect! This is the thing I don't like about sewing knits as I always seem to get this bit wrong. 

The scary bit was putting the neck band in with the serger. It looks good but I did manage to mess up a little bit where it came out a wee bit thinner than the rest but its on the back so I cant see it when its on! Also the cuff parts on the sleeve drooped because the knit fabric was so soft and drapey so I had to sew them down. I am not sure whether this is really obvious but I had no choice really as you could see the zig zag stitching when it drooped down where the sleeve end had been sewn in place. But you know you do have to love the quirks in your work! I think it hangs nicely. I was a little worried it was so thin it would just look a little misshapen but I think it works well. I just think because of the hem it will look better tucked in and I shall practice again to get that twin needle looking better in the future. I look forward to trying other versions.

So what do you think. Is Emmeline the one for you? I would love to take a look at other versions out there. Happy sewing everyone!


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