Summer fun has had me away from my computer but I’ve actually finished two projects since checking in here last. These projects started with a vision of a complete outfit including a racerback tank, lightweight kimono style cardigan and sashiko mended jeans, but the pieces will also mix and match with other things in my wardrobe.
Since I wear my cat shirt 3-4 times before laundering, I need another similar item for the summer and when I saw this 4XL 100% cotton screen printed t-shirt at the thrift store for $2 it was love! I roughly traced the cat tank to copy the fit and then cleaned up the pattern later. I would typically cut the pieces on a fold, but I find for upcycling graphic shirts, it’s easier to use a full pattern piece to place the image accordingly. When doing so, I realized the image was too high to keep the original shoulder seams (which is ideal), so I had to improvise and piece together the straps.
So…the straps. I pieced them together in order to center the graphic and was all pleased with myself using this as an opportunity to add design details (the 3 stitching lines across the strap). Then I attached the neck binding. It was too long and sagged terribly. Had a date with my seam ripper and the second attempt was still a mess. I could tell the worn cotton couldn’t handle the seam being removed and re-sewn a third time so I was forced to cut the entire binding off, losing width all the way around. My solution was to sew stay tape around the neck and armholes, roll to the inside twice and top stitch. This was mostly successful, but now that the strap was thinner than planned, the topstitching overlapped. Had I used matching thread it wouldn’t be so noticeable but I was feeling confident and thought contrast would be fun. Luckily, when I’m wearing it, it doesn’t scream “home sewing fail” like this close-up photo does and it was a good learning experience. I ended up using stay tape around the bottom and hemming in a similar fashion and I really like the way it hangs and keeps it’s shape, so not all was lost. I’ve worn this multiple times already styled a few different ways: for the beach, a typical day with my toddler and a date night. Very functional and I love the print which looks just like my home in Ventura…still trying to figure out if it actually IS a photo of Ventura. Not sure yet.
Now for my simple summer kimono. I used one of the many tutorials on Pinterest and basically cut a rectangle with a slit up the middle and a sloping side seam to create a sleeve, added some french seams and basic rolled hems and called it good. It took all of 2 hours from start to finish. I bought this fabric 16 years ago when I was a fashion design student at one of the shops in the LA garment district that sold $1/yd fabric with a 3 yard minimum. Pretty cool such an old cut looks so current and that my taste has stayed so consistent! The photo’s from Instagram, but when I went to take a proper photo my camera battery was dead to I decided to just use this and get on with more sewing 🙂