Let me say that terrycloth is a bitch to work with, pardon my French. It combines all the worst qualities a fabric can have: it's thick, it stretches, and it's pillowy. You can't iron it much either. Need to rip a seam out? Fuggitaboutit! Actually, I exaggerate: I was able to open a few wonky seams, but invariably ripped out some loops as well which then required terrycloth re-landscaping to fix the damage.
I like this shirt a lot. I used Butterick 4712, one of my favorite vintage shirt patterns, and made "Version B" for the first time. You'll notice I left off the buttons -- who needs 'em? I prefer this simple look for a terrycloth top.
Layered areas like button plackets and collars are challenging because all seam allowances must be trimmed as much as possible to avoid bulk. Terrycloth is not like cotton shirting: it doesn't flatten out. Topstitching is also a PITA: those terrycloth loops form a nap similar to corduroy and if you topstitch parallel to the nap you'd better make sure you're exactly parallel or it's going to look funky. It's like parting your hair -- it wants to fall a certain way naturally.
Sadly this cute little number is not in my palette, but I think it's very becoming on Michael, whose eyes happen to be blue.
While we're on the subject of knits:
I originally planned to make this shirt on my old Viking zigzagger, but it wasn't loving this stretchy terrycloth, to put it mildly. Here's what it did when I tried to stay-stitch the neckline:
Then I tried the same task on my Singer Spartan 192K straight stitcher:
As I mentioned with regard to my 1972 tee shirt, my Singer straight stitcher handles knits beautifully. I don't use special needles, special thread, or any special techniques other than a little pinning to keep things from shifting excessively. The feed dogs move the fabric along as smoothly as if it were normal woven fabric.
Maybe this has to do with the straight stitch foot, maybe it's the needle hole being too small for fabric to be pulled through, maybe it's something particular to my Singer -- or a combination of all three -- but I had no problems with this challenging fabric. Or rather, the challenges I did have had nothing to do with my machine.
On a related note, I have a special giveaway today!
I have an extra copy of Simplicity 6249, a unisex shirt pattern from 1974. This pattern is complete and is sized for a 36" chest and is especially designed for knits. Wow!
I can definitely see adding some length and making a cute little shirtdress out of it or just leaving as-is. How cute is that His n' Hers thing? You never see that anymore...pity.
Here's all you have to do to enter: Leave a comment below, telling me your worst knit nightmare story ever, like the time your serger devoured your armscye or you stitched your buttonhole and caught the sleeve in it. Wait -- those are my nightmare stories; you'll have to come up with your own.
Gruesome photos are especially appreciated and will count in your favor, of course. Winners will be announced on Saturday, so you have a few days. Maybe your knit nightmare is yet to come!
If you don't have a knit nightmare story but you still want to be considered, just share something sewing-related we can all enjoy. Or just say hi; I'm an equal opportunity blogger.
Before I forget, for you MPB completists, you can view the entire photo album of my terrycloth shirtmaking process here or read my pattern review here.
I'm a native New Yorker and sewing fanatic! I started sewing in 2009 and today make all my own clothes using vintage sewing machines and vintage patterns, in addition to sewing for private clients. Welcome to the warm and whimsical world of Male Pattern Boldness, where the conversation is sewing, style, fashion, fabric, and more!