I don't sew with cotton knits very often, readers. Here's why:
First, it's hard to find high-quality, stable, cotton knit fabric -- the kind you find in your run-of-the-mill American Apparel, Russell Athletic, or Jockey T shirts. Instead, what I always find are super-stretchy, thin-bordering-on-transparent knits. Or polyester ponte.
Second, men's ready-to-wear knit shirts are so easy to come by that it really doesn't pay to make them myself. And it's not easy to get a professional finish without a coverstitch machine. Plus, even if it comes out perfect, all I've made is a T shirt.
That said, I do enjoy a challenge, so today I decided to try my hand at making a knit shirt with a woven placket and bias trim along the neckline in place of a collar.
My fabric is something I picked up a few months ago from Mood.
I worked from Butterick 4712 (up top), and used the front placket pattern piece (from View B & C, both knit shirts) but eliminated the extension that becomes the neck facing.
I did a lot of sample stitching (on a similar knit swatch) on my Brother 1034D serger till my seams looked good.
|Sleeve and hem trim.|
My first problem occurred when I mistakenly attached the front left shoulder to the back right shoulder (or was it the other way around?).
I realized this only after I had attached one of the sleeves. The result (below) is a mess. The short sleeve is attached to the armhole of the back piece and the neckline of the front piece. Eek!
At this point, I was ready to throw in the towel but, since I have plenty more of this blue knit fabric, I decided to treat this like a muslin and see whether I could salvage it. I trimmed off my serged seams, separated all my main pieces and stitched them together again (correctly this time). Unfortunately, all this handling stretched the fabric out and the seam allowances didn't always match.
I made my placket out of a piece of sturdy woven tan cotton left over from my recent dress pants project. I cut a bias strip from the same fabric for the neckline.
On my first try-on, the neckline looked stretched out. Yuck.
I dampened the fabric and pressed it again to shrink the neckline a bit, and the result is almost wearable. If I leave the left side flopping open it looks reasonably normal.
Next, I threw the shirt in the laundry and machine dried it. I also added a button to the placket.
On Michael, who is considerably wider in the shoulder area, it actually looks pretty good. He wants it, so I'm giving it to him.
I would like to try this again. Next time, I won't handle the fabric so much, I'll stay-stitch the collar, and I'll make sure I add the front placket before attaching the front piece to the back. Adding the placket when I did, when the shirt was all sewn together, forced me to stretch the fabric too much. I could probably also have stretched my bias strip -- but not my knit fabric -- more as I stitched it to the neckline. Anything I missed?
It's not easy to make a shirt that combines knit and woven fabric: they have such a different hand and knits -- this knit in particular -- are stretchy. Maybe I need to search for a knit that's thicker and more stable, if I can find one.
In conclusion, not a disaster but not what I'd hoped for either. Live and learn.
Have a great day, everybody!