Stripes On Stripes On Stripes

More progress on my SS16 sewing plans!

So remember how I wanted to make a striped tee-shirt and boatneck tunic/dress for summer? Well, I did it!

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For the most part, these should have been simple projects. They’re literally the most basic knit shapes of all time and at this point I have made so many tee-shirts and tee-shirt adjacent things that I might be able to do it in my sleep.

However, stripes really throw everything for a loop.

First, there’s the issue of finding the right stripe. I wanted a classic skinny blue stripe on a white field and I really, really did not want a ponte. Ponte is easy to work with and very sturdy and all, but I wanted something drapier.  Also, ponte pills so easily (or at least all the ones I’ve worked with do) and that makes me absolutely insane. I stalked all of my usual online shopping haunts until I found this Ralph Lauren viscose jersey from Mood. I generally reallllly dislike jersey (too clingy, too thin, too finicky) but for what I was envisioning it was the right thing so I just sucked it up. I got three yards to make both the tee and the tunic because I figured why source two tricky, almost-perfect, unicorn fabrics when you can just buy the one, amirite?

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And then there’s the stripe matching! I don’t really fuck with pattern matching much because I 1) can’t be arsed 2) wear a lot of solids and big abstract florals, if we’re being honest. (And big abstract florals don’t particularly need to be matched because they’re abstract. Thus, my penchant for them.) But this stripe was pretty wide-spaced so stripe matching was a necessity in order for it to not look like total shit.

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This fabric was so wide that I was actually able to fold each edge in to the middle so that I had two folds to lay the pieces out on, which was a pain in the ass to pin but made lining up each side really easy.  I traced the blues stripe with pins all the way across and down the length of the three yards, which honestly took two full days of laying out and cutting on their own. I cut out all the pieces in one go and then I couldn’t even look at my pins or scissors for a while. Ugh.

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The top is the Sewaholic Renfrew with the scoop neck and short sleeves. I’ve made this pattern so many times at this point that I could do it in my sleep.  When I first started making this pattern, I used to grade from an 8 to a 2 to a 0 and add three inches in length to the hem because that was what I was into then- longer and tight. Now I just do an 8 in the bust to a 2 in the waist and hips and keep the original length. I don’t add the hem band to this and it comes up to just exactly the top of my jeans.  It’s perfect, just a different style than what I used to prefer. I really like the end result here.  It’s a simple tee but it’s smooth, airy, drapey, and exactly what I wanted. I’m already living in fear of spilling on this!

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I dithered a lot on what to do to get the perfect boat neck Breton tunic. There’s patterns out there, sure, but it seemed like a waste of money to buy a new pattern when I already have so many good knit blocks I like. For a while I debated doing yet another Nettie hack, making the Nettie dress but slashing and spreading the skirt to add volume, when I came across the Plantain in my stash. Of course! Why hadn’t I thought of it before?

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The Plantain is my go-to for drapey, billowy, tunic-y tees, so I simply traced a size 40 all over (usually I grade from a 40 to a 38 but I wanted the tunic just this side of shapeless) and added length with a gradual curve in the skirt until I thought it looked sufficient. I traced and slightly widened a RTW boat-neck top for the neckline, and kept the original pattern’s 3/4 sleeves. The whole thing came together like a dream, exactly the same way any other knit block would. Only two notes:

  1. I set the neckline in the flat for the first time ever, because I had no instructions or guidance on how long to cut the binding, so I just sort of winged it and felt the stretch with my fingers as I went. Worked like a charm.
  2. When I was hemming this thing, I tried to cut off the excess at the bottom in full stripes so that the pattern was never disrupted. However, I must have gotten the stripes off-kilter at some part I can’t see, because I could never get them perfectly even– one side was always lopsided! I ended up taking off a LOT of length in my quest for perfection– I won’t be able to wear this to work without tights now! As a result of the scandalous length, I left the edge raw, but I don’t think anyone will be able to tell and I’m not sure it’ll fray. So far it’s not, but I could always do a tiny baby hem in the future if it becomes a problem.
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One thought on “Stripes On Stripes On Stripes

  1. The perfect stripe is indeed a unicorn and I long ago made the decision that I would buy any stripe I came across that was even approaching perfection. I pretty much make a striped garment approx every 3rd project I’m that addicted. Just a couple of thoughts for you – firstly I find that ponte made from mostly rayon, cotton or viscose (or,even more unicornesque, wool) is far less likely to pill than those made from polyester. Secondly I’ve just recently had the epiphany that tracing off full pattern pieces rather than relying on the half pieces is by far the easiest and quickest way to stripe match when cutting out. I use cheap interfacing and it’s been a revelation.

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