Thursday, October 18, 2007

It's The T-Shirt...T-Shirt Cabana

It's the Weekender Cabana T shirt by Hot Patterns.

I bought this last week, not that I need more T-shirt patterns, because I am capable of drafting my own variations as a take off on my trusty "Nancy Erickson 1960" T shirt base pattern. But I love, love, love comparing different drafts, so I bought this. It's a good pattern!

This is a relaxed style, and I used 100% cotton knit with about 25% stretch. I got it from Ressy's Co-Op on Yahoo Groups. The shirt is meant to be loose fitting at the waist and hip - as it says on the pattern envelope, "slight A Line". I took it in about 1 inch at the waist, tapering out again at the hip though, as I felt better in that modification.

The pattern was very easy to make. I used a serger for the entire construction, and a coverstitch machine for the hems. The only part that was tricky would be the neckband.

I'll start by saying that the neckband is designed wonderfully, in that the join of the two small sides (where you make the neckband into a circle), is done on a 45 degree angle, so when the finished neckband is folded on itself, there is no bulk, as the seams fall not on top of each other, but are distributed. (After joining the two small sides, you fold the long sides, wrong sides together, and then apply the circle of the neckband it to the neckline by sewing raw edges together.)

You're instructed to cut the neckband on the bias. And you're told that you might have to adjust the length of the band according to the stretch of the knit. So, here's the deal:

In my experience, knits normally stretch more on the crossgrain than the bias. So, unless you're using stripes, I advise you cut the neckband on the crossgrain (not the bias). (With stripes, the bias will look really good!)

But if you're cutting on the bias, cut the neckband piece MUCH longer, because you're going to need that length...this draft has you REALLY s t r e t c h that neckband to fit the shirt at the neckline as you apply it. Or you could ease the neckline in to the neckband, of course. With my 25% stretch knit, I initially cut on the bias, and could not fit that neckband to the edge no matter what I did. But when I cut a new piece on the crossgrain, I BARELY fit that neckband the edge. But remember - I used a non lycra fabric with only 25% stretch...

That said, I stretched the HECK out of that neckband when applying, and it does look fab as a finished product. So, the instructions are technically correct in telling you to stretch the heck out of the neckband when applying. However, here's my advice. Avoid the visitation of "Mr. Max Frustration" during your construction of the neckband by assessing your knit first. If your knit is like mine, with only 25% stretch, definitely cut it a bit longer than you might think it needs to be, double it on itself, and "walk" it around the neck, meaning test the length, before applying it and finishing it, so you get a good finished look without too much stretchin' frustration. If your knit has 100% stretch, heck, you could cut a smaller size to begin with, but your neckband will probably be great as drafted.


Isabelle said...

BEAUTIFUL! I love that top on you, very stylish at the same time as relaxed. That's a great top!

The J said...

(smacks forehead) 45deg join! So simple a cure...

Lisette M said...

Great t-shirt. Thank you for all the construction advise.