Friday, July 19, 2013

Black + silver sequined tee

I never make t-shirts. Never. My mind is always thinking they are too simple to make. I like complexity and challenge. I'll just buy them instead, I tell myself. Except, I am finding good quality t-shirts harder and harder to locate. These days they all seem to be extremely thin and made from rayon or modal. Which starts off so soft and feels like liquid next to the skin. And then it pills like crazy after several washes. Tell me I'm not the only one to notice this. Where has 100% cotton gone off to?

So anyway, I've made my very first t-shirt:


The body is made from a sequined wave cotton jersey from Mood fabrics. I ordered a swatch of it several months ago and fell in love. The sequins are sewn on with nylon thread on top and cotton thread underneath, which provides lots of strength to keep the sequins on and protects your skin from any scratchiness of the nylon. I washed and dried it before starting this project and only noticed one sequin come off (which was probably on an edge somewhere). The sleeves and neck binding are a bamboo knit, also from Mood fabrics, left over from this project last October.


Several patterns were pieced together for this project - Vogue 8536 for the body and McCall's 6559 for the neckline - both of which I have made previously. I cut the sleeves way back for more of a modern look and made the hem a high-low. After I got everything traced out to my satisfaction I made a muslin to test the fit. A few adjustments later and I was ready to cut into my fabric.


If you are going to tackle a project with sequins, be prepared to get them EVERY WHERE! At first I just sewed the shoulder seams with the sequins attached, but they were all caught in the seam and there was no way to iron. Plus, it would have been super uncomfortable to wear a top with sequins scratching my skin at all the seamlines. I tried cutting them out of the seam after it was stitched but realized that wasn't going to work either. No, I had to remove all the sequins in the way of any seam before I stitched it. I started season 1 of "Alias" with my fabric and seam ripper, and am now on episode 9. I'll let you do the math.


For the sleeves I used my twin needle at the hemline. I stitched the neck binding doubled to the inside of the garment, then graded the seams and flipped it to the outside. This way any sequins on the edge got encased in the binding and I got a neat finish to the neckline.


Also, I decided to try sewing the sleeves in flat - like they do in RTW (ready to wear) - and stitched a tiny bit of topstitching to keep the underarm seam flat against the sleeve.


Dressform pictures:


The hemline involved more removal of sequins. I decided I didn't want to try using a twin needle and topstitching, so I stitched the hem entirely by hand with a whip-stitch. You can also see the cotton threads along the inside of this fabric.


I used my overlocking foot to finish all the seamlines.


My goal was to make this top casual enough to throw on with a pair of capris or jeans, and I think I was successful. This simple t-shirt turned out to be quite a bit of work! I felt like one of those ladies in couture design houses, all dressed in white, with their needle and thread in hand.

67 comments:

  1. It is beautiful, and good RTW t-shirts are very hard to find.

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  2. Love this top and the fabric, I had it marked on the old Mood site, now have to go mark it again. Great job.

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  3. So cute! You definately wouldn't find that fit and quality in ready to wear. This is one case where the time and energy spent are well worth it. I love it!

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  4. All your effort was well spent! The top is great and will easily move from casual to dressy!

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  5. So fabulous! Love this. I too find the same thing with t-shirts. They are just not worth purchasing these days and they pill and look awful after just two washes. What a great t-shirt this is though. You can go casual or dressy and it makes this piece so versatile. Love this! More than just a basic tee!

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  6. What a great t-shirt! It's a great look with your white jeans.

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  7. wow I love the t-shirt plus sequins combo, so cute. I have one sequin t-shirt (bought at Ann Taylor) and now you have inspired me to try and make one. fantastic and thanks for the tips.

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  8. Incredible job! Nothing basic about your simple t-shirt. It is gorgeous.

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  9. It's really cute. I like the way you placed the fabric so the black was at your waist.

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    1. That was not deliberate, lol. I actually wish I had laid it out a bit differently so that the hem did not have only half a sequin strip running through it on both the front and the back. But thanks!

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  10. That is a truly awesome t-shirt. Wow!

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  11. I know it was a lot of work to take off the sequins along the seam lines...but WOW it looks Amazing!!

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  12. Amazing and perfection as per usual!

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  13. This tee is pure perfection Amanda!!! It's so cool and yet definitely and upgrade to a basic tee!!! It's amazing that basic pieces in the right fabrics lend such a cool look!

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  14. THAT is a "tee shirt"??? I don't think so! That is so pretty. Luscious fabric. I don't think I have the patience for the sequin trauma, but I'm sure glad you do. You look amazing in it!
    Hugs, Joy

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  15. It looks great! It's definitely not a simple tee, but it's very pretty. Those sequins seem like a ton of work to sew with.

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  16. I really like this! Although you're daunting me with the sequins as I'm planning to sew a sequinned dress shortly! Ah well... if it turns out half as fabulously as this staple tee, I'll be very happy. Love the wave shape the sequins make out!

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  17. What a lot of work for a simple top - but it is very beautiful so worth it. Sequins are a pest - having to remove them all from the seam area, and then stitching back on afterwards and making sure everything is secure.

    I agree with you, - a great success :)

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    1. Thank you Sarah! I didn't sew any back on... I might should have but my black thread didn't look the same as the nylon thread. Oh well, you can only tell on the side seams, and I'll have my arms down most of the time.

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  18. WOW! very pretty tshirt, the fabric is great! as you said, it's a "simple t-shirt" but with that fabric it looks very fancy!

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  19. I like the stripe placement, too! I bet you look all shimmery and liquid when you move around.

    As far as RTW all-cotton t-shirts, I have a few from Kohls (bought a few years ago) that have largely held up well. It's their house brand (Croft and Barrow, I think). The interlock ones were terrible, grew wide and short, but the jersey ones have held up well.

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  20. Beautiful T-shirt! It looks so fancy with the sequins, and yet relaxed.

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  21. Oh, wow, this is so pretty! You are brave to attempt sewing with a sequined fabric, I have not attempted it yet.

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  22. Gorgeous fabric - this is way more than just a t-shirt, lovely work as always and I admire your patience in unpicking all the sequins in the seam allowances.

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  23. Oh your "tshirt" is so glamorous and gorgeous, not really like a regular Tshirt at all! The sequinned fabric really makes is super special. The simple silhouette shows of the fabric and the wavy design beautifully.

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  24. This is beautiful, it was worth all the work to have such a unique tee.

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  25. WOW! This turned out gorgeous. Now I'm feeling inspired!

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  26. What a beautiful top. It could be extremely versatile even leaning to evening wear! Girl I've been watching you and you are amazing. And you do it all with little ones underfoot...? You are an inspiration!

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    1. Thanks Angie! I do most of my sewing in the evenings when my kids are in bed.

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  27. Totally fabulous! You made great use of the fabric. I admire your patience in picking off all those sequins!

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  28. Oh my word - I never wear t-shirts, but I would wear your gorgeous one in a HEARTBEAT!

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  30. Nice tshirt with a touch of sequins and great choice for their colors.
    Your blog is so cool!

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