Monday, May 29, 2017

Blackbird Knits: Tees and Undies

Hello! Look at me blogging two weeks in a row.  I'm on a roll! So this is going to be a quickie (I think) as I take advantage of the three day weekend to get my blog caught up with projects. Namely, some tee shirts made with some of these absolutely lovely knits from Blackbird Fabrics. In addition to the knits shown above, I also bought some tencel twill and even a satin jacquard. I kind of went a little crazy, to be honest, and do not need to do any fabric shopping for while. (Yeah, right.) See below for a picture of the whole lot.

One benefit of my recent splurge is that Blackbird has a curated collection based, I assume, on the owner's taste. I love the understated colors that she chooses--the deep blues, charcoal, almond, and burgundy--and feel like they will become clothes that I'm more likely to wear in my real life.

So I kept it simple and made one Hey June Santa Fe top and two Closet Case Ebony tees. It was good to compare the different styles to help me figure out what works best for me. All three tees are made from a Slubby Organic Cotton and Bamboo Knit. All fabric arrived individually wrapped, affixed with a low tack sticker that explained the  composition and country of origin, which was so very helpful. Even if my clothes look like I bought them at Gap, at least I know I'm wearing knits that are 55% organic cotton and 45% bamboo rayon.

For this version I made size 2X of View C, which, when cut on the fold, is essentially a front and back sewn together. For my next version I will size down to a 1X since there's so much ease. It fits large all over and that can feel a little sloppy. The neckband feels a bit skinny and the neck seems overall a bit too wide. Maybe that won't be a problem when I size down. On a positive note, it has great drape and the sleeve cuffs are such a nice finish.

For this version I sewed up a size 18 of the crop version but lengthened it by three inches. I also used the jewel neckline. Overall, I prefer this to the Hey June because it's more fitted at the neck and shoulders while still retaining the swingy shape that I like to wear. Next time, though, I will lengthen another two inches. Even though I prewashed, the fabric shrunk a bit more. Also, the swingy shape means it billows up like a parachute at every gust of wind. That wouldn't bother me as much if it were a little longer.

This charcoal is the exact same as the burgundy, so nothing to add. However, I would like to blog about my favorite way of finishing the bottom hem and sleeve. I haaaate breaking out my walking foot. It's always such a pain in the ass to get back on. My hands are just too big and can never get at quite the right angle. Anyway, so for knits like this that do not have negative ease in the hem or sleeve, I like to use 3/8" fusible bias tape stabilizer. (Not an affiliate link.) Basically, it stabilizes so that the knit isn't stretchy anymore. Because it's not stretchy, I can sew with a hem and not worry about stretching it out or puckers or any of the other problems that can occur.

I bought a bit too much of the burgundy and charcoal fabric (2 meters), while the blue was the perfect amount (1 meter). So, of course, I made a couple of pairs of my latest favorite bikini--Celeste by Ohhh Lulu. I'm always trying to reduce clutter, and sewing up underwear with my scraps helps me get rid of the excess fabric quickly. Otherwise, it will end up in a bag in my closet never to be seen or heard from again.

Normally, grey underwear makes me sad, but this fabric is so soft on the skin it HAD to be made into undies. Fortunately, I still have some fold over elastic from a Peak Bloom grab bag I bought in September of 2014. It felt good to use up a few more bits and bobs. I didn't have matching thread, so I just picked a pretty salmon pink. If you're like me and always forget how to sew foldover elastic, Ohhh Lulu has a really great resource of video tutorials on youtube.  In the future, I would like to figure out a way to avoid the doubling of stitches on the underside, but these will do for now.

ETA: I almost forgot the reason why I wanted to blog the Celeste undies again: Sarah Norwood (Ohhh Lulu) has a couple of videos that show a different construction technique so that you sew the elastic before joining the sides. I definitely need more practice joining the sides evenly, but overall I love this technique. No measuring, no worrying about running out of elastic toward the end, no bulky joins. Game changer!

Whew! That wasn't a quickie at all! If you've made it this far, you deserve a medal. Thank you for reading and have a fantastic week.

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