Sunday, September 10, 2017

The World's Easiest Tee: Hey June Santa Fe

Hello! A more accurate title for this post would be "How I Screwed Up the World's Easiest Tee." (And now I can hear my mother's voice in my head, "Say 'messed up.' It sounds nicer.") So, the recent spate of hot weather, along with an impending vacation, led me to notice that I desperately need some short sleeve tops. I recalled the Hey June Santa Fe as quick and easy, with the kind of swingy shape that I like to wear, and decided to knock out some quick tees.

I've actually made the Santa Fe a couple of times before, incorrectly that is, and even blogged a velvet Anthro-knock off version here.  My last version was a little too big, so I decided to cut down to a 1X at the top, grading to the 2X under the sleeve. I also went for view C instead of view F, which is a raglan. I love sewing up raglans, and love the fit of my Claire coat, but the last few raglan tees have looked/felt sloppy on me.

Even though version C is the world's easiest tee, I decided to make it even easier by eliminating the center seam (there's a line in the pattern to cut for this-- no measuring, Yay!) and cutting both front and back on the fold--ideal for striped fabric.

Since I was going down a size, I made this practice version in some inexpensive green knit from Fabric Outlet. I think because I was dealing with something as simple as a tee--a type of garment I've made many, many times before--I didn't look at the instructions carefully. However, I did have the instructions open and when it was time to add the sleeve bands noticed the illustration which showed the band being sewn to the wrong side of the garment. I assumed this was a mistake and disregarded the instructions.

I was even going to post on instagram, "Hey, be warned! There's an error here." Yeah, glad I didn't do that. Later, when assembling my second version (the magenta and black stripe), I revisited the instructions to confirm that the illustration was incorrect, but this time I actually turned to the next page only to find that the illustration wasn't a mistake at all. Turns out, the sleeves are cuffs meant to be turned up, which is why they're sewn to the wrong side first. Also, the neck is not a band but rather a binding. Subtle but important distinctions here.

Since I had done some pretty decent stripe matching, there was no way in hell I was going to unpick my serged threads and change course for the magenta/black version. I can live with the sleeve bands; they're actually more cardigan-friendly anyway. For the neckline, I used some black ribbing that I keep in my stash because I love, love, love tees with ribbed bands. Seriously, I would keep ribbing in more colors if I thought I could accurately match it with my tee shirt knits. But as I mentioned previously, the neck pattern piece is a binding piece instead of a band, so I lopped off about 15% (I just eyeballed it) and turned it into a band neckline. The instructions offer this as an option.

For the navy/gray version, I went with the instructions as written. I really like how the cuff turned out.

I did, however, make one tiny change to the neckline. Instead of having the binding show on the front of the garment, I sewed it to the right side, turned the binding inward, and topstitched it down. I made this decision based on a distaste for striped necklines. When it comes to neck bands, or bindings for that matter, I never know what to do with striped fabrics. Do you go with stripes running the same way and risk that it might look uneven or interrupt the pattern and scale? Or do you cut the neck piece so that the stripes run in the opposite direction? I don't really like either option and tend to avoid it at all cost. (That's why the Mandy boat neck tee is one of my favorite patterns for stripes. )

Here's another reason why this is the World's Easiest Tee (even when sewed together correctly): With a wide neckline and very wide hem, there's no need for a double needle. I simply lengthened my stitch slightly and sewed a straight stitch for both. I used fusible binding tape to stabilize the hem but didn't need it for the neckline. Also, even though this pattern has a swing shape, it's not so swingy (like the the Closet Case Patterns Ebony) that stripe matching is difficult--even for less-than-fastidious sewers such as myself. 

One last note about the striped fabric. Both are from Blackbird Fabrics (I feel like Blackbird is achieving cult status or something. It's definitely becoming quite a habit for me.) Both color ways comprise 66% bamboo rayon, 28% cotton, and 6% spandex. Whenever I touch these knits, the word that keeps popping into my brain is luscious. They are soft, stretchy, opaque without being too thick, and have excellent drape. And they're just...luscious. 

 Thanks so much for reading and have a wonderful week. 

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