Sewing for Me: So-So Tees (it’s about the scarf, really)

Whenever I work on putting these Thursday outfit posts together, I feel very self-conscious and sort of ridiculous as I go through dozens and dozens of pictures of myself. I wish I could be blasΓ©, but I’m really not. It’s so very out of character for me to do this. The other night a friend invited me to an event and I ran into someone who told me she reads my blog. I was surprised and turned bright, bright red, and all eyes at the table were on me. Immediately, I thought of these awkward photos plastered all over the place and I wanted to whip out my ipad to delete the posts.

But the moment passed, and no one gave a fig newton about my blog (though the woman who reads my blog was very kind).

And I have to say, I am much more comfortable in front of the camera now, and I like being able to look back on all the things I’ve been sewing/creating for myself. It’s fun to see the progress (if any) I’m making, the successes and failures and everything in between. And these tops I made are smack-dab in the “in between” category.

So let’s talk about that. I usedΒ Butterick 5335Β for these simple, raglan tees. They aren’t knocking my socks off and a lot of it has to do with the dreaded waviness at the hems that I couldn’t iron out (I tried, oh I tried). Still, I don’t think they’re horrible. They’re just not all that great.

I made the navy one first and used some tissue weight jersey knit with lovely drape. The curse of the crazy long torso resulted in basically a cropped top, and I wore my high-waisted jeans (aka: my mom jeans) reminiscent of the 70s in order to avoid flashing you with my belly. See the waviness at the sleeve and bottom hem? Shudder.

Of course, I could have used wonder tape or other clever tricks to avoid the undulating hems, but could I be bothered? No, I just decided to add my favorite scarf to hide my lackluster tee.

I do like the raglan style and it’s so fast to sew, I decided to try another. I didn’t have much of the pink knit, and according to the bit of paper stapled to it, it’s a Michael Levine fabric. Super soft, very comfortable, really stretchy. I didn’t have enough for the sleeves, so I dug through my scraps and found the coral stripes I used for this top here. I kept my fingers crossed that it would look cute.

It’s kinda sorta cute, I guess. I opened up the neckline and added about five inches to the length and now it’s a little too long, methinks. And nope, still couldn’t get the waviness under control…

So again, let’s hide behind the scarf. The scarf. The moment I saw it last winter in a darling little boutique, I knew we were meant to be together. It’s a cotton/acrylic blend, and I usually avoid anything with acrylic – however, this is the softest, most versatile scarf I’ve ever owned. It’s basically a mini blanket/pashmina (without the luxe pashmina fiber content). It matches pretty much everything in my wardrobe, which, I guess if you only own neutral colors like I do, isn’t such a rare occurrence.

Anyway, it’s my fave. And I think the scarf may elevate the ho-hum tees to an acceptable level. What say you?

31 thoughts on “Sewing for Me: So-So Tees (it’s about the scarf, really)

  1. I am pregnant and have been trying to sew maternity t-shirts, also with so-so results. Darn wavy hems & sleeves! I like both of your shirts, but the pink one is my favorite, and I love your shoes that you are wearing with that one.

    1. Thanks Kelly! The wavy hems get me every time, though these are possibly the most obviously wavy to date. I dream of a cover stitch machine…I love the shoes too — a lucky Anthro sale find!

  2. I also would be self conscious posting photos of myself. I guess we are all self-critical aren’t we? That’s why my blog is full of pics of my girls – they are much more photogenic than me!!! You look great:))

    1. Oh, thank you Suz — K is about a million times more photogenic than I am. But since I crop her face for Internet safety reasons, and because I like it when I get to see people’s faces on blogs, I decided I might as well show my mug (plus, less editing work!) πŸ™‚

  3. I like them both and think the scarves look fab! I’m wondering if you use a twin stretch needle for your hems? That’s helped me lots but I do tend to break them at an alarming rate ( 3 this week)

    1. I have to confess that I’ve never used twin needles precisely for that reason! I keep reading how they break or don’t work well and though I have several twin needles in my supplies, I haven’t worked up the courage yet. Must change that since these wavy hems are starting to drive me batty!

  4. I absolutely love the second outfit. the shirt, pants, and shoes totally suit your body! I think the neck cut and the length are spot on. Its comfort mixed with, this is cuter than a basic t so I look put together πŸ˜‰ I really appreciate you sharing your sewing journey with us.

  5. I like the blue one…”blue love moment of life”. Although you look so pretty with the coral, i think the colour it suits you very well. I don’t know very much about knit fabric, but I have been working because I got a new overlocker -me dancing happily- and I found this blog, where she shows how to make hems with overlocker, maybe could work for the t shirts…I did try it in some trousers hem and they look fine.

    1. Hooray! Overlockers/sergers are so handy when it comes to knits and finishing raw edges! Thank you so much for the link (love Emma en Mona!), very helpful. I’m going to learn how to produce professional looking knit hems even if it kills me πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks, Clare! It’s always a pleasant surprise when fabric shortages result in fun and unexpected combos πŸ™‚

  6. (So itΒ΄s four people reading your blog now! πŸ˜‰ wow!) Definitely kinda sorta cute! Especially with the matching shoes! I think they make great everyday clothes, and really, who is going to notice the hem but you? But I know what you are talking about and appreciate it a lot, that you share all this. It helps me be more confident about my own stuff. When I am in danger of being too much of a perfectionist, I always think of how the Navajos deliberately weave a mistake into their blankets as a reminder, that life is not perfect. So a wavy hem is good every now and then! (And yes, that scarf rocks!)

    1. Haha, I really don’t have a huge number of readers, which is why I was surprised that this woman reads my blog! I love your reference to the Navajo philosophy, Ute. It’s such an important perspective to maintain, especially in this airbrushed/Pinterest-y world we live in that makes perfection seem necessary.

  7. I love that you share these posts with us. I second the double needle and walking foot. I use a stretch double needle. Also I tend to not hem all my knits especially the thin ones or ones that curl. I don’t mind the look.

    1. Ah! The walking foot! That’s another thing I need to add to my arsenal. I’ve tried not hemming some of my knits, and like you, I don’t mind the look in most cases. These tops were more experimental to see if I would like the style so I made them hastily but my goal is to conquer knits and wavy hems πŸ™‚

  8. I recently sewed up a top for myself and, since it was a pattern test, had my husband take pictures of me. Mind you, he’s been taking weekly photos as my pregnancy has progressed, but this was different. I look so awkward and crazy! I guess I’ll have to get over it… I’m posting about the top next month. AFTER we take some new photos. Fake it til you make it, I suppose.

    I love the pink top. I’m like you–I can’t be bothered with extra steps that might produce a better result. I want to finish this–the sooner, the better!

    1. It makes me happy to hear you’re taking weekly photos of your pregnancy, Tasha – you will treasure those pics! I wish we had done that. Instead, I have two photos of me at the very end of my third trimester, looking sweaty and ready to give birth to quadruplets…not the best look for me. πŸ™‚

      And yes, I zipped through these tops but I do want to try slowing down in the future….famous last words.

  9. I really like the pink tee, although both ts look great on you. The shawl colours complements both ts, how versatile! I like hiding behind shawls and cardigans πŸ™‚
    I’ve had a blog for many years now but I still post headless shots of myself. I’m still not comfortable enough to post pics of my face. I started the blog back when knitblogging took the worldwideweb by storm and headless shots were the norm. Now very few people post headless shots of themselves and I’m beginning to feel like I’m kind of the weird one out.

    1. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with headless shots, Erin! I totally respect people who opt not to show their faces, since sometimes I do feel like, “what the heck am I doing, showing my silly face all the time??”

      Shawls and cardigans are so cozy and excellent for hiding, I find πŸ™‚

  10. Oh, what an awesome compliment – thanks Shelley! I live in jeans all year round and I’m pretty picky about fit. I have many pairs but mainly because I never let go of them once I’ve found a pair that fits (you should see the mending on some). I’ve had some pairs for ten years!

  11. Hi Sanae,
    i’m glad to read that youre feeling better in front of the camera now, and i think we all can see it in your photos. Me thinks of one of the photos from the mini-me-post, you are all smiles and look so relaxed. The shirts look lovely. A own a wavy-hem-shirt, bought in a little shop somewhere in italy, so if someone raises his eyebrows about the hem, pretend it has to be just like that!
    I love colorful scarves and accesoires. I always think of the as the right balance for my “colorful” (do you remember) wardrobe. The scarve has a very versatile color range, suits the light and dark tones in your wardrobe very well.


    ps. i see we are familiar souls, your balet slippers wiht the pink caps look just like mine: light suede leather with a coral patent leather cap.

    1. How funny! My shoes are all suede and the pink part has a subtle ombrΓ© effect. We are familiar souls! I’m so glad you took me about the wavy hem shirt – I will totally tell people it’s supposed to be like that now πŸ™‚

  12. I love that raglan tee! And no, I don’t think it’s too long (but I tend to like my tshirts longer on both myself and the girls). Does Wonder Tape help with wonky hems? If so, I must try it as I struggle with that as well. I just made a tissue weight tee for one of my girls and ended up binding the bottom hem in a cute handmade bias tape. A cute detail that also added a nice weight to pull the hem down a bit.
    Your first paragraph reminded me of Eleanor Roosevelt’s quote to “Do something everyday that scares you.” Kudos to you for going out of your comfort zone for us, your blog fans:)

    1. Thank you, Lucinda! I’ve read about wonder tape and stay tape and tissue paper and countless other tricks for stabilizing knit hems. I usually have pretty good luck with serging the raw edge, folding it up once and using a zig zag stitch to sew in place, but it doesn’t work as well on thinner knits…I love the idea of bias binding, I’ll have to try that!

  13. The coral striped and pink one is great! The neckline is very flattering. I have quite a few awkward photos of myself as well. It’s so much easier getting little ones to pose and look adorable! I’ve just started getting comfortable with knits and I use a double needle for the hems–so far, no waviness and no broken needles! I look forward to your outfit posts each week!

    1. You’ve convinced me to try the double needle, thanks April! I have another knit project underway and I’ll give it a go. I’m so flattered that you check my blog regularly, thank you so much for your lovely comment!

  14. I am loving the pink one, I think I will try a raglan tee myself now. I wonder how it would look if you did ribbed bands around the arms and neck. It is easier to get smooth than to thin stuff. Tissue jersey is the worst for wavy hems. I Can get the mostly smooth after about 7 million projects but if I am sewing for one of my little ones I just embrace the waviness and do lettuce hems.

    1. I love the idea of a ribbed hem, especially for the navy one because it’s too short. Thanks for the tip, Jenny and raglan tees are so quick to sew, definitely worth a try!

  15. Great pattern review. I keep wanting to make tees for me but haven’t found many non pilly cotton or other natural fiber knits in colors and weights that I like. I did start using knit stay tape, which is pretty much the best thing ever to eliminate wavy hems. πŸ™‚ and your scarf may have changed my mind about scarves.

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