Learning to sew and to create my own patchwork pillows, doll clothes, and "mini" quilts - was great fun when I was a young girl. We all have memories that pop into our minds from time to time and whenever I sew I think of when I was just learning. My goal was to make sure my nine-patch pillow cover was perfectly square. I don't think it was. Regardless, I love a challenge.
I have to say that my sewing enjoyment has returned to garment construction and sewing my own apparel. Most of what I sew now is simple and straightforward, not too structured. I sew all the sample garments for SewBatik and love it! The other day someone sent an email asking what she could do with our Rayon Remnant Packs and I had many answers, but hadn't actually made anything from one. [ Truth ]
I instantly thought about a patchwork tee shirt and decided to make another Simple Elegant Tee. The Simple Elegant Tee is the most basic tee shirt to sew. No sleeves, no fuss. My only concern was how to plan the strips so the side seams would match. I have to say that it was easier than I thought and I love the look of my new strip pieced Simple Elegant Tee made from one Rayon Remnant Pack.
Rayon Remnant Packs...
Each remnant pack contains approximately 3 yards of remnants. Our remnants are full 45" wide strips that range in length from 6" (or so) to 12" (or so). We organize the fabrics by like colors. My tee shirt sample utilized a blue/teal remnant pack. The Simple Elegant Tee, at a medium length, use all but one 10" length strip and a few narrower strips that didn't fit my design. I sewed strips together to make a large fabric panel measuring 57" long by 45" wide (full width strips).
The Simple Elegant Tee Pattern Layout...
This is an easy tee shirt to construct because of the pattern layout. The layout is one piece, with sleeve variations. The one piece layout begins at the front hemline and ends at the back hemline. The center fold is on the center back and center front of the garment. See Illustration.
With this layout and a patchwork fabric design, we need to construct the "fabric" needed based on the garment length. I made a medium length garment which measures 26" long. The full length of the fabric I made is 57". This took many strips of various lengths - all 45" wide.
Let's get started...
Tip: I like to leave the fabric folded and organized them longest to narrowest. All the fabrics are 45" wide, so I only focus on how much (length) of each fabrics we have to work with.
2. Iron each strip flat.
3. Thinking of the fabric from the remnant pack and the garment you are going to make, arrange the fabrics in a pleasing sequence.
Tip: Keep the darker fabrics in a lower position in the garment. I believe the darker fabrics are more slimming - so I positioned those fabrics at my bust line down to the hem.
Plan the fabric placement on your garment....
- This step requires math [ sorry ]. Let me explain. The medium length Simple Elegant Tee measures 26" from neck to hem, 54" from front hem to back hem. We need to sew together strips of various lengths to create at least 56" of fabric. If your tee shirt is shorter or longer adjust the fabric accordingly.
2. Tear each fabric to the lengths in the chart. Measure each, snip with a scissor and tear. Avoid using a rotary cutter and ruler for this project. You will not be happy with the results. Tear the fabric.
Tip: Keep your fabric in sequence always tearing and organizing from Fabric 1 (front and back hemline) to Fabric 9 (shoulder fabric). I used the same fabric more than once. You can design any arrangement of fabric you wish, but the seams will only match if the length of the strips is the same for each fabric number.
Create the fabric panel...
1. Serge or sew your strips together using a 1/4" seam allowance or 4-thread overlock stitch. When using a conventional sewing machine, finished the edges with a zigzag stitch or overlock stitch.
2. Press your fabric panel, pressing all the seams the same direction. Cut all the excess threads away from the fabric.
Lay out and cut out the garment pattern...
1. Fold the fabric panel in half right wrong side out.
2. Pin the selvage edge matching the seams. I pinned every other seam.
3. Position the tee shirt pattern along the fold with the shoulder mark centered on the fabric we designated as the shoulder strip. The front hem and back hem will be at the edge of the fabric panel. Use pattern weights to hold the pattern on the fabric, adjusting to put it in position. [ I can't tell you how important pattern weights are when doing this project or any garment project - no pins is wonderful! ]
Tip: I measured in from the front hem of the pattern to the first strip seam. This measured approximately 4 1/2". I made sure the back hem to the first seam measured 4 1/2" as well. This will help ensure that the side seams will match when sewn.
4. Use a rotary cutter or scissors to cut out your pattern.
Follow your pattern to sew the tee shirt...
1. Follow the garment pattern to sew your tee shirt.
Tip: I used matching bias tape for the neckline. I didn't have enough fabric from the Rayon Remnant Pack to make my own bias strip for the neckline. I didn't want to have a strip that had so many seams in it.
Tip: Again, my goal was to have side seams that matched. I pinned the side seams matching the strips along the way. I started pinning at the hem and worked my way to the end of the sleeve. I did have to trim the hem just a bit to ensure a matching hemline. The sleeve didn't match exactly, but I'm very pleased with the side seams.
Successful side seams ~ Yes!
I Love the Results...
I have to say that I really love this Simple Elegant Tee Shirt and will definitely be wearing it this summer. I hope you take time to make your own version of the Simple Elegant Tee Shirt with a Rayon Remnant Pack of your color choice! We hope you share your projects and your new garments! Also - what are you remnant ideas?? We love hearing from you.
My next patchwork top will be a four patch tank top made from our 72" Wide Jersey Knit. Again - I'm going to use a Packaged Remnant Pack to use some of those scraps that just pile up around my sewing room!!
Be well ~ Sew on ~
Diane @ SewBatik