Lazily traced no-pattern tshirt
Between getting married, the subsequent work trip/honeymoon, guests, and the general state of having a one-year-old, sewing was not happening for me in May.
Which isn't quite true. I made myself a ponte top in the first couple weeks of the month, and then one for my friend's birthday before she arrived for the wedding. And I patched my husband's and my brother's jeans... which is sort of oddly satisfying. At least, every time I patch jeans now, I think about Indigo Proof's extraordinary jeans mending, and get inspired to... sort of just stitch more over the space than I used to. I'm not a jeans wizard.
But in the whirlwind and stress of planning for these Big Events, sewing to relax wasn't much of an option. And in the days leading up to heading off to Berlin for work/honeymoon, I kept thinking to myself "I really would like to sew, but the mess, and the packing, and the planning... I can't/I shouldn't." And then I broke. I was packed, mostly, and anyways I couldn't go pack more because baby was sleeping already. I still had a day before we left. So, I decided, why not do something quick?
I figured a t-shirt would be a great option, as I had some gifted thrifted knit fabric sitting around that would be fun. And it was going to be 30C+ in Berlin all week, so it would be good to have to Me Made May while abroad. While I'd purchased the whole Victory Patterns Arima Collection and was planning a couple of tops from that, I didn't actually have them printed. So I grabbed a turtleneck sweater tunic I'd gotten as a friend's giveaway and already cut down to a loose crop length, and decided it could be my pattern.
As it was already quite late, and I was doing this on the fly anyway, I just set the shirt down on my rotary mat and cut around the top, eyeballing a cm seam allowance. To get the armscyes, I traced onto the fabric loosely, lifting the top to see what the shape was on either side. And I cut the sleeves together, to keep them at least the same as each other.
The original sweater had a bit more stretch than the new fabric, but I figured I'd go with it and hope for the best. If I had made a pattern and were repeating this, I'd add a bit of width to the shoulders and the armscye, as the upper sleeve is quite tight. But otherwise, the shape is fine.
T-shirts are great to sew up. I added the sleeves in the flat, as I typically do for all my knit (baby) clothes, then did up the sides.
Of course, I was excited to use my new favourite calculation for the neckband, from Grow your own clothes:
l = (2 × N) − (0.0349 × W × A)
Where l is the length of neckband, without adjusting for fabric recovery, and before seam allowances, N is the length of the neckline for one half the pattern, measured along the seam line, W is the desired finished width of the neckband, and A is the angle between center front and center back.
A is best measured before side seams have been finished; in the Grow Your Own Clothes instructions, she actually recommends taping your pattern pieces together at the shoulder seams and measuring from there. But I was doing some messy messy sewing and had forgotten to do so. Plus, I didn't actually have a protractor, so I just did my best measurement on paper, cut out the angle, and held the paper up to a protractor on screen. Workable.
My fabric had excellent, near-if-not-completely perfect recovery, so there was no need to adjust for that (Grow your Own Clothes has an equation for this as well...). So I was off to the races, added my cm seam allowances, sewed together, ironed, pinned at front/back/midpoints, and ta-da! I had forgotten to DOUBLE my desired finished width before adding seam allowances and cutting... so didn't quite get the perfect neckline I'd hoped for, so seam ripper, hello my old friend.
At this point, I took to a double needle to finish the sleeves, and didn't fuss too much about my bobbin colour or mismatches, as the print was fun and the style so casual.
I still haven't hemmed this shirt, as I'm not quite sure if I want to stick to my original crop top plan and take a bit more length off, keep the length as-is, or do a hi-lo hem? I've worn it a bit travelling and thought that would decide it for me, but it hasn't, as I would like a shorter look, but the current length (tho a little weird) is perfect for tucking into my pants, and I do default to that a large chunk of the time.
Anyway, I've never actually done such a patternless thing for myself, and I'm really quite chuffed that it worked out so well. (A note on chuffed: a word stuck in my head because it's an auto-antonym, but I've never encountered someone using it in the negative sense, and I'm certainly not, anyway) Of course, I could do about all of it better, but that's always true.
Thoughts on what I should do with the hem?