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When Bad Things Happen to Really Nice Shirts

July 6, 2012

Happy Canada day! Belated! Or something!

Since last I wrote, the following things have happened:

1. Anika finished school for the year. She is home for the summer. There are now 426 fewer hours in the day to do stuff. I really like her though.

2. We went to my parents house for the weekend where we wore bathing suits all day long and played in the pool a minimum of three times a day. Both children will now fling themselves off the diving board with reckless abandon (the smaller version wearing a floatation device and the bigger one not – awesome).

3. I made a stripey shirt for Canada Day and nearly lost my ever-loving mind doing it.

You know when you have one of those days where nothing is quiiiiite working for you? You know how the RIGHT thing to do, the GOOD and SMART thing to do, is to simply set down your fabric and step awaaaay from the serger?

I did not do that.

Let me back up. A week or two ago I saw this shirt on the lovely Cindy’s blog. If you don’t follow her already you must do that immediately because she is lovely and makes wonderful clothes for her shorties. I wish I had her talent! Seriously people, bathing suits!

I really liked the kimono t-shirt. The pattern is free, which is awesome – and seriously, this shirt is so pretty on. It’s easy; it’s a little bit drapey; the kimono sleeves make it a little bit more fun than a regular old t-shirt – I TOTALLY recommend the pattern. It’s great. My hair is not. Whatever people; it’s summer.

I started to put the shirt together, thinking I’d be able to whip it up in about 1/2 hour (I’d already cut it out). As soon as I started serging though, something went horribly wrong – my stitches looked like a complete gong show. Not pretty.

I kept trying to figure out why. I replaced the needles. I rethreaded the thing about five times. I fiddled with tension; I did everything I could think of.  The left needle just kept skipping stitches on me. Did. Not. Work.

I have finally decided that I *think* the problem is just that my fabric kind of stinks. I mean, I love it – I love the stripes; I love the drape. But I think it’s just too thin or something. I noticed that when I put like a quadruple thickness of the fabric through it worked fine. So I am pretty sure that’s the problem, but I haven’t been back to look at the serger since….though I will today.

I was DETERMINED to wear the shirt for Canada day. So I…pretty much forged bravely onward using a zigzag stitch on my sewing machine.

Keep in mind that by this point I was so blindly frustrated that I was not being rational about anything. Yes. Awesome time to sew!

So basically I sewed the thing, but I completely screwed up the binding on the neck. I managed to get my quadrants wrong when I was sewing the neckband on and the result is that it pulls too tight in the front and is way loose in the back. Pretty! Wear your hair down; no one will notice. (I am trying not to be cranky and point out that this would totally not happen if I could find fold-over elastic in Canada. But so far I can’t. Grrr.)

I tried to trim the seam allowance, but you know what’s hard? Trimming the seam allowance for really curly/thin/unruly knits. The result is that it quite seriously looks like I used my teeth to chew off random sections of fabric.

As a result, I simply left the seam allowances at the sleeves and hem.  That’s been an awesome decision, because as they stretch and curl a bit more? They totally curl out and peek around the edges of the hem. As my son would say, “Yaaaaaaay!”

I wore the darn shirt with something resembling pride on Sunday. I even wore it to church. But. Wow. What a hot mess really.

To be perfectly clear, the shirt pattern is awesome. I really really like it and it totally deserves another go. I just need to make up with my serger first.

Updated: My serger is now in with the serger fixing people. They think one of the tension disks is weird. But we’ll see…..

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Hubby permalink
    July 6, 2012 2:48 pm

    When one is “trying not to be cranky” whilst being cranky, my philosophy is let is all hang out. Which is funny when you think about those seam allowances! Gotta love me… =D

    (might be the first comment I’ve given that you won’t publish)

  2. July 7, 2012 4:48 am

    Hey Christy!
    Thank you so much.
    You can either post the tuto on your blog or send it in a Word document!
    either way send me the link or the doc at
    When you email me, I’ll give you a couple questions I’ll need you to answer (about you or the project) and a photo of you if you want to!

    Thanks again you ROCK !


    So You Think You Can’t Craft

  3. July 7, 2012 9:47 pm

    I’m blushing here thanks to your effusive praise! And just so you know, I did a horrible job attaching the FOE on my wearable muslin. I thought I’d use the twin/double needles instead of zig zagging it on so it would look “more professional”. Well, I completely stuffed it up! But I wear the top anyways.:)

    I can’t see any of your oops in the pics of you wearing the top. It’s perfect for Canada Day and you (obviously) rocked it!

    btw, thanks to you sharing your lovely summer hairdos I’ve been actually doing something with my hair instead shoving it in a half hearted ponytail. Hope you’re enjoying your summer!


  4. Angela permalink
    July 12, 2012 8:51 am

    Very cute shirt – perfect for Canada Day because it was HOT and looks like very fine fabric, so that probably contributed to the problem. Turned out in the end! Hope you get your surger back soon. Great picture of Ani!

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