Sewing Bee and Girl Scouts

I decided this year to do a couple things. First, I tackled the January Whole30. This was a tough project, but I am proud to announce I am almost through to the finish line with some fabulous and interesting results. But, that is for another post. Next, I decided I would sew through my fabric stash this year with the goal to make something new every month just from my stash. Mind you, it would take a number of years at that pace to actually consume that inventory of fabric, but it's a good start.

Sewing almost every day is not a challenge for me, but finishing a project with no obvious deadlines is. I can be derailed by a design decision such as, should I make this a narrow or wide waistband; or buttons or snaps? To achieve my goal of something sewn from my stash every month, I impulsively signed up for the Sewing Bee Contest on Pattern Review <dot> com. And since I'm a huge Project Runway fan, this was perfect.

The first challenge is a Classic T-Shirt inspired by Childhood. Nice! I read the rules (at least more than a few times), and pulled out my Perfect T-Shirt pattern by Pamela Leggett. Easy. But, how would I do a simple tee reflecting this theme in my spare time? And, what exactly does childhood + t-shirt look like. Got it. Girl Scouts was a predominant theme for me during childhood. That's where I went. I dug out a luscious Double Brushed Polyester Knit in Sage Green and a Lightweight Polyester Knit in Pink, both of which I had from the awesome Comfy Clothes in a Weekend workshop I hosted featuring Jennifer Stern.

The pattern was from Pamela’s Patterns – #104 The Perfect T-Shirt.

I love this pattern. Probably because I attended a workshop with Pamela Leggett where she custom fitted the patterns to each of us, and walked us through all her tips for sewing with knits answering all my questions. Specifically, how do I hem knits and not get a wavy, stretched out mess? She shared all her tips including how to face your hems for success!

Having her fit the pattern was eye-opening as well. Even though I am not a petite looking person, I do have a petite adjustment from the shoulder to bust of about an inch adjusting the armscye to match. I then add that inch to the waistline. This is something I never would have thought of, and now apply to every pattern before doing a test fit. Previously, I was always taking up the shoulder seams of RTW to eliminate weird extra fabric in the torso and thinking I was high-waisted.

This pattern comes on white heavy-weight paper good for multi-use. The directions are on a single sheet of paper in 2 columns and printed on both sides. Illustrations highlight how to measure, and tables provide quick references for additional information.

The directions are easy to follow for someone with some sewing experience – advanced beginner. The seams are narrower than the typical 5/8” but work well with knits.

Key highlights that make this a standout are:

· Neckline binding construction. Right sides together stretching slightly to fit neckline and lay flat, stitch, fold over, stitch in the ditch and trim. For the v-neck, add a small dart to the center front binding. Brilliant!

· Shaped hemline to flatter your figure.

· Gentle shaping at side seams to highlight an hourglass figure.

· Neckline (2) and sleeve (3) modifications included, and extras in additional pattern add on.

I had a great time with illustrating my childhood theme. The central theme of my childhood revolved around Girl Scouts which covered the majority of my childhood. My Mom and her best friend were are troop leaders so this was an especially personal experience for me.

I selected that soft green color for the main part of my shirt to represent Girl Scouts with a bright pink to represent the joy and love of my childhood and Girl Scout experience.

The whole t-shirt is cut from the green and a front panel is cut from the pink and treated as an underlining which I hand basted before constructing the tee shirt. This would be the color that emerged with the reverse applique technique.

To add the imagery I drew on the Alabama Chanin style of embellishing knits with quilting and reverse applique. I selected a whimsical motif and added the Girl Scout emblem for the reverse applique design. I drew the design in reverse on the inside and stitched from the inside as well. I quilted the design with both colors of the t-shirt - a sage green and bright pink. Once all the Alabama Chanin style quilting was complete, I used embroidery scissors to trim out the applique sections.

The hems are first faced with a lightweight fusible stretch interfacing tape and then folded and stitched in place with a double row of stitching using a twin needle. I chose to do this with a twin needle and not my cover stitch machine to match the thread. I won't do that again. While this method of hemming knits is typically a success with the interfacing and adjusted tensions, it resulted in tunneling anyway. I prefer my coverstitch machine over the twin needle technique. Lesson learned. Moved on.

I've uploaded everything and enjoyed the challenge! I also am quite pleased to have one more project done from my stash!

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