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  • Writer's pictureLonda

Adding Style to a T-Shirt

Our We the People 2nd Amendment T-shirts arrived yesterday - just in time for a couple hours of creative fun before we embark on a bus trip to Washington D.C.

Here's the starting, shapeless (although great message) T-shirt:

Oe thing I did realize, once finishing my T re-styling, is that the top edge of the screen-printed image was NOT placed equidistant from the neckline, but goes at an angle... Oh well...

Here's my 'styled' T-shirt, ready for a day of travel....

Even though Black and White are DEFINITELY NOT MY BEST COLORS, I like it - makes a statement in which I believe - our 2nd Amendment right to bear arms.

I 'took a dive' into my Black Knit Stash Box and came up with the black and white stripe and the black and white polka dot. I toyed with the idea of adding some aqua or red, but decided against it - as time was an issue. I think I spent about 3 hours on this project.


Here's a close-up of the neckline:

First, I took a 1.5" wide crosswise cut strip of the polka dot, pressed wrong sides together, stretched it in a 2:3 ratio to the neckline that I'd cut down lower to get rid of the boring black ribbed neckline. I call this a 'flange' - which is just a folded piece of fabric - like piping, but without the 'stuffing cord'.

Next, I created the 'Chico Twist' as found in my pattern booklet: Nifty Necklines. Find that pattern at this link for PDF purchase: This is basically off-setting the layers of a band to create the twist. I decided to call it that because I'll never forget when I saw this neckline in a Chico outlet store YEARS and YEARS ago and could NOT figure out how it was done. A class with Angela Wolf taught me the basic concept - so then I figured out the specifics from there - quite a few of them to make it successful. This technique ALSO works on a very wide doubled piece of fabric as well. DO check it out...

After both layers of fabric were attached to the T, THEN I serged, and after that - forced seam allowance toward the shirt and stitched.

A quick word about accurate stitching. Above ALL other things I teach to my sewing students - no matter the age, is the use of NEEDLE POSITION and finding a guide to watch with your eyes - which is NOT the Needle!!! I made a video on this - check it out at this link:


The original T had short sleeves, and I wanted long sleeves - at least bracelet length, so I got our my container of T-Shirts and T-Shirt pieces, and found a similar Black jersey T. I easily got rectangles equal to the circumference of the short sleeve and plenty long from the lower body of that T. I wanted to repeat the neckline fabrics lower on the T, (yet certainly not placing white AROUND my hips!), so I decided that at the joining of lower to upper sleeves would be a great place.

When cutting a flange (cut 1.5" wide) of the polka dot, I had to be VERY CAREFUL to cut straight with the dots, so that what shows of the dots was anywhere close to consistent. When stitching that flange to the

sleeve, I quickly determined that the free arm of my big Brother Iinnovis was way too large in girth, so I stitched from INSIDE the tube. Think about it - you'll know what I mean.

Next, I added the lower part of the sleeve that I had seamed together. After a fitting, I realized I wanted the lowermost circumference of the sleeve to be much smaller, so I took an inverted tuck at the outer edge of the sleeve. Using the Stripe fabric, I stitched it to the OUTSIDE of the sleeve edge in a 1/2" seam, then turned it snugly to the INSIDE withOUT turning in the edge. To secure, I did a small zig zag 3.0 long and 2.5 wide, placing it on the sleeve side of the seam then trimmed the binding close. Again, details for that kind of finish are ALSO in the Nifty Necklines booklet.


To shir the sides, I took 1/8" braided elastic and stretched it it's absolute MOST while I zigzagged it to the inside along the pressed 'sides' (there were NO side seams on this T!).

When you do this, always remember to give it a quick STEAM from the outside to shrink it up even more. I cover all kinds of gathering and shirring techniques in my Sensational Shirring Pattern Booklet, which can a lso be ordered PDF. Find it at this link:

My helper in all of this - my new kitty! He joined our family in July after the begging by 18-year-old grandson living with us. Surprisingly, his begging did the job, and I can't begin to tell you how VERY thrilled I am to have a cat in my studio once again! He's a Snowshoe Tuxedo kitty - about 4 months old now - and totally 'owns' the Studio. Back in my retail storefront years, we had a cat - and her name was Bobbin. Fond memories....

Sew... grab a T and give it some STYLE!

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