Category Archives: Tutorials

Introducing the Lillia T-Shirt

Do you Know those days when all you want is to feel comfortable in your clothes? When you want to feel loose and free from any restrictions?

On my bedside table at the moment is a biography of the fashion designer Coco Chanel. An independent woman with drive and the determination to succeed. What interested me, when I read it the other day . was the that fact we have her to thank for the introduction of jersey fabric into women’s fashion. It is a fabric we take very much for granted now to give us the comfort and ease of movement we demand in our casual and leisure wear. I don’t know what we would do without it. So thank you very much Coco, along with the little black dress, shorter skirts and the perfect Chanel suit of course.

The Lillia T-Shirt is possibly the most comfortable top you will ever wear.

You will reach for it over and over again. It can be made from any colour or print of stretch jersey fabric, from light to medium weight as long as it has a two way stretch, so it stretches in both horizontal and vertical directions on the cloth. I included how to do the stretch test in the Red Body con dress blog.

The fabric I am using today is a medium weight jersey  lace with a good quality stretch to it. I thought that it would add a touch of femininity to the look, as well as function. So I am making the Lillia T-Shirt top in the longer sleeve version and also the longer length but without the side vent detailing. I’m making the neckband from the same fabric too, however you could choose to use a contrasting fabric for the neckband to add a bit of interest if you wanted. In the picture above I am wearing the cap sleeve option in navy blue light weight jersey, with the side vent openings.

Lillia T-shirt Pattern
Lillia T-shirt Pattern

 

How to make a T-Shirt

When you have downloaded and printed off your pattern, tape it together and cut out your chosen size and style. You can have the cap or long sleeve options with either the shorter or longer lengths, the choice is up to you.

I wear a US size 8 (UK 12) and I am a little taller than average, therefore I have chosen to make the longer style today.

 

When you are sewing with stretch fabric use a small zigzag or stretch stitch setting on your sewing machine. A ball point needle can also be a useful tool.

Lillia T-shirt Pattern Construction Layout image
Lillia T-shirt Pattern Construction Layout

When you have cut out your fabric pieces, the first step is to stitch the shoulder seams together. This is the same method for both the long and short sleeved style options.

Lillia T-shirt Pattern Neck Band Construction image
Lillia T-shirt Pattern Neck Band Construction

To make the neckband you first join the two ends together.

Lillia T-shirt Pattern Neck Band image
Lillia T-shirt Pattern Neck Band

 

Then fold the neckband in half with the right side facing out. Baste along the open edge to hold it closed.

Attaching Neck Band on Lillia T-shirt Pattern image
Attaching Neck Band on Lillia T-shirt Pattern

Pin the band to the neckline at the centre back, centre front and at the shoulders. Space it evenly. When you stitch the band in place, stretch it a little as you sew to make it fit.

Top Stitching the Neck band on Lillia T-shirt Pattern image
Top Stitching the Neck band on Lillia T-shirt Pattern

With the right side of the Lillia T-Shirt facing upwards, top stitch around the neck edge, about ¼ inch/ 0.6 cm under the seamline. Work slowly and carefully around the neckline to create a good finish.

Turn the garment so that the right sides are together again and stitch the side seams. Snip into the seam allowance at the underarm to allow for a neat curve.

Hem the sleeves and finally hem the bottom edge to your required length.

Long Sleeved Lillia T-shirt Pattern image
Long Sleeved Lillia T-shirt Pattern

Once you have practiced and mastered putting on the neckband you will be making this Lillia T-Shirt in all your favorite fabrics. You could play around with the design, for example, by adding an exposed zip at the back, making contrasting neck and arm bands or lengthening it into a tunic. Last summer I made this top from two completely different fabrics, using a silk on the front and a jersey for the back. If you try this, make sure you can still get it off over your head.

Lillia T-shirt Pattern
Lillia T-shirt Pattern

There are infinite ways to make and style this top. You can make it for all age groups and  for every season.

Please enjoy making your very own Lillia, I love all mine.

How to sew a concealed zipper

There is just no getting around the fact that in order to sew your own beautiful clothes you need to be able to master certain skills and techniques. One of these has got to be the neat insertion of a zip into your garment.

I thought we could take a look at how to apply a concealed or invisible zip. It gives a very polished, finished look and can be used wherever you would use a regular zip.

If you are used to inserting conventional zips the method of sewing in a concealed zip can seem a bit unusual or backwards at first.

Before you start

You will need a special concealed zipper foot for your sewing machine, these are different for each manufacture.

How to sew a concealed zipper

Do not stitch the seam where the zip is to go at all before you put the zip in! (this is the part which takes some getting used to!)

Open your zip completely. Place it in position on the outside/right side, of your fabric. The top stop should be 1.25cm/ ½ inch from the seam line at the neck edge for a dress or top and the same distance down from the waist for a skirt or trousers.

Pin the zip in position, you can baste it in position here if you are new to this method or you think the fabric might move about during sewing.

Sewing a Concealed Zipper image
Sewing a Concealed Zipper

 

Using your concealed zipper foot attachment, place the groove of the foot over the teeth of the zip with needle on the zip tape. you may need to adjust the position of the needle on the sewing machine so that the stitches will be nice and close to the teeth, but not so close that they catch on them.

Sewing a Concealed Zipper image
Sewing a Concealed Zipper

Continue to stitch down the length of the zip, go slowly if you need to, to ensure good positioning. Sew until your zipper foot comes into contact with the slider at the bottom of the zip.

Sewing a Concealed Zipper image
Sewing a Concealed Zipper Slider

Repeat the same process for the other side of the zip. You will now be using the other groove in the zipper foot and may have to change the sewing machine needle position again.

Remove any basting stitches.
When both sides of the zip are attached you can sew the remainder of the seam closed. Do this with the zip closed, using your regular sewing foot. Avoid catching the bottom of the zip in the seam as you sew it. You can secure the bottom ends of the zip to your seam allowance either by hand or machine stitch.

Dallia Dress with Concealed Zipper image
Dallia Dress with Concealed Zipper

I have used this method on the centre back zip of my Dallia dress, with a hook & eye above it to secure the fastening.

Dallia Dress Back image
Dallia Dress Back

Take a look at all the new patterns in my pattern store which updates regularly as new PDF downloadable patterns are added.

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Happy Sewing