Tag Archives: Jersey Fabric

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.

High waisted black winter dress

Hi,

Welcome to the second of my winter dress blogs for this new year, 2015.

I’m trying to keep nice and cosy as the weather gets a bit chilly while continuing to wear my dresses rather than reverting to trousers/pants to keep out the cold. Im super excited about adding more fabulous garments to my winter wardrobe.

The inspiration for this black and grey dress comes really from looking at some pictures of “celebs” in their winter wear, in particular Victoria Beckham, and noticing how she manages to dress in warm winter skirts and dresses but still manages to look as stylish as always.

So I’ve pinned the Victoria Beckham in a pencil skirt and black top looking elegant.


To be my starting point. I don’t usually do vintage but I think there is a bit of the vintage pencil skirt about this design idea. I’ve also made a quick sketch, which I always like to do as part of my making process. This helps me make better fabric and pattern style choices.

High Waisted Dress - Sketch
High Waisted Dress – Sketch

The two fabrics I’ve selected for making this dress are both heavy weight jersey. The grey jersey has a woven floral design on it, not printed, and the black is simply a solid colour. Both have a two way stretch, although a lot more so in width than the length, which will be good for the comfort and fit.

I made the pattern pieces by redesigning my basic sheath dress pattern. I wanted it to give the illusion that is was a high waisted skirt with a little black, long sleeve top. So I cut the pattern in two at a line 3 inches or 8 cm above my natural waistline. Then I added the seam allowances onto both the new skirt part of the pattern and the new top part so that they would still be the correct length when sewn back together.

High Waisted Dress - Fabric pattern
High Waisted Dress – Fabric pattern

The jersey fabric was extremely easy to sew together with my sewing machine and it went together fast. When I cut out the fabric pattern pieces I was mindful to make sure that the widthways stretch was going around the body. I keep trying the dress on, checking for the fit. I wanted it to be quite snug and figure hugging but at the same time not too restrictive.

High waisted dress fitting
High waisted dress fitting

While doing the fitting I decided to take the waist in by a total of 4 inches. WOW! This was because of the stretch in the fabric which was probably a little more than I had anticipated. Jersey fabrics do vary greatly in this respect. You can measure for the amount of stretch before starting a project and next time I use jersey fabric I will do this better. I also took about 6 inches off the seams tapering down towards the bottom of the hem just below the knee.

High Waisted Dress - inside seams
High Waisted Dress – inside seams

The original dress pattern has a zip in the back seam however, much to my delight, when I was trying the dress on I realised that the stretch in the fabric would allow me to sew the back seam up and have the dress as a pull on over the head.

High Waisted Dress - Neck facing
High Waisted Dress – Neck facing
High Waisted Dress - Neck facing
High Waisted Dress – Neck facing

I made the pattern pieces for the back and front neck facings by cutting up the bodice pattern pieces. Because I draw out my own pattern pieces I don’t mind cutting into them and making alterations. If I want to make the same style of dress again in the future, there would probably be an aspect of it that I would want to change and do differently anyway. However, if I invest in a commercial pattern someone else has produced then I don’t tend to cut into it, I trace it off and alter it from there, especially if it comes in multiple sizes. Look carefully at the sizing on commercial patterns, they are usually not the same as clothing sizes for shop bought RTW. The pattern sizes tend to come out a size or two smaller. Old vintage patterns can come out even smaller so always check the measurements against your own body measurements and make any necessary alterations to the pattern before you begin.

I am very pleased with the finished fit of this high waisted black winter dress. The vintage look certainly shows off the waist. It’s nice to be able to wear a figure flattering outfit at this time of year. So often winter clothes are shapeless and baggy. The fact that there is no zip to worry about is a big bonus too. I shall enjoy wearing this mock 1950 vintage pencil skirt/dress everywhere. It is everything I wanted it to be, comfortable,warm and a little bit stylish.

High waisted black dress
High waisted black dress

What do you think of this dress? Do you think I should have put the zip in the back after all? Please let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading

Happy sewing