Tag Archives: learn to sew

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 princess seam

Princess seams are shaped seams which are designed to fit the contours of the body. They can be on either or both, the back or the front of the body. The seam can begin either at the shoulder or at the arm hole and can either stop at the waist or continue down the body shaping the full length of the garment over the waist and hips. So this How to Sew a Princess Seam should help you.

The typical princess seam will curve outwards over the fullest part of the bust or back and then curve inward to shape the waist and if the seam extends down towards the hips then the seam will curve outwards again to accommodate the body’s contours.

Before beginning your project it is important to check the pattern size. Some commercial dress patterns come in sizes which allow for different cup fittings, A, B, C, D etc. This can be very useful, however it is always worth making a toile or muslin first. This is a trial garment or part of a garment to check for sizing. If the fabric you have chosen for your dressmaking project is expensive then making a toile from a cheap calico or plain cotton could save you a lot of money. When you get the princess seams to follow the shape of your body precisely you can create a very elegant shape.

Princess Seam – Step1

It is a good idea to put a row of stay stitching for reinforcement inside the seam lines on the centre bodice piece. Some fabrics have a tendency to stretch a bit when handled and this will help prevent movement of the fibres.

Princess-seam-fabric-pieces
Princess seam fabric pieces

Princess Seam – Step 2

With the side panel on top of the centre panel with the right sides together pin along the seamline, match any notching you have and spread any ease evenly. Baste stitch this seam in place and remove the pins. You want to avoid any gathering or puckering. If it is necessary you can clip into the seam allowance but not the full depth of it.

Princess-seam-basting
Princess seam basting

Princess Seam – Step 3

Machine stitch the seam, being careful to ensure that the underside of the fabric is laying flat.

Princess-seam-sewing
Princess seam sewing

Princess Seam – Step 4

Remove the basting stitches and cut more notches along the curve of the seam to allow the seam to shape the bust when pressed flat. Do not cut into the line of stitching.

Princess-seam-pressing
Princess seam pressing

Princess Seam – Step 5

Press the seam open on the wrong side of the fabric. If you have a tailor’s ham use this for pressing to ensure the seam retains the correct curved shape.

Princess-seam-bust-front
Princess seam bust front

 

princess-seam-bust-curve
Princess seam bust curve