In my previous post “Refashion an oversized Shirt: Nautical shirt makeover” I focused on preparing my thrifty shirt to be transformed. In this post I am following up sewing the shirt to turn it into a cute classy nautical style shirt. I worked on this sewing project with my vintage Singer 185 hand crank sewing machine and my coverstitch Janome Coverpro to finish the neckline edges and to hem the short sleeves. I loved the look and feel of my transformed shirt! Now I have two nautical shirts. Yay!
Materials you will need:
- Rotary cutter
- Applique scissors (the ones with the round bill)
- Cutting mat
- Stay tape for stabilizing shoulders
- Fusible interfacing for knit fabrics to fuse to fabric neck facing
- Jersey needle or stretch needles size 12
- Knit fabric of your choice appropriate for a shirt or top. E.g. Jersey knit, cotton knit
- Matching threads polyester and wooly nylon for bobbin to give your stitches some stretchability
- Sewing machine: ideally you want to work with your serger and coverstitch, but your good old sewing machine could do the trick if you are working with the right needles and threads, and your walking foot
Watch my Sew Along video here:
I really enjoyed the process. It was hard to manage sewing with a hand crank machine. I kept moving my right leg looking for a foot pedal and had to remind myself I don’t need a foot pedal, just my right hand.
There is an advantage to using my sewing machine instead of my serger. For example, there has been occasions where I serged sleeves, then I made a mistake, and then trying to correct the problem I serge again with the knife engaged and …HUGE mistake…my project is ruined and have to buy fabric and start all over again or pile my fabric in the box of shame/UFO’s.
What I do now, if I work with knit fabrics that are not too stetchy, I use my sewing machine for sleeves and necklines, or when I need to match striped fabrics. This helps me make adjustments if I make a mistake. After checking that everything is stitched and lined up correctly, I use my serger to finish off edges.
1.- Stabilize the shoulders with stay tape:
You should use stay tape for knit fabrics. My favorite? “Easy Knit Tape” Batting and Seam Tape by Pellon (Style #EK150). I use white color and 1 1/2″ wide. I love it that it helps to shape necklines and shoulder seams and turning hems on slinky knits . This one is in my must have sewing toolbox.
2.- Stabilize the neckline by making a fabric facing:
You should make a facing out of the same fabric you are using and fuse interfacing (for stretchy fabrics) on it for a neat clean square neck. To do so, you must place your pattern pieces front and back shoulders matching like so:
Then you want to trace the front and back shapes of the neck. Measure about 2 inches and trace this shape.
Then cut your facing pattern and use it to cut your fabric facing. For this project I totally skipped fusing interfacing to my fabric facing because I am working with a medium weight knit.
3.- Sew (or serge) the shirt front and back shoulders together:
4.-Sew shoulders of front and back of fabric facing together:
5.- Attach the fabric facing to the shirt:
Place facing right sides together to shirt. Shoulder seam lines of facing and shirt must align perfectly. Pin around the neckline.
Then fold interfacing towards the wrong side. Now press right and wrong side.
Coverstitch or edgestitch on right side of neckline. Do this before sewing sleeves to have enough room to maneuver.
Trim excess fabric and as close to the edge of your coverstitch hem as possible with your applique scissors
You should have a neat clean square neck
6.- Attach sleeves to armhole of shirt:
You want to match the center of the sleeve with the center of the shoulder. Pin this first. Then pin the ends of the sleeve together with the ends of the shirt armhole. Then start easing the sleeve onto the armhole. Now you can pin all around the sleeve if you need to sew straight.
Sorry for this picture. Wanted a better shot of me sewing the sleeve but I had to keep moving the hand crank to sew with one hand and with the other hold my sleeve.
7- Sew the side seams together starting from the bottom:
That is it! Did not take much.