Adventures with Knits

I did a little sewing for myself this week -- a knit shirt. This was sort of an adventure, as it was my first time working with knit fabric (except for actually knitting the fabric -- and this was somewhat different!) I think it turned out fairly well, although there are some things I would do differently another time.

Here, also, is the debut of a new look for me - glasses! I've never had them before but at my most recent visit to the eye doctor I was pronounced slightly near-sighted, so I have glasses for everything but reading, sewing, and other close work. I really only need them for driving, and for recognizing people at a distance, but they do make the world a little clearer! I'm still getting used to seeing my reflection with them, though.

Just to make things more difficult for myself, I didn't use a pattern specifically designed for knit fabric, but started with the Sense and Sensibility Regency Gown pattern and made alterations. I blended the back and side back pieces into one smooth piece, and took out the back opening so that it just pulls on over the head. I lengthened the bodice a bit because this is definitely meant as a modern garment -- no stays! -- so I knew I'd need extra length. Then I ended up trimming off quite a bit because I'd lengthened it too much, and it still could've been a little shorter. Oh well!

I used the width of the "gathered bodice" pattern piece from the ELC pattern to alter the bodice front - I think I added even more width for gathers than that pattern has. I do wear this with a camisole because otherwise the soft gathers tend to fall in the middle, placing more emphasis on my bosom than I'm comfortable with. But it works very well with the camisole. The gathers are stitched down at the "waist", and at the neckline there is a narrow casing with small round elastic to draw up the fullness. Originally the neckline gathers were to be stitched as well, and the neckline finished with self-binding, but the whole shirt ended up a little less "structured" than I had originally planned and so I thought elastic worked well.

This photograph is not a good shot of the shirt at all. But I had to show off my cute little mop of a dog! It's not a bad look at the sleeves, either. I used the Regency short sleeve, but slashed and spread it to be wider, and then added about three inches to the length. It ended up very gathered, just as I'd hoped. Originally the sleeve bands were going to button closed, but they stretched so much as I sewed them that the "tabs" I'd planned ended up wrapping almost around to the underarm seam, so I just stitched them down. They're loose enough that they don't need to unbutton to be put on, anyway.

The "belt" at the raised waist was going to button, as well, but since I changed the design of the sleeve bands I decided to go with a less structured look at the waist as well. I ended up making a belt out of the extra fabric I cut from the "skirt" of the top -- which was almost a tunic before I trimmed it -- and then making a twisted loop of another piece of fabric to hold the belt closed. I don't have any very good photos of this (although I'm not sure it's photo-worthy either!) so I'm sorry if that's confusing. Maybe I'll get a picture of it at some point.

Altogether, I'm fairly pleased with this project - I love the colour, and the shirt is very comfortable to wear. For a first attempt at working with knits I think it came out pretty well.

(We've had gorgeous snow the last few weeks, but the last few days we've been in the midst of the usual January thaw - so though there is snow on the ground in all these photos, I was perfectly comfortable outside in short sleeves!)


  1. So, so cute! I have a shirt from Old Navy that's similar -- but yours fits MUCH better! Oh ideas to make "some day".


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