TL; DR – Dedicated cutting tables are awesome, press your damn fabric before sewing, and stitch-in-the-ditch is hard, yo.
I needed something simple to ease me back into sewing, before I plunged into two test patterns that would require grading, etc. I had wanted to make the Harmon Tee from Sew So Different since they launched their Gambit Collection, inspired by the mini-series, The Queen’s Gambit. I loved loved loved the contrasting, the boxy design, and that it was a “quick sew.” It’s also a fantastic scrap-buster project, where if you have some beloved leftover fabric, it can be turned into one of these lovely tops, like I did with these two floral patterns that I LOVE, and now get TWO garments in each to enjoy.
I did the red poppies version first, with the white contrast coming from some deeply discounted white quilting fabric I picked up at Micheal’s. Both fabrics have really good stability (aka, they stay put and don’t slide around when you’re trying to sew them), so I thought it would be easier to start with that iteration, rather than the blue one, where the blue fabric is…less stable.
I was right.
I have to say that this was a quick cut (MADE SO MUCH EASIER WITH MY NEW TABLE), and a relatively quick sew, but be warned, that neckline IS A BITCH. Also, the instructions weren’t as clear as they could have been about how to pin it together. And, it also wasn’t clear when and where you needed to do a stitch-in-the-ditch (answer: EVERYWHERE). So what may have been a quicker sew became more complicated because I did a whole lot of stitching in said ditches.
I really think on my next one, I’m going to do a sew-a-long video because the only reason I was able to make this shirt is because I have some experience sewing now; honestly, if I had tried to make this shirt last year, I would have given up, or it would have turned out HORRIBLY.
Having said that, it still has some issues, like, I am not great at stitching in the ditch (aka, you can see the seams I’ve sewn). I think it’s a sewing foot issue, as I am never sure exactly where the stitch is going to end up vis-a-vis where the foot is aligned. I’ll have to research it a little more (aka doing any at all) to see if I’m using the wrong foot, or there’s some secret to understanding the foot that I just don’t have yet.
The blue floral one was even more of a beast to sew because a) the blue fabric is slippery and thus resistant to staying put, especially when trying to sew a curve and b) I stubbornly refuse to slow down and press. This is EVEN WITH A NEW TABLE RIGHT NEXT TO ME WHERE I CAN EASILY PRESS THE GARMENT. I think I just need a larger pressing mat, TBH, and I broke out the GIANT IRON that my husband never uses anymore since he discovered wrinkle-free shirts and that during a pandemic, no one cares if your shirt isn’t perfectly pressed. So if you look closely on the blue one, there is some bunching but it’s not catastrophic and much better than some of the other attempts and I was getting tired.
The only modification I made was fudging the side seam allowance a little. It’s got a generous seam allowance (1.5cm or 5/8″) and when I first tried on the red version, it was a little snug around the hips, so I just did 3/8″ instead and that made the fit perfect. This also isn’t the most size-inclusive pattern, as I made the largest size available.
The other thing about the pattern is that the front and the back are identical. So for my next one, I’m using black and white linen, where one side will be black panels with white trim, and the other will be white panels with black trim. This is partially due to the amount of each fabric that I have, but also just because it’ll be cool to have that as a reversible shirt, no?
And, seriously, I’m doing a sew-a-long video for it. Let’s do this.
But first, two patterns I promised I’d test.