T-Shirt Up-cycle Sew Along

Day Three: Sewing the Shirt

We made it to day three! This part is the most fun in my opinion.

As far as construction goes, I’m going to encourage you to follow the tutorial from the patterns I recommended.

All I’m going to add is a few tips I’ve learned along the way.

Here’s what you’ll need for Day Three:

  • Sewing machine and/or serger
  • Ballpoint needle
  • Scissors
  • Fusible hem tape
  • Ballpoint straight pins
  • Cut shirt from day two

A Few Housekeeping Notes:

When you’re working with knits, you will need to see with a stretch stitch. I usually use my serger in everything, until I get to the hemming, and then I switch to a double ballpoint needle on my sewing machine.

If you don’t have a serger, that’s okay. Almost sewing machines come with a stretch stitch. My machine’s stretch stitch is 05.

**You also need to make sure you’re using a ballpoint needle to sew! This needle is made for knits– a regular sharp needle will not work.

Here are my tips:

Tip One: What To Do When You Forget To Transfer The Markings From The Pattern

It is still possible to make this shirt, even if you forgot the notches. Raglan shirts are easy to tell the front from the back, because the back sleeve line is longer than the front. On the sleeve piece itself, the back comes up higher than the front. That’s how you’ll know what parts to put together. (See pics below.)

Tip Two: Preparing The Neckband

This tip is great for if you forgot to mark your center front and back, and will help you to “quarter” your neckband accurately.

First, fold the shirt so that the sleeve seams are meeting each other at the neck hole. Pin the Center Front and Center Back.

Then, make your Center Front and Back pins meet each other at the neck hole. Mark with pins. Now you’ll have 4 pins placed in the neck hole, which is marking your quarter points for you.

Now you can pin your quartered neckband to your quartered neck hole. I always put the seam in my neckband in Center back. Match all pins together. **Note- the neckband is smaller than the neck hole. When you sew, you’ll have to stretch the neck band BUT NOT the shirt. **

Tip Three: Hemming and Top Stitching

I failed to point out on day two when we were cutting that I kept the original hem on the shirt. This cut down my sewing time for me! I like to use a double ballpoint needle when hemming. It gives a professional look, and it is a stretch stitch which is needed when working with knits.

After sewing my shirt together and sewing on the neckband, the only thing I had left to do was hem the sleeves. I also like to topstitch(understitch) the neckline, so that my seam will lay flat. I do both of these with a double needle on my sewing machine. I had some maroon and navy thread in my machine from my last project, and I liked how it looked on this shirt, so I kept it that way!

I was able to hem my sleeves by folding 1/2″ under and stitching with my double needle. This worked great with the medium weight fabric I used for the sleeves.

** If you have a lighter weight fabric, hem tape or interfacing will be your best friend. It will stabilize the fabric so that your double needle stitch won’t cause tunneling. **

I also used the double needle on the neckline.

Annnd we are finished! I love the way I was able to bring this old shirt back to life.

If you’ve got questions on anything from this sew-along, please feel free to contact me or leave a comment below!

Happy sewing!

❤ Kayliegh

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