Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Tee shirt Tute! Part Two: Antonia

As promised, here is a play-by-play of the ANTONIA construction. This is my version, there is already an official Farbenmix tute out there, but I thought I would add a few tidbits of accumulated wisdom ~ aka my random thoughts.

This tute is for the pieced version of the top. I did not attempt the short-sleeved keyhole version - yet. Ok here goes, first off if you plan to use multiple different fabrics, you definately want to think about your design a bit. It's tougher to mis-match fabrics than you might think and create something really cute.

Trillium tip** take the time to check the sizing of the pattern pieces. This pattern is touted to run small. I found it to run short, but not narrow and the arm length is off as well. Specifically I found the bell sleeve piece to be extra long, while the regular sleeve was a bit short ~ so check sizing before you start depending upon which design you are doing.

Cut everything out. That's pretty straightforward - right? Don't forget to add seam allowance (SA) and transfer all the pattern markings to the pieces. I usually do a 1/4" (5mm) SA on the seams and 1/2" (12mm) SA on the hems and cuffs. Ok let's sew it up.

1. Sew the front yokes to the front of the shirt. Remember the front edges of both the yoke and the main body piece are notched. (In case you were wondering which one goes in front, and which in the back. One side of the yoke is alot longer - that one goes in the back.) The yokes will be slightly shorter than the front piece -that is ok!

2. Sew ONE of the back yoke seams to the main back piece. Remember only one seam. You need to leave the other side open for now.

3. Sew the neckline band piece to the neck opening. Note that when you cut this piece, the instructions don't really tell you exactly how long to cut the neckband. I think it gives a range of between 25.5-35.5" (65-90 cm). Just make sure it is long enough to cover the neckline and you want to cut it across the grain of the ribbing so that it has maximum stretch. I sewed this onto the front, right sides facing.

As you sew, pull the neckband slightly as you stitch it to the neck opening (don't pull the whole seam - just the neckband) - that way it will pull in slightly when you are done and prevent the neckline from gaping and looking unprofessional.

4. Fold the neckband in half - folding to the inside of the shirt and topstitch below the seam line using a stretch stitch.
Make sure when you fold it over that it reaches to the bottom of your neckseam on the inside - you might find copious pinning helpful. Use a 3 stitch zigzag if you have one on your machine, or just a regular zigzag stitch if you don't, for the topstitching.

Trillium tip** Alternatively, you may chose to use a foldover elastic (FOE) in place of the neckband for a different look. Both work. The procedure is the same except you will stitch directly onto the FOE through all layers at once saving yourself a step.

5. Close the remaining shoulder seam, right sides facing. Then use a tack or straight line of stitching to secure the neckline seam.

Trillium tip** step 5 follows the farbenmix directions. Personally, I prefer to close the shoulder seam before step 4, and then topstitching. This eliminates the need for the tack stitch in step 5 and also gives a more finished professional look. But it is a bit trickier to do that way, so it's your call. Either way works. To see how this is done, go visit the Quiara Tute.

6. Put aside the main shirt sections for now. Assemble the sleeve sections and sew them together, making sure you are sewing with right sides together.

7. Once the sleeve is assembled, sew the sleeve top to the armhole opening. Again copious pinning is helpful. Make sure to match the notches and ease slightly underarm if necessary.

8. Now sew up the arm seam and side seam all in one step.

9. Hem up the cuffs and the bottom of the shirt.
This is similar to the neckband topstitching you did in step 4. You will just pin it up and sew from the top using the stretch stitch on your machine. Try not to stretch the seam as you go or it will buckle and look unprofessional.

Guess what? You are done! Fun huh?

An Antonia using FOE in place of neckband.

This top lends itself to endless varieties of design options and is a great way to use up knit scraps. You might just find yourself addicted to trying new combinations. Works for boys as well as girls.

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