Woodley Sew-a-long: Getting Started

Today I am going to share some helpful tips and resources to get you set up for success in creating and customizing your Woodley Tee!

To get started, we will:

-Choose which version to make

-Take measurements and determine your size

-Make any fit adjustments to the pattern pieces if needed

-Pick out fabric

-Gather tools and get your work station set up to sew with knits

 

Choose which version:

 

The Woodley Tee offers two versions to create. Version one is made from a solid colour with long sleeves and sleeve cuffs. Version two is a colour block t-shirt with short sleeves. Choose which version you would like to make and next we will take measurements!

Take your measurements:

The measurements you will need to determine the best fit for the Woodley Tee are:

1. Bust or Chest circumference

2. Shoulder width

3. Waist circumference

4. Center back length

5. Sleeve inseam

Take these measurements for yourself or for the person you are sewing the Woodley Tee for. Alternatively, you could measure an already made t-shirt that fits you (or the wearer) best and take the same measurements off of that. 

Here are some links to similar past sew-a-longs that have more detail on how to take measurements:

Choose a size:

Refer to the Body Measurement Chart and Finished Garment Chart and compare your measurements. Keep in mind, if you took body measurements to refer to the body measurement chart, and if you measured an already made t-shirt to refer to the finished garment chart.

If your measurements aren't all in one size range, choose a size based off of your shoulder width. It is very simple to adjust the side seam to accommodate the chest/bust and waist circumference of the pattern pieces to match your desired measurements if needed. 

Adjust patterns for fit:

As mentioned earlier, for this pattern it is best to pick your size based off of your desired shoulder measurement. I will demonstrate some common adjustments that may need to be made to your pattern for a perfect fit! I will even show you how to adjust the shoulder if that is needed as well.

1. Length:

-It is very common for patterns to be adjusted for length! On all of the necessary pattern pieces we have included lengthen and shorten lines that run through the width of the piece. If you need to lengthen or shorten your pattern piece, first determine how much you need to lengthen or shorten. Next, cut your pattern piece along the provided line.

 -Spread or overlap the top and bottom pieces at the added or subtracted length measurement. It is best if you trace a new pattern piece so that the center or side lines are blended and smoothed out.

2. Width:

-To add or subtract width from either the body or sleeve, blend in or out at the side seam or underarm seam of the original pattern piece. If widening the sleeve, make sure to also widen the sleeve cuffs so that they fit onto the new sleeve opening.

 

3. Neck height:

-If your neckline needs to be lowered, mark down from center front or center back how far. Blend from the shoulder seam down to the new neck point, trying as best to keep the same curve shape as the original pattern piece. If your new neckline becomes substantially longer than the original, make sure to add that length to the neckband.

4. Shoulder, chest and bust:
-If your shoulder width does not fall on our size chart, a simple way to adjust this seam is to slash a line running vertically from shoulder to hem along your pattern piece. You will now do the same method of spreading or overlapping your pieces, as you would in the above lengthen/shorten section. This pattern adjustment is also great for chest and bust adjustments.
Choosing Fabric:
For both versions it is best to use light to medium weight knit fabrics with at least 20% stretch.
  • Easier to sew: More stable knits such as thick t-shirt knits. Interlock or French terry are good examples of stable knits. Cotton blends with 6% or less spandex content are generally easiest to sew.
  • More challenging to sew: Very stretchy or thin knits that are prone to curling at their edges. They will still make excellent t-shirts but will be more challenging to sew. Bamboo, cotton or hemp jersey blends, tissue-weight knits, ribbed knits, or athletic materials with a large spandex content are good examples of very stretchy or thin knits.
  • Colour block design idea: Use a contrast knit for the front and back top pieces. Consider purchasing two coordinating colours of thread for hemming and topstitching.
  • Tip: Use ribbing for the sleeve cuffs and neckband for a more rugged and comfortable fit. Use a contrast colour ribbing for a cool vintage look.

For the Woodley Tee photoshoot garments we sourced knit fabrics from Blackbird Fabrics. For version 1 we used a French Terry knit with color coordinating 2x1 rib knit for the cuffs and neckband. For version 2 samples we used bamboo jersey knit and cotton modal jersey knit.

Here is a link to a past blog post that goes into detail how to choose the best fabrics for sewing a t-shirt!

 Get Ready to Sew!

Now that we have most of the important things sorted out, lastly we need to be prepared with proper tools! Here is a link from a previous sew-a-long that explains how to sew with knits and how to set up your machine:

Here are links to some tools in our haberdashery that would be useful for sewing up the Woodley Tee: