Matt's Five New T-shirts
Today I have the results of the Strathcona Sew-along to show you! Matt and I had planned a photoshoot of him in his new Strathcona T-shirts in the lovely morning light with a forest backdrop this morning...but I slept in after being unable to sleep most of the night! Woops! Instead, let me present to you the paparrazi style photo shoot that resulted in the five minutes between breakfast and when Matt had to head out the front door for work. Sure, there is no beautiful back-drop in these photos and the lighting is perhaps less than ideal, but, looking on the positive side, seeing the t-shirts in action is a great way to look at the differences created by the various fabric types. First up, morning coffee and Matt's teal interlock cotton Strath: This was the only shirt that I sewed using a zig zag stitch (I sewed the rest with my serger and a twin needle for the hems). It is also the only shirt that features ribbing for the neck band. I don't think the shirt looks very home-made despite the fact that I hemmed it with a zig zag! I chose very closely matching thread and the zig zag stitches don't tend to grab the eye. This white tee (below) is made from the same Siltex interlock cotton as the teal t-shirt (above). Siltex is a Canadian knit manufacturer - the only knit manufacturer left in Canada - that creates very high quality interlocks, fleece and Ponte De Roma along with ribbings dyed to match. I am considering stocking their knits in our shop because I am very impressed with the quality (these shirts feel positively luxurious!) and it would be nice to support a Canadian manufacturer since there are so few left. While my opinion of this fabric is clearly high, I am surprised to find that of all the shirts I sewed for Matt, the two interlock knits are his least favorite. He is not used to interlock t-shirts and tends to gravitate towards thin and stable cotton jerseys. Despite Matt's verdict, I think this fabric still deserves a place in our shop and would be an excellent t-shirt fabric for most men. I think Matt's tastes have perhaps been shaped by the quality of t-shirt he normally buys (not very high quality!). Also, he likes tight fitting t-shirts that make him feel like his arm muscles are bulging out of the sleeves :P. The fairly stretchy and thick interlock makes the shirt appear larger and more relaxed than the stable cotton jersey tee that you will see at the end of this photo shoot. (Excuse the wrinkles in the photo above! I had this shirt crammed in a grocery bag to sew at my friend's house for our weekly sewing night last night!) I only managed one quick shot of Matt's thistle t-shirt made from an Anna Maria Horner print. I am curious to see if Matt will end up wearing this printed shirt often since it is a bigger scale print than I have ever seen him wear. He says that he likes it a lot but I always wait to see which clothes get worn in high rotation before I judge if they are winners or not :). Next up, as Matt headed from the kitchen and up the stairs to brush his teeth, I photographed my favorite fabric choice based solely on tactile enjoyment: bamboo and cotton jersey. The bamboo content makes this jersey sooo soft! It wasn't the friendliest to sew (slippery and stretchy) but it is certainly the most friendly to hug! Matt commented favorably about the softness as he put the shirt on. As you can see, the drape of this fabric makes the t-shirt a little bit nipply: But it also stretches pleasingly to suit the wearer as he moves: I suspect that bamboo blends wouldn't be something every man would consider - for instance, if a man is used to wearing crisp button up shirts or stiff t-shirts that are not form fitting, he would likely find the bamboo cotton jersey too clingy and revealing. Matt, as I said before, wears pretty tight t-shirts so the bamboo knit tee was not a shock to him. This is the only t-shirt that I finished with a twin needle along the neckline. I left three of the other shirts with no topstitching around the neckline and did a zig-zag stitch around the teal t-shirt's neckline. This bamboo tee didn't actually need the top-stitching since it pressed nicely but I wanted to show you how professional the twin needle looks! Actually, the only t-shirt that didn't press well at the neckline was the teal tee with the ribbing neckline. The bulky ribbing definitely needed taming with that zig zag stitch! Here is a sample of a twin needle sleeve hem: On to the last shirt! At this point Matt was itching to get out the door and was clearly very understanding of my stubborn persistence to proceed with the photo shoot regardless of his need to get to work: When Matt put on this cotton jersey t-shirt he didn't even have it fully over his head before pronouncing that it was his favorite. He said that he likes how it doesn't stretch much and he likes how thin the fabric is. You can see that, despite the thin nature of the fabric, the stiffness of the jersey (with no spandex content) results in a t-shirt that doesn't cling to the body. There is no nipple issue with this one! I'm a little bummed that this is Matt's favorite because I can tell that this is the lowest quality fabric out of all five shirts! I am curious to see which of the shirts will wear the best over time - my bets are all on the sumptuous interlocks! This last photo is Matt discovering that he was going to be five minutes late for work. So sorry Matt! And THANK YOU! So I would love to hear: Which fabric would you choose for the Strath? Do you think I should stock the Canadian-made interlocks in our shop?