Wednesday, April 10, 2013

(We did it!)* repeat four times from asterisk

You may not know this -- I only know it as a consequence of spending two and a half days with a two and a half year-old -- but every time Dora the Explorer accomplishes something, she launches into a song the lyrics of which mainly consist of the phrase "We did it!"  It's been in my head for daaaaaaaays.

Anyhow:  are you like me?  Are you a) lazy and b) unsure of your skills? 

Those two attributes have kept me from trying the V-neck version of the Renfrew tee for a year now.  But before we went to New York, I was in the mood to make a couple tee shirts, and I felt that one of my stash fabrics would really work as a V-neck, so I decided to bite the bullet and give it a try.  It was easy to make that decision because I wasn't crazy in love with the print.  You guessed it - another sale buy from Girl Charlee.  It's actually kind of great to have some cheap fabrics around that I'm not in love with - it makes taking these risks easier.


The lazy part comes into play because I had to get out my sewing machine AND my serger.  Generally, I sew all my knits on the serger only.  But I really didn't trust myself to get the V right with it, so I sewed the neck binding together and then attached it to the neckline using a zigzag stitch on the regular sewing machine.  After that I serged off some of the excess seam allowance.  I could have taken off more, but I was scared.  I also could have played around with my stitch width and length and made those zigzags smaller, but as I've mentioned, I'm lazy.  And yes, I know my serger tension is off.


The instructions have you clip into the V on the body of the sweater so that you can pin the binding around the neckline - I clipped in about a half inch.  It was a little scary to do that, but you know what?  It worked great!  I'm very happy with my first V.  Of course, I'll probably not be able to do it this well next time when I use a fabric I love, because that's the way things work, right?


No topstitching.  Lazy.  It came back to haunt me though because after I washed it, the seam allowance flipped up and I had to iron it down.  That's right - I ironed a tee shirt.  I do that a lot.  You'd think I would learn!  In my defense though, sometimes it's a style choice.  But not this time.

Anyhooo, here's the finished top:


I wore it on the plane out to New York, and it was comfortable enough even though this is one of those jersey fabrics that hardly has any stretch and the designs are stiff.  I like that there are so many colors in the print - I think this one will go with a lot of different bottoms.  I wore it with some old brown pants and liked how they looked together.

Have any of you made a V-neck tee shirt?  Was it scary for you?  Did you do anything differently in the construction?

38 comments:

  1. I can't believe you were scared. You've made a coat!

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  2. I love the colours in the fabric. I just got a serger and need to get brave and purchase both knit fabrics and patterns. I think your Renfrew is lovely, will have to give it a go :)

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    1. Thanks, Jacq! It took me several months after getting my serger to work up the courage to try knits, but it really is pretty easy! No matter what I make, I always use my scrap pieces that are left after cutting out my pattern to do lots of tests to find the right tension, stitch length, etc. I did that with my first tee shirt and that sold me!

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  3. Your top is wonderful. The v-neck is sharp, crisp and perfect. The icing on the cake is that fab fabric. Go in style and conquer;)

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    1. Thank you, Rhonda! You're such a fantastic cheerleader! :-)

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  4. Haha, I've been to scared to try the v-neck, too! But yours looks so perfect! Well done! You did it!

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    1. I did it, I did it, I did it! (you left off three of them, hehehe!) Try it out!

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  5. Ha, the more I sew the more I become lazy and unsure of my skills. I'm intimidated by v-necks too, and even though I've made a few successfully in a woven I still wonder if I can do it when I come upon a new one! Anyway, your shirt looks so professional, and I really love the colors in that print.

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    1. Thank you, Kelly! I have to say, since "the coat" and "the shirt" I've become much more confident, which is partly what led me to try out the V-neck!

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  6. I launched in the v-neck view the very first time I made the Renfrew, because it was my favorite neckline -- and that was my first time to do a v-neck too. Not so bad huh? :) And while it is rare for me to get something from GC that I don't love, it does happen... Usually because I'm trying to hit the free shipping mark, haha! But I agree that it's nice to try new techniques on something that isn't going to break your heart if it's a wadder. I usually end up liking a fabric more as an actual garment, anyway... Yours looks great! Very springy print!

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    1. Hehehe - that free shipping mark gets me Every Time. That's how I ended up with this fabric! And it takes longer to get there when it's all on sale, LOL! I do like it, I just don't LOVE it.

      Sometimes I wonder if some of the prints I pick out are too juvenile for me (like this one) but it seems everybody else thinks it's great, so I'll stop second-guessing myself!

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  7. Oooh how lovely it turned out!! I have never done a v-neck, but I can say anytime I have to clip something prior to sewing it scares the bejebus out of me. :D

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    1. Thank you! Yes, clipping BEFORE sewing = YIKES! But if you have to do it, better to do it on a knit I guess!

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  8. This turned out lovely. I've never done a v-neck before, but I think I'd be a little scared too!

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  9. How about using a bit of 'steam-a-seam' to keep that facing obedient? You'd only have to iron your shirt one last time.

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    1. Hmmm. Didn't know about that - will have to check it out!

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  10. I really like the print. It compliments a V neck very well. I've never tried to make one before. It seems an intimidating thing, a bit like making trousers!

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    1. I thought so too - this print seemed to ask for a V-neck. I seemed to end up with a lot of prints with an obvious diagonal design, which I think works better with the round neckline. This one is truly more random.

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  11. Way to conquer the next frontier in sewing skill set!

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  12. Love it! Note to self...must conquer own fear of making Renfrew.

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    1. I think this is a great pattern for first time with knits - the instructions are so clear!

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  13. Wow that looks great! Well done for facing your fears- I don't really like sewing with knits and as a consequence have only ever done it once! Oops! So nice to wear, I should really address this issue of mine.
    That Dora the explorer tune was the bane of my life one Summer when I was childminding a 2 year old... man do those kiddie theme tunes get stuck in one's head!

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    1. Don't they ever?! Four days later and it's still in my head! Arrrrgh!

      My first couple times sewing with knits were a little scary, and then I got totally into it and had a huge knits phase, LOL!

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  14. Oh boy...try babysitting kids who watch the same old thing over and over again.
    The shirt looks comfy!

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    1. I don't know if I could bear it!

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  15. I've done the cowl and round neck versions of the Renfrew, but I haven't worked up the nerve to try the v-neck. Your shirt looks great (and I really like the fabric). You can't possibly say you're lazy - you've made a man's dress shirt and a coat! I actually miss Dora. My 12-year old used to love her back in the day. The song that always stuck with me was 'I'm the map, I'm the map'!

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    1. That anthropomorphic map kind of freaks me out, as does the backpack!

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  16. oooh i've been looking for the right knits to make some v-necks! nice work on this one, it all lays perfectly!

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    1. Thank you! One of these days I ought to buy some solid-colored fabric - that would be perfect for a V-neck.

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  17. Cute! I still need to try the v-neck Renfrew, but I love how yours turned out :) Movin' it up the list!

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  18. Your v is so neat!!! Well done!!
    I love the fabric too - I've been making do without Renfrew... maybe I should invest?!

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    1. Well, I've now made it 12 times (!) so I've gotten my cost per use down to $1.33 - a very good investment for me! I've never read of anyone who wishes they hadn't bought this pattern!

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