Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Tee Time

I love free patterns. Have I said that before?

I got an email from Burdastyle the other day about a new pattern, and while I was on the site I checked out their men's patterns, looking to see what they had that I could make for himself as a "sorry I'm neglecting you to play with the great gift you gave me" present. I saved and printed both the vest and the Pete tshirt.

The tshirt seemed like the logical candidate, since it would give me a chance to do more practice sewing with said new toy. I had some nice beefy charcoal gray cotton/lycra jersey (enough for two shirts - yes, there's a tee for me as well, and no, we won't wear them together) and I cut, sewed and coverstitched this in about 2 hours. I'm sure I'll go faster with time, but I was being careful.

So the shirt looks okay from the front - the creases at the shoulders are because he had his shoulders raised a little while talking to one of the cats, who thought she was getting in the picture. When he stands normally, the front and shoulders fit fine. But the back is another story.

It still looks good. I've seen RTW tshirts that fit him the same way. He's really broad across the upper back (if he worked out more it would be a bigger problem, but like me he mainly sits on the couch and thinks about working out). There are wrinkles extending from the underarm up toward the shoulder that I'm a little confused about how to eliminate. The rest of the shirt fits him fine - not too tight anywhere, and he claims that the sleeves and shoulders feel comfortable.

So what gives? Do I change the armscye? The shape of the back of the sleeve? I'm a little lost on this one. I'm used to tweaking his dress shirts to accommodate his back width, and I really didn't think a knit would be more difficult to get to fit correctly, but it is. I'm open to suggestions, because it was a quick and easy way to appease someone I've been neglecting lately, and I'd like to make him a few more.

And for the moment of blinding stupidity on this project, here goes: I made the shirt. I finished the shirt, hems, etc. I ran the coverstitch around the neckband to make nice neat stitches. It looked good. Since I'm a little uneven yet with it, there were a few narrow raw edges which showed beyond the locked stitches on the underside. I took my sharpest scissors, sat down on the couch, and proceeded to carefully trim the raw edges. All was well until . . . I sneezed. And poked the tip of my sharpest scissors right through the front of the tshirt.

Swearing is very closely associated to sewing in my house. Last night they become one. After I could see clearly again, I took the shirt gently back to the workroom and cut a nice little patch which I steam-a-seamed down to the wrong side. I'll probably end up zig-zagging the edges, and now that I see it doesn't fit perfectly I feel a little better about screwing it up, but still. Honestly. Did I have to sneeze right then? Did I?

10 comments:

lori z said...

i tried sewing a t-shirt for my husband last fall and ran into the same type of folds. (example here) My husband has both a broad chest and back. I too theorized it was because the armhole wasn't deep enough, but I never tried to make another t-shirt to test the theory. best of luck. i'll be following your progress with keen interest!

luckylibbet said...

So not an expert on fitting, especially for men - but could it be sloping shoulder? I think I see it in lori z's example also, both men seem to be built similarly. It may be that you need to build in more slope at the back as well.

And you know my tag? Suo ergo maledico (I sew, therefore I swear). So true!

Little Hunting Creek said...

Oh no! I have had that happen too! I agree with the sloping shoulder hypothesis, I'd try that fix too

The Slapdash Sewist said...

I am zero help with fitting dilemmas. It does look good on him though! Such a bummer about the scissor sneeze. I'm totally surprised this has never happened to me because I am famous for frequent multiple violent sneezes.

Lisa Laree said...

Another vote for a sloping shoulders alteration; it's easy to check...stick a shoulder pad under the shoulder (sounds goofy for a t, but you're just checking to see if that's the problem) and if the wrinkles go away that's it!

Sewfast said...

No ideas on the fitting, but I do have a suggestion on the sneeze incident. I am prone to swearable accidents like that and I now use my applique scissors (you know, the goofy duck-bill scissors)to do those close trims after the coverstitch. Haven't had a hole in the shirt since! HTH...Mary

Leslie in Austin said...

Don't you see those same back wrinkles with a rounded upper back, too? See _Fitting and Pattern Alterations_ by Liechty, p. 254-5.

Carol said...

Good luck with the shoulder folds! My bloke is massive in the back and chest area compared to his waist measurement, so I have this problem all the time. The way I've gotten around it is by doing a sloping shoulder adjustment, although it really isn't a sloping shoulder problem. I found that it gives a little extra fabric and helps remove the folds. If your husband has big muscles around his neck and top of collarbone as well as a broad back, this might help you. Alternately, I've read that some people fix this by enlarging the neck line. I made about 937 muslins working on this very problem and the sloping shoulder worked best for me. Good luck. Look forward to seeing what you do next.

Connie Bontje said...

Having seen the boy in person, I would think not a rounded upper back - more sloping shoulders than anything else. Good luck! The most I ever make Mike is underwear!!

Kat said...

Did you find the fix for this, Karen? I'm not thinking sloping shoulders because you said the front looks fine. I would think the sloping shoulder issue would appear in the front as well. What I'm thinking is kind of like the upper round back alteration just to give it more room. Some type of back issue maybe?