Saturday, January 19, 2019

The Impulsive Red Shirt From Impulsively Bought Fabric

I should probably not buy fabric for a while - a long while. My fabric stash has gotten huge - and I can usually find in it whatever fabric I need for a particular project. So yeah, no more buying fabric would be a good thing, a very good thing, and I'm working on it.

Back at the beginning of this week however, I slipped up and bought 5 different 2-yard cuts of knit fabric from Wal-Mart. That's right, 10 yards of new fabric came home with me, and I had no projects in mind for any of it.

I got home with my new fabric and felt a little bad - I really didn't need this new fabric. I really don't have room for any new fabric. But it was such soft fabric, such pretty fabric, and such a good deal.

Thus, that evening I did the only reasonable thing to counteract my impulsive fabric purchase - I impulsively made myself a shirt.

At 10 o'clock at night, on my way to bed, I saw the new, just washed, dried and folded, ready to be put away, fabric sitting on the table. The lightweight dark red sweater knit just seemed to call to me - "Turn me into a shirt!" And I decided that if I did go ahead and turn that one piece of fabric into a shirt, I'd feel less guilty about the whole fabric purchase - because it wouldn't all be immediately going into my stash.

Thus, I did a U-turn, and went back to my sewing room. I pulled out my self-drafted dolman T-shirt pattern, and returned to the table, ready to attack that soft red sweater knit.

My self-drafted dolman pattern has served me well ever since I made it. I've sewn it up multiple times for myself, my mom, and my sister. I've adjusted the fit, a little at a time, until it was perfect (and the current rendition of the pattern barely resembles the pattern I started with.) With seperate, slightly differently shaped, front and back pattern pieces, this pattern of mine is the perfect base for any knit dolman shirt I could ever want. I've been tempted a couple times to buy dolman patterns, but in the end I've always decided no, I have a pattern I like, and have perfected the fit on. Why would I use something else for the same style?

The purple puffed-sleeve shirt I made a year ago is definitely my most-worn top from this pattern, if not my most-worn winter top of all time. Seriously, I wear it at least once a week. Thus, I decided the red sweater knit needed to turn into something similar, with just a few small changes.

First, I opted to make this shirt with a v-neck and a wide neck band.

Then, I decided to make the sleeves full-length with long sleeve flounces. Maybe not the most practical idea ever, but so much fun to wear!

The sleeve flounces aren't hemmed at all, since knit doesn't fray, and I love how fluid they look this way.

Finally, I decided to finish off the bottom of the shirt with a hem band, as I didn't see this fabric behaving very well if I'd tried to do a regular turned-up hem.

Now this shirt was very simple, and very quick to make! I would have had it done, from cutting out to hemming, in under an hour, had my serger not misbehaved.

My serger has been behaving just fine, no issues whatsoever, for so long I can't even remember the last time it gave me issues. But Tuesday night, when I was sewing this shirt, it decided to throw a fit. It came unthreaded more times that I care to count! So, I spent half the time I was working on this shirt re-threading the serger. And re-threading it again. And re-re-threading it. And reading the instruction manual to see if I was doing anything wrong. Then, discovering I wasn't, threading the darned thing again. I finally finished the shirt around 11:30 that night - an hour and a half after I started. Twice as long as this style of shirt ought to take me to make. Darned serger.

Anyway, the shirt was done before midnight at least. I tried it on and loved it! I wore it the next day, and my sister took these pictures for me. Also, my serger has behaved fine ever since! (darned tempramental machine!)

So, there we go - 5 pieces of fabric bought, and one already used! Only 4 pieces going into my stash now - so that's not too bad!

Ok, clearly I have room to improve. . . but little steps, right?


  1. LOL! I would say who can truly pass up a good fabric purchase? But in 5 colors is a bit excessive ; P
    Love the shirt though! Especially with the collar and hem band. And those sleeves just look TOO much fun!!

    1. Thank you! Does it make it better if it was only 4 different colors? Because 2 of the cuts of fabric are exactly the same - I really liked that color!

  2. Alyssa, I have a question about making a historical dress could you give advice? I am easiest found at or