What I wear

A trio of tees

In addition to a ton of Historical Sew Fortnightly sewing (which I always seem to be a little behind on), I’ve been doing a bunch of everyday wardrobe sewing – I have to keep my hand in for teaching!

A few weeks ago I took an afternoon off for me, and cut and sewed three t-shirts using my adaption of the Blank Canvas tee (lower neckline, shaped sides, slightly longer sleeves, 2″ added in length).

Black and white striped tee, thedreamstress.com

Classic white tee, thedreamstress.com

Owl attack tee, thedreamstress.com

I really like black and white t-shirts.  I look great in both black and white, and I appreciate their ability to go with anything.  Jeans, black and white tee over a merino singlet, coloured or patterned jacket or cardigan = instant autumn wardrobe

The black and white stripe and plain white are fabrics I picked up at Fabric-a-Brac in November, the owl fabric I got at April’s Fabric-a-Brac.  They were all less than $2 a metre.  Hurrah for fabric bargains and stash-busting!

Black and white striped tee, thedreamstress.com

Classic white tee, thedreamstress.com

Owl attack tee, thedreamstress.com

Sewing things like tees up in bulk is such a time saver – do all the shoulder seams and side seams, switch the needle, reinforce the shoulders and hem, switch the needle back, sew the neck binding and sleeve hems, close the last bits of neck and underarm, switch the needle back to double, finish neck and sleeves, and done!  All told, it took me less than four hours for three shirts from fetching out the fabric to finished project.

Black and white striped tee, thedreamstress.com

Classic white tee, thedreamstress.com

Owl attack tee, thedreamstress.com

The owl fabric is by far my favourite.  How awesome is it?  The stall I bought it at had quite a bit and was selling it by the metre, and the person in front of me bought all of it but a funny piece with bits cut out.  The seller tucked it away under the table as she didn’t think anyone would want it, but I had a look and reckoned I could get a tee out of it if I cut carefully – and I did!

Owl attack tee, thedreamstress.com

I’ve got just enough of the fabric left to make a pair of knickers with an owl right across the bottom too 😉

Black and white striped tee, thedreamstress.com

Next up in sewing for me: a modern winter cape in grey-wool, and an early ’60s raglan sleeve shift dress in dark teal wool knit.  But first, back to corsets and blouses for lace and lacing!


  1. The owl fabric is just fabulous! And I love the way you’ve managed to cut it with a whole owl clearly visible on the front and the back, even from an oddly-shaped piece.

    • It’s pretty awesome isn’t it? It’s not the nicest fabric – high synthetic content, and not a lot of recovery, but it was too fabulous to pass up.

      • Lynne says

        Such an attractive design – very dynamic.

  2. I love the owl t-shirt. Owls always remind me of David Bowie, and the movie Labyrinth!

  3. They look great. The owl print is fabulous!
    It’s amazing how you’ve photographed all 3 shirts in exactly the same positions on the dummy.

    I’m glad to hear that I am not the only one always behind on the HSF. I am terribly slow at pretty much everything, I could never manage 3 shirts in 4 hours. You sew so quickly!

    • Thanks! I did take dozens more photographs than the ones I posted, and carefully picked and chose the ones that matched 😉

      I guess I’ve only really been behind on the HSF since Polly Oliver took 10x as long as I had allotted for Literature. Hopefully I’ll catch up this fortnight!

      T-shirts go fast because I’ve made so many, and know every step and fit by heart. And there are economies of scale – it would take me 2 hours just to make one. I’m often not fast!

  4. And I keep forgetting about the deadlines for HSF… If I hurry, I may be able to finally not quite finish my Regency stays… hm. (Not quite finish, because I may not have enough cording material.)

    The owl fabric is fabulous, but the striped tee is great, too! I love how easily the pattern lends itself to horizontal stripes – I’m definitely doing that myself once I get a striped knit I like. 😉 (More other projects before me now.)
    And white T-shirts are always good to have.

    Good idea about sewing tees in bulk!

    • Oooh…good luck with the Regency stays! Here is hoping you have enough cording, so can get them done.

      I love stripes! And owls, but stripes and white are more versatile.

      Sewing in bulk is my secret weapon – it’s much easier to make two chemises at once, than two separately.

  5. Sharyh says

    Silly question from a noice – Why did you need to switch the needle over? I am guessing you may have been swithcing between a universal and a stretch needle?

    • I’m switching between a knit needle (not a stretch needle, as that is a different kind) and a twin knit needle – for sewing double lines of stitching on the shoulders, around the neck and for hemming the sleeves and hem.

    • Oooh…good question! I guess that depends on what I want the T-shirt to act like. For the fairly sturdy, fitted T-shirts that I prefer, I tend to go for midweight cottons or viscose with a 5-10% spandex (lycra) content, so that they stretch from 10cm to 14-16 cm across the width, and have good recovery. I also like a little lengthwise stretch as well.

  6. […] this owl patterned tee fabulous? It’s one of a trilogy of tees made using Fabric-a-brac fabrics, by the […]

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