Oliver&S Field Trip Sew Along Day 2: Starting Your Shirt

Welcome back to the Sew along in conjunction with Whimsical Fabric!!!   If you are sewing along with us, don't forget to join the Whimsical Fabric Sew Along Group so that you can enter for sweet participation prizes!!!

Today we are going to get started on our Field Trip Raglan T (a 'raglan' is a syle of shirt where the sleeve forms fart of the neckline - these are super simple to construct and very popular!)

Go ahead and turn your iron on so that it is getting nice and hot while we prep!

You already have your fabric cut, you are going to want to lay out your pieces and make sure that you have marked all your markings. (*You can mark these with a fabric pen, pins, or 1/4inch cuts into your fabric.)

We are going to start with the construction of the Front of the Shirt.

Take your pocket piece:

  • Finish the edges of the pocket (use your serger or a zig zag  OR don't... knits wont fray, all of these edges will be turned to the inside and not visible, so this one time I give you permission to NOT finish the edges.... shhhhhhh, don't tell).  I serged my edges.. I like to follow the instructions to the letter when making a pattern for the first time... well, most of the time ;o)
  • Fold down the TOP(straight edge) of the pocket 3/4in towards the RIGHT side and press.  *Tip: when working with knits, set your iron straight down and use steam... as you move forward, lift the iron slightly and move ahead.  If you press down as you iron, you can end up dragging the fabric and ironing in wrinkles ;op 
  • Stitch from the folded edge on one side along the pocket edge and up tot he folded edge on the other side.
  • Turn the fold right side out.  Using a chopstick or turning tool gently press out the corners.
  • Along the bottom curve, sew a basting/gathering stitch 1/4in from the edge (I sewed on top of the serging)
  • Pull the bobbin thread to gather the curve until it curves up along the stitching line
  • Carefully press the pocket into shape.  GO slow and use lots of steam!
  • Top stitch along the unfinished edge of the top of the pocket. Make sure to back stitch at each edge.
Voila a Pocket! (clip all your loose threads)

Now to place this bad boy on your shirt.  You can mark the pocket placement with a disappearing ink pen, chalk, pins, or you can use my super secret pocket placement method...

  • Lay your Paper Pattern Piece on top of your Fabric Piece. 
  • Lay your Pocket on top of the pocket placement guide.
  • Gently place your left index finger on top of your pocket
  • Slide the Paper pattern out with your right hand.
  • Pin the Pocket in place so that it wont move while sewing *You can pin along the edge, or as you get more confident you can pin in a T formation (one pin vertically and one horizontally, this will make sure that the pocket doesn't shift while sewing and also allows you to leave your pins in place while sewing)
Lets get Sewing!!!
*If you have a Walking foot, I recommend using it!  I don't, so if you don't - no worries!  You want to support your fabric with your left hand while sewing with knits, be careful not to stretch the fabric as you sew the following sections.
  • Sew along the edge of your pocket making sure to back tack at the beginning and the end. (go SLOW around the curves, you may need to lift your presser foot and rotate the fabric slightly every couple of stitches to not stretch out the fabric or have it buckle)
Now we get to construct the shirt.  This is so easy, we are going to sew 6 Seams. And then we will be done for the day.
Couple of Notes:
  1. If you have a serger that is the #1 tool I recommend for the body construction.  Make sure you are using the 4 thread setting so that you are using BOTH needles.  We are using 1/4 inch seams which means we won't cut off any fabric.  If you are not super comfortable with running your fabric along side your knife, drop the blade. *lift your foot and slide the fabric under the foot and set the foot back down before you start sewing - this will keep your fabric from getting caught up as you start.*
  2. NO serger, NO problem!  You can either use a zig zag stitch (remember that it is a 1/4 seams allowance, so the furthest the needle should go to the left is 1/4 from your raw edge.
  3. OR you can use a long straight stitch.  Yep - it is true.  A long straight stitch will work just fine for these seams (this will not work well later for the neck, but for the body construction you are good to go)
  4. Use a BALL POINT NEEDLE, pretty please, just use one.
Now lets do this thing!
  • Take your Shirt front and lay it right side up (it is easy to tell your front because it has a pocket attached!)
  • Take one of your sleeve pieces and lay it Right side DOWN on top of the front matching up the curves of the arm hole. (the front curve is marked with ONE notch)
  • Pin along the curve (make sure to pull the pins as you sew!!!)
  • Sew using your preferred method (Go slowly and do not stretch the fabric as you sew - it will cause puckering)
  • Repeat for the other sleeve front curve
  • Now Take your front with sleeves attached and lay it Right side up
  • Take your BACK pattern piece and lay it Right side DOWN matching the curve of the arm hole to the outer edge of the Sleeve Curve (marked with two notches)
  • Pin in place and sew the same way you did the front.
  • To Sew the side seams, match the seams of the arm hole first (the shirt should be inside out) *I like to pin the underarm seam Parallel to the edge of the fabric about an inch in.  This allows me to leave the pin in place and keep the fabric from shifting too much at the seam.  This will help you match up those under arm seams.
    *the result of keeping the pin in place

  • Pin from the seam out to the end of the sleeve, and then from the seam down to the bottom of the shirt
  • Sew the side seam, Repeat on the other side.
We are done for today!  Tomorrow we will sew on the neck band and do the hems.  If you want to use a twin needle for the hems, make sure to have it ready!