Free Tree Tees and more

I’ve been surfing the learning curve this week, figuring out my new serger, plus trying to nail down exactly what constitutes a knit. Most of the knit fabrics out there are things I never had anything to do with until I started sewing. I have the feeling new knit fabrics are being invented daily. So, I’ve got a stash of about half a dozen pieces from half a metre to five yards, all scrounged from discounters or thrift shops, all fibres unknown. Some have crossgrain stretch only, and some have four-way stretch. Those are two different animals entirely! Two-way stretch fabrics are at least somewhat familiar. They float. Four-way stretch fabrics sag.

I started with a small piece of something with four-way stretch, figuring the top would be short enough that the fabric’s sag would not be a factor. I used Grainline’s free Hemlock pattern. This is a pattern I tried about six months ago and didn’t like. Since then I figured the fabric had been a bad match — too drapey, not enough body for the boxy shape.

I added an inch to each side, front and back, and took a couple of inches off the bottom.

Here’s the result.

pink striped

I like it. The fabric looks familiar — I think I’ve seen men’s golf shirts made out of it. I actually got sleeves out of the piece, which was not even a yard long. That’s the advantage of a pattern like the Hemlock, which has a really shallow sleeve head.

I decided another piece of fabric also had enough body, so made a second one right away.


I had a nice piece of white fabric (two-way stretch) that I intended to use for a sleeveless version of the Hemlock, but after I pinned the pieces together and tried it on, I realized there wasn’t enough body. There was nothing to like, so I recut the pieces using my TNT self-drafted top/tunic/dress pattern.

I suppose two pix are redundant, but I’m showing off the blue wide-leg pleated pants that I posted about last time. I shortened them about an inch, and hand-hemmed them because I didn’t like the visible stitching line. I was heading in the wrong direction with them, thinking I needed a short or tucked-in top. I like both the blue Hemlock, and this white tee with them.

I’ve decided to christen the white one. Although it started out as a pattern hack, I think I’ve made it my own by now. So, allow me to introduce the Great Lakes Tee. Named in homage to where I grew up, always within spitting distance of one or other of them.

Here’s another.


I really like this blue fabric. It’s a cotton heathered blue, two-way stretch. It’s really airy. I found a crumpled bundle of it at a thrift store. There’s still about two metres left.

So, all those fabrics were pretty easy to deal with. What’s left are four-way stretch pieces that I find pretty unfamiliar. I did burn tests on most of them, and discovered that they’re all largely natural fibre, which was surprising. So here’s the last Great Lakes teeย  for now, made from the saggiest of the pieces.

The sag doesn’t seem to be a problem. Butย  I can’t imagine making anything tunic length or longer from this type of fabric. It’s almost a beautiful colour, isn’t it? So close, but …. let’s just say that it reminds me of a beautiful colour ๐Ÿ™‚

12 thoughts on “Free Tree Tees and more”

  1. Love that you’ve been able to locate & use some knits so beautifully. I’ve got that same pattern but haven’t put it together yet, lagging a bit partly because I was afraid it would appear too baggy & off the shoulder. Now, about that serger… ๐Ÿ˜‰ Is it going to get it’s own post? Introduce her/him/it!


    1. Yea, I realized after I published the post that I hadn’t said anything about the serger. I’ve rethreaded it three times! Thanks for your comments. Do try the Hemlock, but I would say only with fabrics that have some body. There are lots of pictures of it available online too, if you want to see other sewists’ iterations.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks, Felicia! Am grateful to know about the fabric weight as I’ve some “tissue jersey” I would have used, and it sounds like I’d have been very disappointed. I’ve seen plenty of Hemlocks around, but so often fabric weight isn’t mentioned. Knits are an area I don’t get into often, but I’ve seen it written that every piece is a bit different to handle and each knit is an adventure. And you’re right about new ones cropping up like the sunrise.
        So, you were writing about that serger . . . . . ๐Ÿ˜‰ Stars in your crown for rethreading it 3 times already – wow!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Firstly your hair is looking amazing. And secondly I really love your colours here – white, bright pink, mauve, light navy, grey-blue – all wonderful clear, cool colours that so enhance you. You look young and pretty. Thirdly while I think the trousers are pretty good I wondered if you might try them with a more tapered leg to produce a more streamlined look. But generally I am very impressed with your set of nice tops for the summer.


    1. hi Kate, thanks for all your feedback. This hair! Usually it hangs so limply that I can’t bear to wear it down. I’m trying a new shampoo, so maybe that’s helping. Regarding the pants — I’m afraid I’m totally head over heels in love with ultra baggy wide-leg trousers. It’s possible that I’m not tall enough, not skinny enough or not big-boned enough to pull them off. I’ll live with these for a while, wear them lots and if they don’t really suit me, eventually I’ll have to admit it ๐Ÿ™‚ I love that pair you bought and posted about. Do you wear them much? Glad you like the tops. They’re so simple! Fabric and colour is everything, right?


    1. I’ll be making more Hemlocks, I’m sure. No, we can’t have too many t-shirts, when you think of wearing them year round, and layering with them. I only stopped for now because there are some pants I want to make. Thanks Ruth for your comment.


  3. So many marvelous tees! I’ve not tried sewing with knits yet, but as I live in comfy tees, it must surely be time to muster the courage. Your colors are amazing, especially that first pink striped one. And I agree with Kate, your hair looks wonderful.


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