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 tee  for now, made from the saggiest of the pieces.

The sag doesn’t seem to be a problem. But  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 🙂