The not-so Blank Canvas Tee

Steph at 3 Hours Past the Edge is a brilliant blogger, posting interesting, thought-provoking posts, she’s also extremely helpful when it comes to demystifying sewing techniques and patterns. I wont mention the Cake, but I know I’m not the only one looking forward to it. I will mention Cake, as she’s very close to printing the first pattern – Tiramisu– and is currently hosting a giveaway for some fabric that is perfect for said dress pattern. You can also vote to name the pattern lady! Go check it out!

She’s also got a free pattern for a blank canvas t-shirt. It’s a multi-size pattern for a t-shirt with kimono sleeves, perfect for altering, or ‘hacking’. In my early sewing days, when I knew absolutely nothing at all about knits, I tried making up another free kimono sleeve t-shirt from Burdastyle with mixed results. I used a straight stitch, no ballpoint needles and no common sense. It was huge, and loose and drapey in all the wrong places. My neckline binding was wavy to boot, and it was my first try at matching stripes. Not the greatest success I’ve had; I do wear it from time to time, but I know it’s rubbish. It is one of my better learning experiences though, slowly but surely I am coping better with knits.

This pattern though is a good ‘un. The instructions were nice and friendly, and offered options. You didn’t have to topstitch if you didn’t want to, and if you did, you got Steph’s method of doing it. They weren’t so much instructions, as a helping hand. It didn’t feel as ‘paint by numbers’ as some patterns do, it was nice to be able to think for yourself. The pattern also includes pieces for the neck and sleeve bindings. I chose to make this t-shirt out of some stretchy cotton/lycra mix I had bought as an experiment, and I used an old dress to make the black contrast facings.
It was a breeze to make up and only took a couple of hours. I’ve only made a few knit tops, but this was the first where I sewed the bindings on before sewing the side seams, and second shoulder. Before, I would add the bindings at the end. I’d say that this was definitely easier, but I did manage to f**k it up all the same. On every binding, I mismatched the edges, so they are uneven.

I’m sure to the non-obsessive eye, it’s not noticeable, but for the pernickety seamstress, it’s awful. It’s embarrassing that I struggle with some of the simplest tasks. Practice I’m telling myself, and eventually I’ll be able to line something up. If using the other method, where the binding gets sewed on at the end, I can prevent this, as it’s already sewed together, but this seems like the most logical way. The hem has been sewn with a simple zig zag stitch. No twin needle for me. I’m not sure I can be trusted.

Does anyone else continually struggle with knits? Should I be saving up for a serger/overlocker rather than wasting fabric and thread under my sewing machine needle? Or do I just need more practice and more patience with my seam ripper?



  1. Wow, you do an amazing job with your clothes and documenting them. Just wow.

    And thanks for the review. :) I put a lot of myself into that pattern, so I’m pleased it’s useful. Your bct looks really cute! I’d wear that.

    You might stick some tissue paper under your fabric to stabilize it in the machine. That will allow you to stitch without getting the fabric caught. And fresh needles make a big difference too… Just mentioning it..

    As for lining up the binding, it’s a little knack that comes with practice. I need to bind some things shortly, I’ll try to catch the knack and show you… Pinning the binding a bit on a slat, just a small thing but makes all the difference. Impossible to draft into the pattern because of the way knits behave so differently…

    Ugh. I hate ripping knits, the stitches want to sink into the fabric…

    I have to say, buying an overlocker was one of the best things I did for my sewing a few years ago. I learned to use it well and not fear the threading, and then used it for everything. All the time. They’re not completely necessary, but what they do, they do well and quickly. And it kind of makes the insides of casual wear look more like “clothes” if you know what I mean…

  2. Aw shucks! That means a lot, coming from you.

    It really is a great pattern though, great fit, and really good instructions. I’m looking forward to Cake even more.

    I’ll have to seriously look into overlockers, they seem so useful. And I’m totally with you on seam ripping knits, it’s so frustrating I want to seam-rip my eyeballs out.

    1. Hahahah! I get the same way when I unpick knits. I either cheat and trim off the whole seam, live with the flaw, or throw it aside in disgust… It has to be a really nice fabric for me to unpick it… ;)

  3. […] C’s blank canvas tee pattern got used once again. This time, with bigger side seams for a closer fit. I also scooped the neckline out a little […]

  4. […] Not so Blank Canvas tee […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: