Category Archives: Sewing Clothes

Syrah Skirt

I love the blog Stitched in Color and was so tickled to be chosen to receive some free beautiful Birch Knits from The other folks chosen are listed here.

I took the challenge seriously! I got a serger back in December as my Christmas gift. It was a super deal on a Brother 1034D – but unfortunately too good of a deal – it was broken! Luckily Brother had a good warranty and I got it fixed – and picked it up from the shop two days before the baby was born.

Fast forward 3.5 months and  I was very excited to finally get to use my serger – which for those who don’t know, is a special sewing machine that is particularly good for sewing stretchy fabrics.  They are intimidating! But actually super easy to use and made sewing these skirts a dream. I find the Brother 1034D to be kinda clunky and buggy and very noisy but I don’t know if that’s because mine’s still kinda broken, or they are always like that.

After much debate and staring at patterns during nursing sessions, I chose to make the Syrah Skirt by independent pattern designer Selvage Designs. I’ve heard that independent pattern designers are easier to follow for new sewists, and this pattern was definitely full of little helpful hints. I have been quilting for over a decade, but stretchy materials as basically terrifying to me.

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I Will Make a Fitted T-Shirt, Then Save a Bunch of Tigers…

I had a professor who told me that when he became a professor, he decided to never again wear shirts that said things. For various reasons, this made perfect sense to me, and as such I have very few shirts that have words of any sort on them (I even cut out the tags!) (though more because the tags itch my neck). If you want to know what I’m thinking, or where I attended school, or what races I have run in (none), etc. you’ll have to email me, because you won’t read it on my shirt! (Or I suppose if you must, you could come up and talk to me…)

HOWEVER, this blog is about a shirt that says something: I decided to take my Save the Sumatran Tiger t-shirt and make it from a very large to a slightly fitted t-shirt. I got this t-shirt from a charming young gentleman at a Greenpeace training camp last month. It’s his old shirt, so not the fanciest thing I ever got, but I have a sentimental attachment to it.

I generally work on environmental justice campaigns and so campaigns centered around the “charismatic mega-fauna” are intriguing to me. Saving tigers and whales and baby seals – it’s important work, and saving these animals includes saving the habitat they live in and sometimes some protection for the indigenous human communities that depend on these habitats. So I’m not knocking it. I just never really thought about it whatsoever until fairly recently.

I’ve never felt a lot of pull towards saving any animals, charismatic or not (maybe a soft spot for pollution indicator insect species…). Keeping kids from getting cancer from poisoned water, that’s what I stay up at night worrying about. Or, more realistically, how to hold companies accountable when they have polluted kids’ water and the sweet children already have terrible cancers (the naughty kids get cancer from bad water too, but neither sort deserve it). Did you know that mountaintop removal increases birth defects in nearby communities by 42%? That’s a lot of sick babies. So awful, umph.

Ok, but what were we talking about? Tigers! I love the tigers too, and I love all the energetic young people getting their start with Greenpeace and all other sorts of justice activism and that is why I want to wear my size large men’s Sumatran Tiger t-shirt. Except I am not a large man. So, time to sew!

So, I laid a smaller shirt on top of it, and traced around the edges with a sharpie. Note: it doesn’t matter what of marker/pen you use if you cut off the part you mark on. I gave myself some wiggle room, because I didn’t want the shirt to be too fitted. You can always make it smaller, if you go too big the first time.
sewing tshirt

Then I pinned it and sewed a long lazy basting stitch over my line.
Sewing tshirt

Then I tried that sucker on. Hint: if you sew the shirt with a basting stitch, you can try it on without pins in it. This is much nicer than trying on a shirt with pins in, and if your stitch is in the wrong place, you can always pull those long stitches out pretty quick.
Sewing t-shirt

Boy it’s long. I’m mighty tall too, so I think I’ll leave it long for the novelty of having a shirt that won’t show my lower back when I lean forward. I like the width, so I cut the extra fabric off, and sew and extra, smaller stitch down each side to reinforce my stitches.

Sewing t-shirt
With taking pictures and writing the blog, including a long tangent about environmental justice, this took an hour.

I keep getting an urge to make clothing, summer dresses in particular, which I am really trying to resist, because clothes are so cheap, and I have not made a dress in 12 years, and really, I am not a fashion-y person, but we’ll see…