My Birds on a Wire/Blank Canvas Tee

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Many of you know that Steph of 3 Hours Past the Edge of the World has drafted a t-shirt pattern with cut on sleeves. She has also, kindly, drafted it in various sizes and made it available to anyone free of charge. Steph's generosity was the last planet to come into alignment as I happened to have a length of sequined fabric that wanted to be made into a simple top as well as tickets to a show this past Monday.

My bust is 35" exactly and my waist is not well-defined, so I printed out the 35II pattern and grabbed a length of bamboo/cotton jersey that has been aging in my stash and whipped out a shirt - as is, no measuring. Here are the results:


Hoo boy! That is one tight shirt! It's a good thing that jersey is very stretchy, or I wouldn't have been able to get into it. And it is short - I didn't hem it and it barely covers my belt. It certainly wouldn't stay tucked into anything.

Now, I am not pointing any fingers at Steph. I very easily could have made a mistake when I printed the pattern. And really, that's neither here nor there. With every pattern I make I have to remove almost all of the waist shaping, so this is nothing new. I did notice that the shoulders of the shirt did not land on my shoulders properly - the only part that was too large.


So I thought about it and tried again. Of course, I still did no real measuring (I might could have saved myself some work if I had), I added one inch to the center and one inch (roughly) to the side seams on the front and back pattern pieces. Obviously, I was terrified of making another too small shirt, because instead I made a too large shirt! I added about 2 inches to the length and I smoothed out the shoulder line. I also changed the shape of the front neckline a bit - raised it and widened it a tad - but maybe I shouldn't have.


Ha! I saw from the pictures (and the mirror) that the added amount to the center front and back made the neckline too large. I did the math and realized that I added 8 inches to the girth of the pattern overall. Silly me. So it was back to the drawing board. I removed half of what I added. I unpicked version two and was able to cut out version three from those pieces. For version three I did no hemming or finishing of the neckline.


This was a pretty close fit! For my final version, I scooped a bit more out of the underarm to make the bust a bit more snug. The final version is two layers, square sequined mesh on the outside and a soft thin jersey on the inside. I decided to wrap a binding around the raw edges of the two layers on the neck edge and the sleeve hems. I will also do this for the lower hem. For this picture (and for our night out) I wore it unhemmed.


Aside from finishing the bottom edge, I also want to handstitch a few "quilting" lines between the rows of sequins to connect the layers. As I wear it now, when I lift my arms, the outer layer lifts up more than the lining and then doesn't slide back down into place. I am hoping that if the two pieces are connected throughout, it will behave better. I also need to remove the sequins that are caught in the side seams - they are poking out and are uncomfortable on my bare arms.

All in all, I like this shirt. I am not as thrilled with the fabric - sequins just aren't nice to touch - but it's a useful addition to my wardrobe.

Comments (4)

OMG, are we twins? I would have had the exact same process as you I'm sure, if I made this. So funny, but your resultant sequin top is soooo beautiful!

LOVE the sequin top. It is so casual chic! Sequins are horrible to sew with, HORRIBLE I say. I admire you for getting the perfect fit and then sewing it in sequins.

Your finished shirt came out so well!

I've been playing with the pattern a little more, the shoulders and so forth... Refining, basically. I want to offer a slick and pretty version of this pattern for free in the future, so this helps me a LOT. :) At least the pattern is simple to customize.

It's so pretty! Thank you for the feedback. :) I appreciate it, and luckily I have an entire day to tinker with the smaller sizes.