Case Study Shirt 01

Back in college, I began to dabble in sewing. I had just moved from San Francisco to Greeley, CO, and was still adjusting to the culture shock and frigid weather. It was second semester of my freshman year, and I was told that the University Housing Department would appoint me a dorm-mate. Her name was Christina; a fun-loving mid-Westerner with a high affinity for pigs and the 90's sitcom, Friends. She often filled her spare time with crafting wardrobes for her college theater class. She was a character herself, and I really liked her. 


One day I asked her if she would show me how to use her sewing machine. Little did I know I would soon spend hours learning the how-to's of sewing (with the sound of Phoebe and Joey in the background.) I remember the very first garment I ever created: a gray, lop-sided hoodie, trimmed with teal material along the waistline and sleeves. Sewing was the first form of artistry that seemed to joyfully envelop me - I truly loved it. But, as life sped up, I began sewing less and less.

This year, I decided to revisit sewing. I wanted to begin a case study, taking an in-depth look at the production of shirts that I wished I owned, and what it would take to create them.

The process

I buy fabrics with totally different personalities; some simple with light-weight movement, and others sturdier with a lively pattern. While I always head into a sewing project with a general plan, I often take detours throughout the production process; I may modify the hem or the silhouette, depending on how the material takes shape. Knowing the general direction of each specific piece, I will cut the body of the piece from my material, and begin measuring and pinning. I intermittently try on the piece as I'm producing it to ensure that I like the direction it's going (and before cutting off excess fabric... Measure twice, cut once, right?) Once I have the general structure of the garment, I begin detailing the neckline. sleeves, and any other facet I'd like to incorporate. My process is by no means perfect, but it's one that I've acquired from a few years of self-teaching and practice.

The aim of Case Study Shirt 01 was to produce a comfortable, relaxed-fit teeshirt that was versatile: whether it be layered with a sheer camisole and leggings, paired with some tennies and a baseball cap, or made more sophisticated with a tan leather sandal and gold jewelry. I really wanted a piece that was understated and effortlessly cute.

I detailed the front of the shirt by sewing together two separate panels, then stitching along both sides of the center seam for an accent. I then created a boat-neck collar and slouchy sleeves, again with an accent stitch. For me, the hem was the most important aspect of this top. I wanted the front to be slightly shorter in the back with large splits on both sides, to allow for a delicate undershirt to show through. This was a finish I decided on once I was able to play with the material more. 

More-so than the shirt itself, I'm excited to have begun this small personal project, and to see it come to life.