The Perfectly Imperfect T-Shirt- By Grace San Diego

 Hello, l’oiseau blog readers. My name is Grace and I’m delighted to be guest posting today.

I had been itching to sew with a knit fabric for months. I had tried to shake off this thought. Why? Because KNITS ARE SCARY! Over the years I had heard that it’s a tricky fabric to work with, difficult to cut and slippery to sew, etc. I had all these reasons to avoid knits. Yet I had this urge to sew with knit fabrics.

Then I happened upon a knit jersey print that made me smile. There were little ninjas in different positions scattered against a bight blue background. I loved this design because it reminded me of my son and how he came into our family.

Ninja Baby

 Several years ago I experienced some health issues. I was referred to a doctor who happened to be a fertility specialist. My husband and I didn’t have children. Our attitude had always been “whatever happens, happens.” So when I learned that this doctor was a fertility specialist I thought to myself “well, I’m 39. I should find out if I could even have children.” Not too long after, my husband and I sat in front of this doctor who told us that the chances of me getting pregnant was next to none. He had also said that he would not recommend IVF because I basically had no eggs. “Well then,” I thought to myself, “I guess we either continue on as DINKS (dual income, no kids) or we adopt.” And life went on, as a couple of DINKS.

Fast-forward several months. One day a co-worker urged me to take a pregnancy test. I insisted that I wasn’t pregnant because a doctor told me that I had “no eggs.” But she strongly encouraged me to take one based on observations she had made of me over some time. So I did a pregnancy test that night. My husband and I were shocked to find that the test was positive. Word spread quickly around the office. Upon hearing the news, one co-worker nicknamed the baby “Ninja Baby” because he came out of nowhere. That nickname stuck. Long story short, a mere five weeks after finding out I was pregnant, I gave birth to a healthy baby boy. Yes, he was full-term. No, I didn’t realize I was pregnant. Yes, I suppose I could have been on that show.

Fabric

 When the fabric arrived I was excited and freaked out at the same time. I wanted to sew a t-shirt for my son as I felt that this would make a good first knit project. I found a pattern from Brindille & Twig and started to cut the pattern pieces, even though I was convinced that somehow I was going to mess up. Once I realized that there were only 5 pieces to sew together, I started to relax about the whole process.

I knew I was one step closer to success because I owned a serger, and it certainly made the task easy. The directions for the pattern were simple to follow. Sew the shoulders. Check. Sew the sleeves in. Check. Hem the sleeves. Check. Sew the side seams. Check…er….oops! I wasn’t careful feeding the fabric through the serger. About 3.5” of the seam’s edge was folded over when it went through. I stared at my mistake for about ten minutes, trying to decide if it was worth taking out the stitches. When I turned the shirt right side out, I couldn’t even tell that there was a mistake. The right side seam of the shirt, where the mistake was made, looked even with the left side. I decided to leave it and continue working on the rest of the shirt. I hemmed the bottom without any issues. Then came the shirt’s neck. I matched up the center front and center back of the shirt to the neckband. Then pinned it along the shirt’s neck opening, ensuring that the fabric was stretched evenly and just so. I was in the home stretch of this project! I fed the fabric through my serger, and trimmed the tail of the serger threads. When I lifted the shirt to look my work, I realized that the neck was detached! Argh…I had forgotten put the serger’s foot down, so it didn’t sew all the layers together.

Pieces

 Quickly, I cut out another neckband and pinned it to the shirt. This time when I put it through the serger I made sure that the foot was lowered. I decided to add the extra step of top-stitching along the neckband. And oops again! The stitching wasn’t even with the neckband’s edge. But it’s barely noticeable. I told myself “the kid won’t even notice it.” I decided to make peace with the crooked top-stitching just as I did with the earlier mistake of the side seam. As far as I was concerned, this was a perfectly imperfect t-shirt.

Serging

 Well, I did it! I sewed a t-shirt together with knit fabric, and survived. And through the process I learned a lot, the most important lesson was discovering that knits are actually a forgiving fabric and quite easy to sew. Knits aren’t scary anymore. In fact, I can’t wait to sew the next knit project. Perhaps this time for my newborn daughter.

Perfectly Imperfect shirt!