Wednesday, 20 October 2021

No Waste Sewing

 I try not to waste anything, it is part of my DNA I think. I especially try to use up my craft materials the best way I can. Today I have a few things to share that use up my purchased fabrics to the very end.

My fourteen year old has been struggling to find T-shirts that are slim enough but old enough in design for her size. She needs a child size but they have unicorns/fairies/princess slogans on - you get the idea right? So I made a pattern purchase that was rather an investment - The Rio Ringer T-shirt by True Bias. It is not a massively versatile pattern but it does come in a range of smaller sizes which was what I was after. It was eye wateringly expensive but I knew it would work for two of us. The fact that it worked out for all three females in our house made it even better value.

I ordered three colours of jersey from Minerva which I thought would work well together: a red stripe, blue and yellow.
Firstly, I made a size 2 blue T-shirt with a join down the back. It saves on fabric and my girls like it because you can see which way round it goes without the need for labels. It was a touch small for Heidi so Megan snaffled that one. Next up I made size 4 in the pink stripe and this was a good fit for Heidi. She liked the high neckline, the slightly curved waist and the contrast bands. Finally using up the last sizeable pieces I made a size 12 which was a good fit on me.

To cut multi sizes from one pattern without going out of my head with tedium tracing off each size, I simply roughly cut out the front, back and sleeve pieces then used dressmakers carbon paper and a serrated wheel to trace through the paper straight onto the fabric. The wheel has been a new purchase for me and it has been a game changer piece of kit for transferring darts and markings. It was the perfect way to trace multi sizes from one pattern. 

 We found the neckband to be a little tight causing some ripples around the neck but I will just add another centimetre next time, that's all it will need.

Heidi liked the T-shirt shape so much, I found some other jersey pieces and got creative. There was a small piece of blue striped and chocolate brown for a front paired with a yellow back which I trimmed with the yellow and brown. That one had a 1970's vibe about it.

I spent a mindful hour listening to the radio the other evening while cutting out all of the last little pieces into underwear parts. Both of my girls love these knickers which is a size up from the largest Speedy Pants pattern by Waves and Wild (free pattern). Essentially, I made my own sized pattern based on my girls leg and waist size from the speedy pants pattern shapes then used picot elastic. 

And if that wasn't enough for you, I pulled all the thin pieces tightly to roll the jersey strips into garden ties. Jersey makes fab garden ties for tomatoes etc. because they are snugly allow the stems to grow without cutting into the stalk.

All done jersey but not all done with the Rio ringer T-shirt pattern. There is a T-shirt dress which my big girl would like for next summer - without unicorns!



  1. Brill, the pattern is well worth the money and can be used for years. The colours all work so well together. A job very well done.

  2. I struggle with the deal you usually get on indie patterns. A premium price, but then you have to do all that diy before you can even begin to use them, plus the cost of printing and the usually limited style options makes them a no go for me. At that price I don't expect to do so much work. So much printer ink and time and frustration putting them together! (I know some patterns have a print option now, but that makes the cost even more prohibitive).

    However, I can totally see why this pattern is an investment for you and your family, with all the size options and being a classic shape that I am sure you will get a great deal of use from. You always do such a good job with your sewing too.

    My daughter was exactly the same, needing long legs/height of older sizes; while being tiny in build, the waists would literally slide off her. It could be rather tricky as I recall.

  3. Lovely t shirt makes for the three of you girls and such a good idea to use the last scraps for garden ties.