running top

I’m not super into making my own activewear. Good patterns seem to be few and far between, not to mention the trouble sourcing appropriate fabric and home sewing machine’s limited capabilities of producing quality, professional finishes… Mostly, I don’t find it worth the effort. However, I had been looking for a long sleeve top and just couldn’t find what I wanted. I wanted a simple non-hooded, non-funnel neck top with sleeves that are actually long enough for my monkey arms.

These are actual post-run photos, fyi. Not that I’m super vain about my looks, but whatever. 😛

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I ordered some dri-fit knit fabric from Koshtex and decided to sew up the Lane Raglan by Hey June. A while back she added a few features to the basic tee, and now you also get pattern pieces for a hood and deep cuffs with thumb holes. I didn’t need the hood for this top, but the cuffs with thumb holes? YES. Instead of using body measurements for choosing a pattern size, she has the finished measurements listed so you can choose the amount of ease according to what fabric you are using. My current measurements are about 34″-28″- 39″ so I picked the size S, grading out to a L at the hip. It ended up being a bit larger than I wanted, so I trimmed down the sleeve and side seams by 1/4″ (removing 1/2″ from the sleeves and 1″ from the body in total), but left the hip at the original width.

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Instead of the regular neck band, I did a narrow bound edge. I really like this finish, and it ends up being a little smoother on the inside, which is important for activewear. Also, instead of a hem band, I lengthened the CF by 2 1/2″, and the CB by 3″ to create a curved hem. I prefer my running tops to be nice and long, and I have a thing for curved hemlines.

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I usually have to lengthen sleeves, but these were perfect as is. In fact, I had originally added 1/2″, but it was too much and I had to go back and remove the cuffs and cut off the extra sleeve length. The thumb hole cuffs are just fantastic for running. Now that it’s getting quite chilly in the mornings, I wear a fleecy pullover but, natch, the sleeves are too short. These cuffs help tremendously in keeping out the chill.

I think if I make another running top from this pattern, I will add a CB seam to help remove the excess fabric that pools at my lower back. It’s not a big deal, and frankly it looks worse just standing there in photos than when I’m moving around, but I’d really prefer a slimmer cut. Now I did try the Fehr Trade Surf to Summit Top last winter, which has princess seaming for shaping, but in the end I just didn’t enjoy wearing the top; the fit was slightly off and the raised neckline was very uncomfortable. I can usually make alterations to get things to work, but raglan seaming throws me!

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All in all, this is a successful top, and the fabric is great! I’ll definitely be ordering from them in the future—the prices are very reasonable and the shipping was super fast. I placed my order on a Friday afternoon and it was on my doorstep by the following Monday. Love that!

lisa g.

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hey june | union st. tee

today i’m a stop on the blog tour for the union st tee just released by Adrianna of hey june patterns (one half of the crafterhours team). she asked me to be a tester and i was more than happy to oblige since 1.) i really need more basic tees and 2.) i’ve had great experiences with her patterns in the past. (see: here, here, here, and here)

paired with an unblogged megan nielsen kelly skirt

paired with an unblogged megan nielsen kelly skirt

i was eager to try out the v-neck variation since i had never made a v-neck tee before.  i picked up a 100% cotton jersey because it’s nice and stable. i wouldn’t dare try it in one of those thin rayon knits with loads of drape. also, i love the way cotton jersey washes and softens over time. it can definitely take the abuse of everyday life.

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the v-neck binding is a little tricky, but the pattern comes with excellent instructions to make it as painless as possible. i ended up with a teeny tiny pucker that no one but me will ever notice. i could have ripped it out, but frankly i probably would have bungled it worse had i tried to fix it.

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BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE!

that was just my tester version. since i signed up for the blog tour, i thought i’d try out the scoop neck version of the tee as well. i picked up a rayon/cotton jersey from girlcharlee.com (the slinky non-stable type). solid tees are great and necessary, but floral prints are totally my jam. this one is listed as a light to medium weight, but i would put it firmly in the lightweight category. like just a step above the tissue knits. even though it’s lighter weight than i was hoping for, it makes for a great summer tee. plus it goes with my chartreuse shorts. WINNING.

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now, hold onto your hats, cuz i’m about to wax poetic over a t-shirt pattern (i swear, no bribery was involved). so many times i do little more than grumble while making up a knits pattern, be it the giant seam allowances, unpredictable ease, or weird finishing techniques. not so here! and let me tell you why…

  • sizing: you pick your size from the garment’s finished (bust and waist) measurements. this allows you to choose either negative or positive ease, depending on your fabric. since this is a simple tee, you can easily grade between sizes if needed.
  • seam allowance: there is nothing i hate more than giant seam allowances on knit patterns. the SA on this tee is 1/4″, which makes it ideal for serging. BUT it’s also fine for a regular sewing machine, if that’s how you roll. also, it means less fabric waste and a better chance of fitting all the pieces onto less yardage. yeah!
  • neckband: i generally discard neckband pieces since knits have different stretch needs. however, this pattern has two neckband lengths determined by the amount of stretch your fabric has. don’t know how much stretch your fabric has? there’s a handy chart for you to test! for both of the tees i made, the neckband length was perfect.
  • directions: this pattern does not assume that you already know what you’re doing. if you’re a bit unsure or just don’t have a solid grasp on knits sewing, be not afraid.
  • drafting: all the pieces fit together nicely. the sleeve cap has basically no ease, as it should be. it sets in flat quite easily. so easily you barely even need to pin.
  • options: there are sleeve length options, neckline options, neck band width options… no need to guess to make those little customizations.
  • print layout: there’s a chart so you have the option to print off only the pages you need. guys. this i love. once upon a time i made a .pdf pattern where i had to print off over 60 pages, most of which i did not need. and well… i won’t re-hash that saga, but let’s just say that i was not pleased.

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there’s something strangely thrilling about making (and wearing) my own tees. not only are they a quick project, but they get worn all. the. time. if you’re looking for a good tee pattern, or just dipping your toes into the knits game, this one is worth your time!

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there’s lots of great ladies posting on the tour, also up today is Kat at sew chibi. make sure to check it out! need a copy of the pattern? pick it up here.

thanks to Adrianna for inviting me on the tour!

—lisa g.

lane raglan v.3

spring weather around these parts is a bit of a mixed bag. eighty-five one day, 50ºF the next. i made this light sweatshirt-type shirt for those days when i need a warmer layer, but still want to look like spring. again, this is the lane raglan by hey june (clearly, i endorse this pattern!), and the fabric is a cotton interlock from girl charlee. this fabric is crazy soft and comfy, i love it so much!

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i was a little over confident in how much i could fit onto one yard of fabric and nearly didn’t get to make this top! i had to abandon print matching the sleeves to the main body pieces, and i was still short about 1″ in width. i briefly threw in the towel, then got it back out to try again. i arranged it so that only a small part at the underarm of one sleeve was hanging off the fabric. i cut it out, then went back and pieced a scrap on and finished cutting the sleeve.

i always win at fabric cutting.

i used rib knit from joann fabrics as the neck and sleeve/hem bands since interlock doesn’t have the recovery needed for the job. plus the ribbing gives it a more “authentic” sweatshirt vibe. i probably could have stretched the neck band tighter since it’s slightly wavy, but it doesn’t particularly bother me.

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for this version i shortened the hemline by 2″. it works a little better for layering with the shorter length, and, as it turns out, i wouldn’t have had enough fabric anyways. in case you were wondering, these are my jalie jeans that i made a few months ago. i honestly didn’t anticipate them becoming my go to jeans, but they are! my GAP jeans just feel so wrong now, i never reach for them. it’s definitely time for a second pair, but i suspect that won’t happen until fall. or sooner… who knows!

—lisa g.