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Scouts Honour

So it seems that with age (or experience?), comes wisdom.

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After proclaiming at the start of my sewing journey that I didn’t want to sew T-shirt’s – because boring – I’m now on a quest to make T-shirt’s ??

I realised that many of the garments I’d sewn for myself early on in my sewing adventures didn’t tend to get worn because they didn’t fit in with my day-to-day wardrobe of jeans and T-shirts. Jeans and T-shirts also happened to be the two things that I’d never made, at the time. Why? I think maybe because I saw my sewing as a creative process, but ignored the purpose of the end product. I made all the cool dresses because I liked the idea of it – but I never (okay, rarely) wore dresses. I hadn’t really figured out what I liked and didn’t like to wear at that point in my life – clothing wasn’t anything that really interested me, so I never paid it too much attention. If it fitted, it’d do. It wasn’t until I started sewing my own clothing that I really had to put the brakes on, take a step back and think about what worked with my style and figure. And it’s then that I realised I don’t wear dresses, so I really ought to stop making so many of them and instead use all these cool fabrics to make something that I will wear.

This analysis is still a work in progress, but I’m getting there – and this process has involved admitting that even though I may not have wanted to make T-shirts, I wear them pretty much every day so I may as well make myself some cool ones!

Cast your mind back to a couple of years ago. For one of my first collaborations with Minerva, I made that Kielo dress from the fabric that so many of you have asked me about (it was deadstock fabric and not available any more – sozzzzz ?)

Named Patterns Kielo wrap dress Ganesha fabric

I ordered two metres of the fabric to sew up my Kielo, and it wasn’t until I came to cut out the dress that I realised that it was two metres without nap/direction, because they have you cut the back piece upside down on the fabric. So I needed another two metres in order to cut the back piece, which Minerva kindly obliged with. But this meant that after I’d cut out the dress pieces, I had a couple of sizeable chunks of fabric leftover.

As you do, because you never know when you’re gonna need it, I hung on to the scraps. And a couple of years later, they’ve got their calling.

I’ve made – and worn – many Scout Tees (This one is my all-time fave ?). The Scout Tee is a basic pattern from Grainline Studios, designed for woven fabrics.

Now usually, the golden rule is that you shouldn’t use woven fabrics on patterns designed for knits, and vice versa. The two fabrics have very different stretch properties (as in, one has a lot and one has none) and interchanging them can give a project a fair amount of potential to go tits up (an exception to this is actually the Kielo dress, which is written for knits but can also be made from wovens… if you size up).

The Scouts I’d already made got worn regularly, but there’s just something so comfy about a jersey T-shirt that a woven can’t quite replicate. After trying the Rowan Tshirt (a tee pattern from Megan Nielsen designed for knits) and having it turn out a complete shambles, my thoughts turned back to the trusty Scout. Even though it was written for wovens, could it work in a knit fabric? Surely making a T-shirt from knits rather than wovens is only going to make it more comfortable? I couldn’t see any potential downsides of using a knit fabric, so thought I’d go for it. Plus I was using up leftover fabric – it’s not like I’d gone out and bought anything specially, so if it all went Pete Tong it wasn’t the end of the world.

I went for it.

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*Fun Fact: The Neverending Story is the second-best film of all time (after Labyrinth). Yes, that’s fact.

As the knit fabric would be looser and stretchier than the wovens, I kept with the same size that I’d been making the wovens from. I did consider sizing down, to accommodate the potential extra room, but I didn’t want another repeat of that super-tight Rowan. Plus, sticking with the same size meant that I didn’t have to retrace the pieces ?

I had just enough fabric to get a decent, central pattern placement on the front – but not the back. I can live with it – the back will be covered up with my hair or a backpack most of the time anyway ??‍♀️

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The Scout can be cut out of a yard of fabric (if it’s 60 inches wide) so its a good remnant buster. You’ve got the front and back pieces, plus two non-symmetrical sleeves (unlike the Rowan, with its oddly symmetrical sleeves). For the woven versions, I french seamed the whole inside and used bias tape on the neckline and hem, but for a knit version I sewed the whole thing on the overlocker. Super speedy.

When it came to finishing the neck, I realised that there was something I hadn’t thought of – how was I going to finish it? I *could* use bias tape, the same as for the woven one, but then that would eliminate all stretch in the neck opening. I could use stretch bias tape… but I’ve never used that before and didn’t have any to hand, and did I really want to wrestle with stretchy bias tape? I know that it can be bought, but what if it’s an absolute nightmare to use and it stretches about all over the place and gives a wibbly finish? Should I just do a small double fold hem, like on the neckline of the Kielo? ? I didn’t want to use the collar piece from the Rowan tee, because it was so tight that it basically just choked me. While I sat there contemplating my options, I looked over at the husbeast in the hope that he somehow held the answer. He did.

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At the time, the husbeast was making himself a T-shirt with contrast black sleeves and a nice little collar, and an idea caught light in my head. I shamelessly stole the collar template that he was using and grafted it on to my Scout ?? I even stole his contrast fabric idea too, and cut myself a bit of the black viscose jersey that he was using for his collar. What’s his is mine, right? ??

It was sort of the right size for my neck opening, and actually gave it a really nice finish – I only wish that I had put black bands on the cuffs of the sleeve as well ?

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I used the coverstitch for the hem and sleeves, the whole things looks proper profesh and it took like literally no time at all – maybe like a couple of hours at a leisurely pace.

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I couldn’t decide whether to hem the T-shirt at the bottom of the colour change (my eyes preferred this) or at the bottom of the shirt – see the photos for the comparisons…

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I came to the conclusion that I’d probably be wearing it tucked in for 90% of the time, so you wouldn’t see that extra little bit of colour at the bottom and I could also do with the extra length. Yeah, it looks a bit weird when it’s untucked, but ??‍♀️

I’m a happy bunny. I feel a little bit – basic? – making like ALL my T-shirts from the same pattern (hello, Steve Jobs) but it fits really well in both wovens and knits… what more could you ask for?! I will still try other patterns, though, because there just might be one out there that’s better and I haven’t discovered it yet ?

In other news

We spent last weekend in Paris! We had a couple of days eating lots of food, doing lots of walking and – bien sur – exploring the haberdasheries and fabric shops.

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My haul was a modest one:

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  • Some black and metallic gold leopard jersey (to become T-shirts for me and the husbeast – yes, matchy-matchy ?)
  • One black and gold zip for a jacket for the husbeast
  • One pink zip for me (fate unknown, purely bought because it is pink)
  • Two metres of black and gold sequin ribbon for me – probably destined to go down the sleeves of a future jacket

You also might have seen on Instagram that we had the pleasure of meeting Olivier Till – a star of the French Sewing Bee and one half of the pattern company Patrons Les BG (‘sewing patterns for handsome guys’) who produce men’s designs (obvs). I’d recently sewn up their Irresistible Jacket, which the husbeast was wearing in Paris… and Olivier was wearing his too! They look SO good in their matching jackets, don’t they! ?

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So good to see guys wearing their handmades!

And that wasn’t the only bit of awesomeness… after I’d mentioned to Olivier previously that I bought the French version of the jacket pattern (because the English translation hadn’t yet been released at the time, and the husbeast was desperate for the jacket), he presented me with my very own English copy! Yay!

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It’ll be interesting to see how many places I went wrong with the first jacket ?? Google translate isn’t that good when it comes to sewing terms!

So… you remember that black and gold zip from the photo above that I bought in Paris? That’s for the second version of this jacket for the husbeast. The fabric has already been bought, and it’s been decided (by the husbeast) that there is going to be some adornment to the main motif on the back of the jacket – in beads and gems ? But there ain’t no way I’m sewing beads on it – thankfully, the husbeast has volunteered to do it himself ?

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He’s intending to pick up the shiny bits at the Knitting and Stitching show in October.

So that was last weekend… this weekend marks the start of our training for Ride London 2020 ??‍♂️??‍♀️ For those of you wondering what the hell it is – it’s a 100-mile cycle race that starts in London, goes out through the Surrey hills and then finishes at Buckingham Palace.

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I’ve wanted to do it for years, but the husbeast wasn’t really convinced. After a sufficient amount of wearing him down, he’s finally agreed (only because I pointed out that he gets a medal at the end – I knew he’d do it for the shiny ?) and we have our places booked ?? There’s a cycling club local(ish) to us that goes out for long rides every Sunday morning, so we’re gonna join their rides – Sunday for us used to be ‘Sunday Runday’, but dodgy knees and joints put a stop to that a while back. We miss it, so I’m happy that it’s now being replaced with Sunday Rideday. Although, this weeks club ride that we’re joining is somewhere between thirty and forty miles (?), and I’ve no idea whether we’re actually capable of cycling that in one go ? Our weekly cycle commutes are eighty miles (me) and one hundred miles (the husbeast) but that’s spread over four days and not more than about thirteen miles in one go.

As you read this, we will probably be out on our bikes, so please send us positive thoughts!

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While you do that, here are some more pictures of this beautiful fabric for your enjoyment ?

Happy Sunday guys ✌?

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On the blog next week – my first bash at activewear! Subscribe below to have it drop straight into your inbox! ??

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30 thoughts on “Scouts Honour

  1. Exactly! It did not even occur to me that there might be one, and I’m a French teacher who sews!

    Your T-shirts are fab. Do I need an overlocker? You seem to use one a lot. How many months/ years were you sewing before you thought you needed one?


    1. I would say that if you’re going to sew a lot of knits, an overlocker would be a good investment.
      Even though I had my overlocker before I started working with knit fabrics, I never really ‘needed’ one until I started using knits. I previously used it to finish the edges of woven fabrics, whereas now I would bind those or use French seams. Even though an overlocker makes sewing with knits a heck of a lot easier, you can totally get away without one. Overlockers sew the seam and lock the edge in one pass, but you can instead use a stretch stitch on a regular sewing machine to construct the garment and if you don’t want to leave the edges raw (jersey doesn’t tend to fray so much, so you could leave them how they are and they would be fine) you could use a zig zag stitch to tidy up the edges and then trim them down. I’d say if you don’t sew a lot of knits, it’s not worth buying one. If you do sew a lot of knits, it’ll make your life easier but isn’t a necessity. ?


  2. What a fab photo of you with Oliver Till and your English instructions. Have you looked at t shirt patterns from Love Notions or Patterns for Pirates? They are (mostly) designed for knits and they are my go to pattern designers these days. I’ve made several of their designs now. Like you, I live in t shirts and jeans and find that purchased t shirts just aren’t long enough. Love the jacket and your new fabric. I really must visit Paris. I used to live in France, but have never been! Right, off to sew up another t shirt 🙂


    1. Hi Bren!
      Haha I’ve got such a goofy smile in that photo… I was so happy to have an English version!!
      Ooh I’ve not heard of Love Notions – thanks for the tip! Patterns for Pirates sounds familiar but having just checked out their site I don’t think I’ve seen it before so will have a browse on there too! ?
      Paris has such a good crafty district – fabric and yarn shops all in just a few streets ? Definitely visit if you get the chance (and take an empty suitcase for your purchases ?)


  3. Those zippers, though… I’m so jealous…

    (And, of course, Paris.)

    T-shirts forever!!!! Jalie has some interesting ones, too, mostly for knits.

    I hope we get more knit fabrics in the shops here. Mostly they’re very boring and I’m not always thrilled with $25/m for specialty shops online.


    1. They’re super cool aren’t they! Unlike anything I’ve seen before (and also, PINK!)
      Ooh I’ve used a couple of Jalie bra patterns but totally forgot they did knit patterns as well – thanks for the reminder!
      I find that we get a lot of ‘children’s’ jersey – cutesy patterns and baby blue and pink, and not a lot of interesting ones. And I almost always have to buy it online as there’s not many real-life shops that carry a wide selection here ☹️ Agree that the nice stuff can get really expensive! ? I am sending good thoughts your way so that you may get more choice in knits! ?


    1. Ahh thanks Nicola! So glad that you enjoy the blog ?
      We survived the bike ride… and are doing the crazy thing of going out for another forty miles this coming weekend ????‍♀️


  4. I love the most all of your choice of fabrics, I just wish I had your figure to wear them on. I am a plus size, and there is only so many shapes I can wear, do you have any idea’s as to what looks half decent on a biggie like me. As I said I love the fabrics you choose, colour wise, nice and bright. Hope you don’t mind me writing to you like this.


    1. Hi Stephanie! ? I’m so glad that you like the nice bright colours and patterns – they make my heart sing! ?
      I totally agree with Potimarron – rather than starting with a garment, start with the fabulousness that is YOU. Which colours do you like, which styles do you like/not like (for example fitted or more free-flowing, do you prefer dresses or trousers, woven fabrics or knits etc), do you have an area which you really like and want to highlight? These will all help point you to things that will make you feel awesome ?
      It took me AGES to figure out that I don’t like to wear dresses (and even skirts are a bit of a push), V-necks are a no-go, as are wrap bodices, and I only like high waisted things… so many garments I made just to feel ‘meh’ in them when I wear them on.
      Before committing your time and effort to sewing something, see if you can go to an actual shop and try on something in a similar style and see how it makes you feel. Also it can be good to try on things in as many different styles as you can get your hands on (from stores or your own wardrobe), and then note down what it is you like about the things you like – fabrics, sleeve lengths, flowy vs more structured fabrics, round necks or v necks, belts or no belt… and then you can assess sewing patterns against these criteria and make the things that tick most of your boxes!
      Also I like to lurk the hashtags on Instagram for patterns that I’m considering, to see the garment on different bodies and get an idea of how it looks in real life. It is a bit of a process unfortunately, but you’ll eventually define your style and can then start building your wardrobe of fabulous garments! ? Happy sewing, and do keep me updated on now how your journey is going ?


  5. Beautiful T Shirt and so much better than a boring ready to wear tshirt. I love this fabric. Nice work on figuring out the neckline. Another option for finishing a knit T shirt is just to cut a facing – I just put my main pattern piece on the fabric cut around the neckline then turn it over and cut 4cm in from the neckline to make your own facing. Then just sew it on with a stretch stitch and then turn it inside and top stitch as far out as you want – Either 1 cm for a bias binding look for I like about 3 cm.


  6. Hi Stephanie, sticking my oar in because I’m a plus size too in sewing terms, and I think shape and your personal style are more important than size. For example, I carry my weight on my shoulders, bust and tum and I like my clothes to be reasonably fitted (partly because I like the femme fatale thing and partly because I’ve found that loose clothes lead near-total strangers to ask if I’m pregnant. Also, total manners fail). I’d
    urge you to check out the Curvy Sewing Collective (in particular, the pattern reviews and “Sewing for my Curves” section. There you’ll see women with different shapes, sizes and personal style who’ve made sewing work for them and see that there are many ways to look lovely). I worked through the first Colette Wardrobe Architect blog series, and that really helped me define my style.
    I hope this helps- sewing is (or should be) for everyone.


    1. Some excellent advice here – it took me AGES to figure out my personal style (there’s a thing that helps with this?! Wish I’d known about that ??‍♀️) and it’s only been recently that I feel I’ve really got it sorted. It’s definitely a learning curve!
      Glad you found success with the Wardrobe Architect and I hope that you’ve made lots of garments that make you feel fabulous! ???


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