Body - Spoonflower Performance Pique fabric in “Exploration: Chalkboard Formulas for Space Travel, Large” by 3rittanylane Contrast Placket and Collar - Spoonflower Sport Lycra® in “Solid Black Faux Glitter -- Silver (Full Scale)” by argyleimp
For many years, I’ve made my son casual camp shirts with prints of his favorite things: trains, planes and space. Now that he’s working as an aeronautical engineer, he has asked me to make some work-worthy shirts. He and most of his co-workers wear polyester polo style shirts, many with logos on them.
The current crop of patterns doesn’t include a collared knit shirt, so I resorted to a vintage pattern: Ron Collins for Vogue V9378. The pattern has irregular color-blocking that my son did not desire, so I taped the pieces together along the seam lines to create a solid front and back. My son is 6’3” and requires extra length through his torso. I lengthened the pattern both through the armscye and at the hemline. Because I lengthened the pattern through the armscye, I also adjusted the sleeve cap. My son also has forward shoulders — no doubt from all the time he spends working on a computer! – so I altered the front, back and sleeve pattern pieces for that as well. Finally, I broadened the back and added width at the side seams.
My son likes to choose the prints from Spoonflower; they have many fun technical designs. We’ve used Spoonflower a number of times over the years, and we have found that the colors are more vibrant and lasting on the manmade fiber fabrics than they are on the natural fiber fabrics. I chose Spoonflower’s Performance Pique fabric for the body of the shirt, as this fabric’s hand is most similar to his other work shirts. I chose the Sport Lycra for the contrast placket and collar. I could have used pique on the collar as well, but I wanted to see how the lycra fabric behaved because I will need it for cuffs when I make a long sleeved version of this shirt.
Sewing the fabrics was a challenge. The pique had a 2-way stretch, and the lycra fabric had 4-way stretch. I tried a number of different needle, stitch and thread combinations, including Metler Seraflex thread. I have to say, I’m not a fan of Seraflex, at least for this project. Because the thread stretched, it frequently confounded my Bernina’s thread sensors which resulted in tension problems, bird’s nests, and broken threads. Seraflex cannot be ironed, so shaping was a problem. (If you plan to use Seraflex for swimwear, you might test its bleach resistance first.) After a number of needle and stitch combinations, I resorted to my usual thread, Gutterman 100% polyester thread, and a lightning bolt stitch for the seams. I used fusible stretch tricot interfacing to stabilize the collar and placket, and sewed them with a straight stitch. For the hems, I used small (size 8) ballpoint needles, polyester cone thread and a cover stitch machine. I loved the challenge of the placket front and stand collar; Vogue had excellent instructions for it. This pattern also has instructions for contrasting collar stays, which I did not use because the lycra was quite bulky already.
My son is thrilled with his new shirt, and can’t wait to wear it to work.