i still have a few projects to get through, but guys, this one is going to be hard to beat. great pattern, repurposed material (i.e., free), quick assembly, very wearable and the kid loves it…it seems i’ve peaked midway through this sew along. but it’s ok, this shirt is worth it! and don’t worry, this face is still happening:
after the pants craze, i was ready to return to shirts, and to experiment with knits again. i’ve been saving this shirt to repurpose for my boy since i decided it no longer fit right a few months ago. technically, he has worn it before (as you can see, wearing only jersey allowed me to extend my normal wardrobe well into my pregnancies). my new theory is that surrounding my body in jersey 24 hours a day (even my sheets are jersey!) has somehow created a kinship between me and this material that allows us to communicate well and be kind to one another.
this material has a strange diagonal straition, which made it tricky to cut (it did not want to lay flat, which is probably why it fit funny). but again, armed with only my ballpoint needle and the highest steam setting on my iron, i had no issues sewing the shirt, except when i sewed the first cuff on backwards. as soon as i freed it, for good measure, i promptly reattached it in another incorrect variation. shockingly, that was the first (and second) seam i had to rip this whole week, which must be a new record. i owe much of this success to the very detailed pattern with several finishing options, brimming with tips and tricks to get the fit as ideal as possible (i of course ignored all of them, but it ended up fitting great–another testament to the pattern itself). i have sewed a few of rae’s free patterns and have been meaning to purchase this one for months to make use of all my old shirts–it did not disappoint.
i was able to salvage the collar of the original shirt, which i figured would be harder to redo than the hem. that is why the collar looks well finished! i used zig zag seams throughout, but for some reason i went for a lengthened straight stitch on the waist hem. why? i’m not sure. so, the bottom hem feels a little non pliable, but so far it hasn’t ripped.
i know i make a big deal about simplicity and the difficulty of finding plain children’s clothing, but solid colored long sleeved shirts are actually easy to find for little boys. i always planned to embellish this shirt in some way, and the original sketch was of a dinosaur, which the kids are crazy about. but, their new national geographic recently came with rhinos on the cover, so there’s been a lot of rhino discussion and fascination lately. i figure it’s a lot less common to find a rhino shirt than a dinosaur, and they were both pretty excited to see this little guy.
i painted him on with a freezer paper stencil, a super easy technique i only learned a few months ago. have you tried this? you need to add freezer paper to your next shopping list. it’s incredibly exciting to me that you can buy this awesome craft material at a normal grocery store for a few dollars, and imagine what fun you can have! it’s a great way to jazz up even a store bought shirt and personalize it without it being tacky. unlike appliques, you can really get detailed with these stencils because you iron them onto the material, so the paint won’t seep past the stencil, and you get nice, sharp lines. i really have bad luck with craft knives, so i just cut these out with eyebrow scissors. i happened to have white tulip brand fabric paint at home, so that is what i used here. you can find it at michaels and joann’s (though specialty craft stores have some better quality, softer drying fabric paints). reese was so excited about this shirt, he demanded to wear it before the paint was totally dry. success!
and since we’re on the subject, a few fun facts about white rhinos (courtesy national geographic):
- “white” and “black” rhinos are both grey in color; the only differentiation between them is the shape of their mouths (adapted, of course, to how and what they eat).
- rhino begin growing horns when they are 5 months old (can you imagine if they were born with them? ouch!); horns grow about 3″/year, can grow up to 5′, and grow back if they are broken.
- the beauty of these horns and their purported medicinal qualities in some cultures are responsible for the endangerment of the white rhino, as these animals are often poached for their horns. currently, only about 11,000 still exist in the wild.