Tutorial: How to hack a t-shirt to have a popper closure

A couple of weeks ago I posted about my hack to the Brindle and Twig Ringer Tee pattern to give it a popper opening/closure and make it easier to get on and off.  I thought that I would put together a proper tutorial.  This method will work for any t-shirt pattern with a shoulder seam, and doesn’t have to be limited to just children’s clothing.  You could just as easily use the same method to add a fun feature to an adult jumper too.  I’m using the Ringer Tee pattern pieces again simply because it is a readily available and free pattern so any of you that want to give this a go, can!

 

Pattern modifications

Step 1:

The pieces that we are altering are the front, back, and the neckband.  You will first need to trace off new copies of these pieces in the relevant size.  Leave space around the pieces for the modifications.

The Ringer Tee has the front and back pattern pieces cut on the fold.  We are going to make the pattern asymmetrical, so you may find it easier to trace the pattern piece off complete so that it can be cut on a single layer.

Step 2:

Decide how much of an overlap you want at the closure.  I chose 1/2″ or 13mm.

I also decided that because it is a jersey pattern, and jersey does not fray I was happy to leave the inside edge raw or overlocked, rather than concealing the cut edge.

Step 3: Front Pattern Piece

You need to know what seam allowance the pattern you are working with uses.  The Ringer tee has 6mm seam allowances.

Draw the seam allowance on to one shoulder seam. (the blue line in the picture)

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Draw on another line which is 13mm (or whatever overlap you decided on) from the seam line.  With my 6mm seam allowance this makes 7mm extra length in the shoulder.  This extra area is shaded in green.

Front, overlap

Step 4: Back Pattern Piece

Draw the seam line onto the same shoulder as you did for the front.  (It will look like the opposite shoulder because the pattern piece is effectively back-to-front.)  See the blue line below.

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Draw another line twice the overlap away from your seam line.  If you are using a 13mm overlap, this new line needs to be 26mm from the seam line.  The extra area is shaded in green again.

Back, overlap

Step 5: Neckband

Your neckband needs to have the total additional length added to it.  This means the length added beyond the seam line.  In my example that is 27mm.  (13+26-6-6=27mm)

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Sewing up

Step 6: Cutting out and first shoulder seam

Cut out the pattern pieces.  Cut a tiny notch at the seam allowance line on the front and back shoulder on the side which was modified.  Sew the other shoulder seam (the one without the pattern alterations) as in the pattern instructions.  Press the seam to the back.

Step 7: Neckband

Fold and press the neckband in half.  Stitch it to the neckline.  Press the seam down towards the body of the top.  It should now look like this, with the neckline finished, and one shoulder open.

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Step 8: Prepping second shoulder

Finish the shoulder seam allowances if you wish.  Press over 13mm on the front and back shoulder seams.  Use a strip of fusible hemming web to keep the fold in place while you complete the rest of the construction.

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Step 9: Prepping the overlap

Overlap the back shoulder over the front, using the shoulder seam notches to align properly.  Use pins to keep the overlap in place.

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Step 10: Sleeves

Insert the first sleeve, matching the shoulder notches to the central notch of the sleeve.  Once it is sewn, this will keep the overlap in place.

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Insert the other sleeve.

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Step 11: underarm and Side seams

Sew the underarm sleeve, and side seams together in one continuous seam.

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Step 12: Cuffs and Waistband

Sew the short edges of the sleeve cuffs and waistband.  Press them in half wrong sides together.

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Sew the waistband and sleeve cuffs to the body.

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Step 13: Attach snaps to open shoulder

Attach snaps to the open shoulder seam, aligning the two halves.  I used two snaps on this 3-6 month size, but on larger sizes it might be better to use more.

You may wish to use jersey snaps like these which have multiple prongs because they are less likely to pull out with time and wear.  I generally use Prym vario pliers to apply snaps.  Much easier than all the hammering!

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All finished and ready to wear!

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Special Guest Post- Family weddings: Simplicity 1653

This is something very exciting for me- I get to introduce you to Ellen my cousin-in-law!  We took the opportunity at a family wedding to take some pictures of Ellen’s fantastic handmade dress.  I’ll let her tell you all about it…

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Hello, I’m Ellen and I’m delighted to be writing a guest post for Naomi Sews!

Our husbands are cousins which means that Naomi and I share a wonderful extended family. We live on opposite sides of the country, so we tend to see each other at big family occasions. I’ve been completely inspired by Naomi who, in the course of teaching herself to sew, started turning up to every family celebration in a beautiful, handmade outfit! Her enthusiasm and her blog have encouraged me to take my own sewing from straight lines (cushion covers and quilts) to the next step of dressmaking.

After I had sewn a few garments, we received an invitation to a family wedding and I was determined to have a go at sewing something to wear. It was a spring wedding with an outdoor ceremony by a lake, so I needed something that would work with layers for warmth, and would also be able to withstand any sudden gusts of wind!

I’m a big fan of wrap dresses so I went for a ‘mock’ wrap dress: Simplicity Amazing Fit Knit Dress 1653, which came free with Sew Magazine. The dress has a wrap top with a tie but a fixed skirt, so you get the nice ‘wrap’ shape without the potential for the skirt to fly open when it gets windy. I chose some navy and ruby jersey fabric from Sew Over It – it is pretty but very stretchy, and I think I may have over stretched it at times as there are parts which became slightly see-through.

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I prefer to use indie patterns as I like the instructions and the quality, but the Simplicity Amazing Fit collection is a real gift as it includes a variation of cup sizes. This meant I didn’t need to do my usual FBA adjustment so it made the process quicker than usual.

I had already taken a sewing class with stretch fabric to make another wrap dress, so this wasn’t the first time I was sewing with jersey. My Singer sewing machine belonged my mother before I was born, which means it is older than I am! It’s still going strong but it doesn’t have a stretch stitch. I used a jersey needle with a long zigzag stitch and it seemed to work well enough, although an overlocker or a sewing machine with a stretch stitch would have looked neater.

The dress was reasonably straightforward to sew and came together surprisingly quickly. My main issue was working out the direction of the pleats in the wrap tie section – I did them back to front the first time around. This may have been more to do with me than with the clarity of the instructions.

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The neckline comes down quite low and I didn’t have time to make the navy camisole I was planning to wear underneath it, so I ended up wearing the dress with a safety pin to avoid over-exposure. This shifted the neckline a bit but I decided it was better than the alternative! I have since made a camisole using the brilliant pattern from So, Zo, What to you Know which is a definite improvement on the safety pin.

The wedding was beautiful and the dress worked really well outside – a normal wrap dress would have been problematic. I got very positive comments from our family as well as from Naomi herself, who asked if I would like to write a guest post. She and Matt took me for a photo shoot during the wedding reception and we had a lot of fun. 

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