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View Full Version : Garment sewers help!! Fabric frustration



Pandabear
June 1st, 2018, 01:01 PM
I want to try and make simple t-shirts. I figure it can't be that hard right? (right? please?) But I can't figure out what kind of fabric to buy. All the t-shirts my husband has say 100% cotton. But when I hit up the fabric store NOTHING says 100% cotton. And nothing feels like t-shirt fabric.

Can anyone give me any advice? A place to start?

gale_w
June 1st, 2018, 01:46 PM
A lot of it depends on the style of t shirt you want. For regular tees cotton lycra (aka spandex) is good. It's nice and stretchy and stable. If you want something like a tee that has drape (some are bigger around the waist and hips, for example and drape over those areas) or one with any gathering, you want something more drape-y like rayon spandex or bamboo. Regular cotton lycra would make a top like this too tent-like. Some like double or single brushed poly, which is nice and soft and drape-y but can be hot in the summer.

At Joann's they have a line called Doodles that is mostly (from what I've seen-our Joann's is far away so I don't go often) cotton lycra. Otherwise I've seen the lighter knits in the apparel fabric section-it's hit or miss because they don't seem to organize it by anything other than the fact that it's apparel fabric. I prefer to shop online but I'm not sure if it's okay to post links to the stores here. They don't sell quilting cottons at the websites where I shop.

Claire Hallman
June 1st, 2018, 01:47 PM
No help here, just commiseration. I quit garment sewing when I could not find appropriate fabric. Maybe you might have luck googling T shirt fabric.

auntstuff
June 1st, 2018, 02:08 PM
Any lightweight knit that will stretch about 3 inches is workable.

kimsophia
June 1st, 2018, 03:39 PM
Do you have a serger? Those are what make the nice finished seams in t-shirts. I don't know how much experience you have in garment sewing but from my personal experience I wouldn't start with knits. When I tried it it stretched so much under the presser foot that the seams got goofy. Or maybe it was just me :)

gale_w
June 1st, 2018, 05:15 PM
If you do facebook there are several very helpful groups for making clothing. And a few have free tee shirt patterns for members. If you want a list send me a pm and I can get one for you.

LauraP
June 1st, 2018, 06:22 PM
Don't forget that if they are for you, you can make tank tops out of any cute quilting cotton. I don't think your hubby would like them for himself though.

LLLinda
June 1st, 2018, 09:08 PM
Crafty Gemini has some basic beginners tutorials that are pretty good. I'd recommend you give her a try.

Mimi_Howard
June 2nd, 2018, 02:42 AM
My oldest grand daughter only likes to sleep in maxi tank top type nighties. That 3" stretch is a good piece of advice. Last summer I picked one print that was super light weight and very stretchy (more like 6"), thinking it would be light and airy for her. It was a sewing nightmare for me, and I used a serger even. But she loved it. This summer... back to normal knits. I much prefer quilt sewing over garment sewing more and more these days.

Pandabear
June 2nd, 2018, 03:48 PM
Cotton lycra.. finally a place to start. Next time I'm near JoAnns I'll pop in and take a look. Thank you!

Pandabear
June 2nd, 2018, 03:50 PM
No help here, just commiseration. I quit garment sewing when I could not find appropriate fabric. Maybe you might have luck googling T shirt fabric.

Oh I googled..been googling....there is just SO MUCH information and it seems like it's all contradictory. I was so overwhelmed I came here because I've always had good luck with the forum peeps answering my stupid questions :)

Pandabear
June 2nd, 2018, 03:53 PM
Don't forget that if they are for you, you can make tank tops out of any cute quilting cotton. I don't think your hubby would like them for himself though.

My issue with this is every pattern I look at is for knits. I didn't think you could use a cotton pattern with knits and vise versa. Am I wrong in this?

auntstuff
June 2nd, 2018, 04:43 PM
The fit is completely different between wovens and knits. That's why shirts of woven fabric have buttons.

K. McEuen
June 2nd, 2018, 05:29 PM
Cotton Jersey is good for t-shirts too. That is probably most like the premade shirts you buy.

https://www.fabricwholesaledirect.com/products/cotton-jersey-knit-fabric?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI6cn0gOm12wIV3bfACh3EvAkrE AAYASAAEgJq1_D_BwE&variant=32163957452

Jean Sewing Machine
June 2nd, 2018, 06:24 PM
You have to search at JoAnns, but they do have fabric suitable for t shirts. I was looking for a cotton knit for a costume a couple of weeks ago, and finally found the perfect fabric by searching, found many suitable t shirt knits in my search.

JCY
June 2nd, 2018, 11:19 PM
Pardon my curiosity. Why would you want to take the time to make a tee shirt when they don't cost that much to buy ready-made?

Pandabear
June 2nd, 2018, 11:38 PM
I’ve searched and probably touched every fabric in our JoAnns. Nothing says 100% cotton and feels like a T-shirt. I think that’s my whole problem. Nothing feels right.

Pandabear
June 2nd, 2018, 11:42 PM
Pardon my curiosity. Why would you want to take the time to make a tee shirt when they don't cost that much to buy ready-made?

I would like to make shirts that fit my husband and son. They are both tall and very thin. Long arms. Nothing fits right. Add broad shoulders to the kid...shirts just don’t fall right on him. And I can’t remember the last time neither had long sleeves rolled up.

So, I decided to start with tees to get accustomed to making a t-shirt hoping to be able to graduate to a causal long sleeved shirt. And not gonna lie, I would love to make a shirt out of cute fabric for myself. Also, I loathe clothes shopping. Loathe. It.

RockinLou
June 3rd, 2018, 11:55 AM
I sew a lot of garments, I honestly sew more garments than quilts.. and much of it knit. Knit fabrics are confusing, they come in different weaves, blends, and weights and if you don't know, you just don't know!!

My favorite place for basic solid knits are Raspberry Creek and Purple Seamstress.

A medium weight knit, like 9 oz. (which is its weight per square meter) will be closest to most tees that can be worn as tops without an undershirt under them, this is what I use for basic tees
(I'm not sure if its appropriate to link a non-msqc shop here)

Something in the 18-22 oz. range is better for winter long sleeve tees, and will have more structure. I use these heavier knits for more structured outer layers. For something super drapey I look for *light* or a bit of rayon

so a medium weight (or around 9oz) that is either 100%cotton or a cotton/spandex blend is your best bet. The advantage of the spandex blend is that it can also be used for the neck band, if you go with a 100% cotton then you will need a ribbing for the collar.

I can help you find some PDF patterns and sources if you need me to, but all that chaos is in my facebook world, which can easily overwhelm!!

Oh- Jalie patterns might be a good place to start, they get rave reviews, though I've never tried them myself.

Sandy Navas
June 12th, 2018, 11:26 AM
Looking for some fantastic knits still? Try http://www.hawthornethreads.com/search/do_search I've purchased from them (not specifically knits) and love their fabrics. I would imagine that the quality of their knit fabric is equally impressive.

GuitarGramma
June 13th, 2018, 12:05 AM
Nancy's Notions sells some nice knit fabric for T-shirts. It's got more body than your typical cotton tee, but I like that.