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  • Your top is beautiful and I love your Cretan Stitch! A million years ago when I was a young teen we lived across the street from a Retired Lady who, I found out, had been a seamstress in an NYC atelier. She taught me the joys of couture details in sewing. I used to make all my clothes and once even made a man’s suit (insanity, thine name is Wendy) using a sewing machine, but when I turned back to sewing a few years ago after buying and restoring eight well-loved American Girl dolls, I outfitted them all in hand-sewn outfits with couture touches. (I then shipped them off to a charity that gave dolls to little girls entering foster care, And promptly bought a bunch more dolls for myself.)

    • Great story!

    • Oh that’s totally my dream, but unfortunately my neighbours are accountants! Useful at tax time but not for tailoring.

    • Such a neat idea. I think I’ll have to go thrifting looking for some dolls. I’ve got time on my hands.

    • Now I know what to do with my daughter’s collection of American Girl dolls. She turned out to be the mother of two boys who prefer trucks and construction vehicles. And Kay, I thought the tiny T-shirt holes were unique to me. Good to know I am not alone.

  • Sonya is amazing & I look forward to purchasing her book.

  • I’ve just finished an Alabama Chanin cardigan, and it’s one of the most lovely things I’ve ever created (stitching is less than elegant but I care not one whit). Elegant and comfy are a wildly engaging combination.

  • The Cretan stitch is the je ne sais quoi of your lovely top! (And I thought I was the only one with those mysterious tiny holes in the front of my shirts)

  • Thank you for sharing that spring mania is a thing; I just added 2 new projects to my stack of wips, and signed up for a weaving workshop. I was beginning to think it was a personality disorder rather than a seasonal rush of energy. In the fall I have the understandable impulse to save acorns and pinecones and stock the freezer and pantry. But spring energy? New to me – newly retired plus covid.

  • Kay, your top is gorgeous. I’ve ALWAYS been intimidated by sewing but you may have inspired me. Thank you for sharing.

  • Kay, I’m pretty sure you are my twin sister from a different mother.

  • Kay, you hit the nail on the head with me…that spring feeling has made me cast on several new projects too….six projects on the go with a couple more ready to cast on. And then the holes in tee shirts…I thought it was only me! Thank you for a great read to start my day.

  • I love this! I am getting the bug to sew. Was never a great seamstress, but it’s never too late to learn. Add me to the holey T shirt gang.

  • I’ve been eyeballing a class Tatter is having on hand sewing a tee shirt, this may have pushed me over the edge. I feel like having someone guide me through the first one would be helpful, sewing definitely makes me nervous! But thinking about it, it is the speed and noise of a sewing machine that freaks me out a little, why haven’t I tried hand sewing?

    • And oh rats, now that course is sold out. She who hesitates is lost….I might need to just jump in.

  • On gracious me, that is so beautiful, I have to stop re-organizing my bookcase to fit The Act of Sewing near the Merchant & Mills, and cut out the top, and locate my sashiko thread and alsothat Alabama Chanin book RIGHT NOW.

  • Please model the finished objects!!

    Having just cast on 342 stitches in laceweight yarn, I completely get the attraction of sewing. And I have 2 working machines…

    Go, Kay, you inspiring woman, you!

    • I’m with Gloria – I’d love to see this top on you! And the blue is so beautiful!

  • You got me….I’m in!

    I love starting my day with MDK!

  • Yippee. I can’t wait for my book to arrive!

  • T-SHIRT Holes? Me too. I think I solved this one. It is not from my dryer as I initially suspected but from my gut gently (ha!) pushing the shirt out over the top corners of my jeans where the left and right sides meet above the zipper, where the shirt continuously rubs, creating the holes. Brilliant, huh? In the distant future, this one will stump the archeologists…

  • And the only tomatoes that I cook with.

  • Simple shapes need good fabric w the right drape. Kudos for the decorative hand stitching- great detail.!

  • Where is your scarf? It is apricot.
    I’m sorry you gave me that ear worm, although your Cretan stitch is the perfect touch and top is divine!

    • Lol! Me too! I’ll be singing that song all day!

  • Kay that came out so well, I love it! The joy of knitted jersey fabric too, many advantages. I too had a generous neighbor, from Denmark and such a talented knitter, sewer. She helped me sew a red vinyl outfit of short jacket over a midi skirt, circa 1972, for job interviews, ha! The mystery of those tiny holes at belly midline in so many of my shirts?? Moths? couldn’t find any. So I blamed them on my cats razor sharp claws when she sat on me. Who knows but interesting to hear that others share this puzzle.

  • I took a class at Tatter on historical hand-sewn seams. (I wanted to take a class I knew less than nothing about!) The teacher talked about how early seamstresses had to sew seams quickly, and the couture part of hand sewing really came in after the machine. So you made historically accurate speed on the seams!

    • That’s interesting news – and reassuring, too. So speed and efficiency were the twin goals for generations; elegance was only for wealthy patrons?

  • Yesterday I wore my favorite shirt no. 1, my “muslin” of a flat fold purple plaid. I did a boat neck when I skipped the line about creating your custom shape front neckline. I had to Zoom the afternoon away and we hit 90 degrees. That shirt has enough “professional” in it with total comfort. Oh, and my best fabric weights are the knives from our camping silverware!

  • I love the top you made! I’ve also got holes in my t-shirts, but from getting stuck with DPNs!!

  • Beautiful top! I love cretan stitch – it elevates binding to a design detail.
    The tiny holes thing is also caused by seatbelts. I keep a dish towel in my car to throw across my lap if I’m wearing a favorite.

  • Beautiful job Kay, on both the post and the top! You are inspiring me to work on my AC tee-shirt kit I bought long ago!

  • I learned how to “invisibly” mend those tiny little tummy holes a couple of years ago and it’s MAGICAL! I’m a big fan of visible mending except for there… heh.

    • What is the secret?

  • I’m impressed with your Cretan stitch! Not quite willing to stop knitting to do t-shirts but I admire your range.

  • So much to say to all this. First, Kay, the top is all the good. We *are* laughing at your delusions, but because the grandeur has, in fact, been attained.

    Now you have my brain on fire about the t-shirts in my basement. I live dangerously close to a Goodwill that has a by-the-pound outlet attached. When making a t-shirt rug of epic proportions, I bought used t-shirts, by the pound, in even epic-er proportions. I have not been doing nearly enough kitchen work to wear out my t-shirts (thank you, Mr. Me), but I am so tired of them.

  • I love your t-shirt! One of my first stops when I moved to Florence a few months ago was Alabama Chanin. I’m going to make their wrap dress when I move again and have a bigger table to lay out and cut out the pattern.

  • Kay,
    I love your blue top. The color, the pattern, the stitching.
    Please let us know ASAP when more of Sonya’s books arrive.
    Your story is just great.

  • Basting fold over elastic onto a waistband…now that’s a skill that has eluded me throughout my fits-and-starts sewing career. Makes me want to pull out my old, long-abandoned sewing shears…almost. Too much more of this, Kay, and I’ll be buying new lengths of precious jersey to make who knows what all. Your tee and your Cretan Stitch are very inspiring. My next feverish has-to-be-done by 6 p.m. to wear-out-to-dinner project is on you.

  • Can I ask a basic question? what thread did you use for the topstitching? I have tried the buttonhole thread on cotton jersey as recommended by Natalie but did not get a good stitch. Is there another thread to try? I know it’s not me, I’m Ms Experienced and Excellent Embroiderer

  • It’s like we’re the same person! I am starting new projects like crazy, while WIPs that are within sight of the finish line languish in their respective project bags. And I too bought Sonya’s book expressly with the idea of hand-sewing ala Alabama Chanin. Now I am just waiting for the book to arrive and searching out available fabrics.

  • Yes! I had a similar idea to combine the Alabama Chanin method with Sonya’s patterns. I’m glad to see it works so well.

  • Well, I thought I was the only one with holes in my tee shirts. What a relief! I think mine come from the top of my jeans rubbing the fabric since I spend as little time as possible in the kitchen but wear jeans nearly every day. Also, thanks for the ear worm! Thanks for a great article. I have signed up for next Tuesday.

  • I too hear the Siren’s Song of All Things Wanting to be Made! It positively makes me giddy. I’m pulling the sewing machine out of storage and building up my material stash in anticipation of Sonya’s book. I love her simple patterns that allow the maker to add their own touches where they will.

  • I love it. The finishing detail of the cretan stitch is everything <3

  • I’m so glad to hear that someone else is Making All The Things! I have been on a tear since the Lopi knitalong started…Daytripper Cardigan, Destination Scarf, and Trinket Mittens completed. 2 non-MDK projects completed. 4.5 Bodhi Leaf Washcloths completed since yesterday. And enough yarn purchased from MDK to make 7+ more projects. My goal since discovering MDK when Field Guide No. 16 came out is to make something from each Field Guide, which is what all the yarn is for. This is so fun!

  • Photo of you in the shirt please!

  • I love spring fever. This year, I’m in the throes of embroidery and visible stitching on my old jeans (after an impulse buy of 3 beautiful books). Last spring was my first dive into yarn dyeing. A couple years ago it was learning the basics of sewing. And of course in between are all the new cast-ons with the hypomanic certainty that every wip will be crossing the finish line sometime around the fourth of July. Ah, spring!

  • Dusting and organizing the bookshelves – a joyous time indeed!

  • I handsew everything, don’t like machining st all. My last jersey top is a favorite comfortable one I made from an old fitted sheet that didn’t any more. No pattern, just another similar top laid on the fabric to cut around.
    The little puncture marks from my late kitty climbing up on the bed when the fabric was a sheet, I embroidered in white on white, to make it fancy.
    You remind me I need a short sleeve version now, with the remnants of the sheet. It’s lovely to make what you want to wear, to fit. Thanks for the reminder.

  • I never thought about hand sewing jersey knit. I”m a total failure using the machine to sew jersey, it is me, not my machine. I stretch out the seams and everything is bad bad bad. I might try this. Yours is beautiful.