I am so excited to chat a bit about the Tidewater tee with you all today!
The fun thing about CL/CS is the stability makes is super beginner friendly. You don't have to worry as much about the back opening or cold shoulder stretching out as you finish the edges. This fabric is from Girl Charlee.
I had amazing testers on this pattern and without them it would not have been possible at all. These testers went above an beyond - many sewing up 3 or more tops, and constantly looking for ways to help me improve the pattern and instructions so that they would be easy to follow for even the most novice seamstress. As their pictures flooded in, I got the idea that it would probably be helpful for people to see how the pattern changes depending on the fabric it is made in! Different knits behave different ways which can greatly alter both the fit and the finished look of a garment. Since the Tidewater Tee works so well with a wide variety of knits, these examples will simply help you decide which type of fabric you most want to work with first!
Cotton Lycra/Cotton Spandex:
Cotton Lycra is a staple for most of us. It is soft, stable, and readily available from both large shops and custom boutiques. I love using CL to sew for both my daughter and myself, but I've found over the years that most RTW clothing for adults is not made of CL, or at least not a pure cotton/lycra blend. I wanted to put this pattern to the test though - and see if testers and myself would love a pattern I envisioned in slightly drapier knits in this knit staple. The verdit: 100% winner!!!
In cotton lycra, the Tidewater Tee is sporty, comfy and casual. It tends to hug the body a touch more becasue of the fabric's natural recovery and thickness. My cover photo is a cotton/poly/spandex blend at 8.5oz in weight. Weight is so important - I would go with anything over 9 oz in this tee for myself.
Rayon Spandex/Rayon Blends
If you are new to rayon spandex or rayon blends, welcome to a whole new sewing world!!!! A large portion of RTW garments are made or rayon blends these days becasue they are so flattering and easy to wear. They don't tend to wrinkle as much as cotton, and yet they are still breathable so good for hot weather. There are a gazillion different finishes and weights in rayon blends, but pretty much all of them are perfect for apparel sewing. Rayon Spandex can behave closer to a CL/CS becasue the spandex gives the fabric good recovery and prevents it from stretching out. However the rayon is going to let the fabric be much drapier than the cotton. Depending on the blend, you can get anything from a soft drape to a slinky drape. Because of this natural drape, you want to be careful that you are not stretching the fabric as you sew it. You may want to use stay tape along your back cut out and cold shoulder opening to make sure the fabric doesn't grow as you sew. You can also use clear elastic to stabilize your shoulder seams since they will bear the weight of the fabric.
Tissue Knit is what I have started calling all mystery thin knits - HA. This is the fabric that I love most in RTW t-shirts from places like Target, Gap, and Old Navy. This fabric typically does not have a ton of stretch, it can be made in a variety of blends from cotton to rayon to poly blends. Watch the weight and color choice since this fabric can be see through at times.
I made two tissue knit tidewaters because I just love working with this fabric for tops - especially tops for summer. The thin-ness of this fabric makes it perfect for the heat, and this tends to be fabric you can find on the cheap. I designed this pattern specifically for tissue knits. Tissue knits tend to drape beautifully and have just enough stretch to hug your curves without feeling restrictive. the one downfall of tissue knits, are that these jersey blends don't typically contain any lycra or spandex, so they will only recover when washed. This means that you can easily stretch them out while sewing.
The best way to make sure that you don't stretch out your fabric (especially the back cut out and the cold shoulder opening) is to stabilize the edges with stay tape. If you don't have any stay tape you can run a long straight basting stitch along the edge to stabilize it. You can also use tissue paper under your fabric to keep your feed dogs from stretching the fabric as you sew.
Brushed Poly (Double and Single)
Brushed Poly has taken the sewing world by storm in the last few years. There is one main reason - leggings. Yep, everyone fell in love with leggings and brushed poly is one of the best fabric out there for them. But that doesn't mean that brushed poly has to be relegated to just covering our rear! DBP and SBP both work great for a wide variety of tops, tunics, and dresses. These fabrics are stable like CL so they are easy for a beginner, but they have a much prettier drape in general. The one thing about these awesome fabrics is that they are thick and can be a bit warmer than a more breathable cotton blend. But don't let that scare you away, the tidewater tee has plenty of ventilation to make up for it ;o)
The testers tried out a bunch of other fabrics too - so if you have questions about how a specific type works, just ask in the WWDFun FB Group!!!
Don't forget, you can grab the pattern on sale through the weekend!!! Enjoy, and show off your own Tidewater Tee's #tidewatertee and tell me what you made it with!