For much of my sewing life, I was obsessed with dresses – making them, wearing them, stalking beautiful ones online. Now my health has come to the point where it is hard to maintain a prolonged project, or wear anything more fancy than ponte pants and a long shirt.* Enter Grainline’s Hemlock Tee, a free pattern download from the creative minds at Grainline Studio.
I’m sure this pattern has been done to death already, but I love my three makes and wear them all the time. It is quite rare that I remake any pattern, preferring the challenge and novelty of the new, so it is a testament to the Grainline Tee that so many versions are nested in my wardrobe.
1 – Ponte Stripe Hemlock
One of the first successful tees I’ve made….years and years after learning to sew. Acquiring an overlocker** helped overcome a lot of my issues with sewing knits; namely, that my sewing machine eats them up. And this ponte was a perfect beginner’s fabric – thick, springy, and took unpicking again and again with aplomb. Unlike most pontes (and fabrics!) at Spotlight, it was not polyester; rather, an ideal blend of viscose, nylon & elastane. I’ve never seen one like it there since.
For this variation, and all others, I performed a 1/2″ (13mm) forward head adjustment, which is necessary for me on all patterns. The sleeves were lengthened by 8.5cm, and the hem by 7.5cm. I should note that this make was directly inspired by Crafty Clyde’s lovely Hemlock.
The neckband caused me no end of trouble – it was too floppy, then gathered (I told you the fabric took a lot of unpicking!). I finally got a smooth result with a neckband 80% of the cut neckline circumference x 4.5cm (with a 6mm neckline seam allowance). The neckband and hems are just zigzagged down.
2 – French Terry Hemlock
Lurking at the bottom of my fabric chest was some beautiful French terry, gifted to me by my aunt. Although it had little stretch compared to the ponte, it still created a beautifully fitting tee. The mods are the same as above.
3 – Indigo Cotton Stripes Hemlock
Recently, my local Spotlight had the sale to end all sales – a bundle of discounts which added up to $2/m fabric. A very rare event in country Australia indeed! Obviously, I snagged armfuls of the stuff. One such fabric was this indigo stripe cotton knit – marked as 100% cotton, but I suspect there is some spandex content in it judging by its stretch and recovery.
For this variation, I chose to use the original pattern hemline. The sleeves were shortened ad hoc by trying on and trimming. They ended up a bit shorter than I intended, but will be a nice length for spring. The neckband was applied by feel in the round, a technique which yielded a far superior result. The method was essentially the same as applying a bias facing in the round: attach the majority of the neckband by feel on the overlocker, leaving a small gap. Seam the ends of the neckband together and overlock the gap.
This was also my first time using a twin needle with any success. Turns out all I had to do to get good results was have my machine serviced. Who knew?
*See Hannah’s A Day in the Life for examples of levels of dressing for energy.
**From Aldi, of all places. It’s a rebranded Janome.