Back 2 Basics

Basics don’t have to be boring

When I first wrote my Back to Basics post last week I originally typed that my wardrobe lacked boring basics. But then I changed it because I realized that basics don’t have to be boring!

Sure, other people are limited to boring white t-shirts, but we’re sewists.  We can amp up that t-shirt and make it interesting, at least from a construction standpoint.

How about pink serger thread on your loopers?  On a standard serger, the left needle thread is the only one that is visible on the outside of the garment, and hence the only one that needs to be a matching color.  The right needle and the loopers can really be any color you want, so why not use something fun?

Higher-end RTW t-shirts will frequently use a single-fold knit binding to finish the neckband rather than leaving a serged seam (probably best for lightweight knits to avoid excess bulk).  Rather than using self fabric, you could pick a fun print for a little pop at the neckline!

Boring white t-shirt on the outside, PAR-TAY on the inside!  You can buy a t-shirt with thoughtful details someplace like Anthropologie or a local boutique, but you’re going to pay an arm and a leg for it. Personally, I’m just not on board with spending $50 for a t-shirt.

If a button-down shirt is on your list (like it is on mine), there are so many options to customize and add really cool details.

Button downs are great items to use a hidden contrast fabric for added interest.  If your main fabric is something neutral like chambray or white shirting, why not use a printed fabric strategically on the inside of the garment?  My top choices would be:

  1. Back yoke lining
  2. Inside the button stand
  3. Interior collar stand
  4. Inside the sleeve cuffs.

Side seams on button downs are typically flat-felled, but bound seams would also be a great option and another area to customize with a contrast fabric.

And if nothing else — buttons.  By definition button downs have a lot of buttons, and unique ones can add a lot of interest to your garment.

And finally, even if you opt not to use pops of color or prints, sewing basics is still valuable because you can control the quality of construction.

Have you ever really looked at the insides of an average pair of RTW jeans?  Sure, they’re supposed to have flat-felled inseams, but most these days are faux.  Same with button down shirts, or any other garment that was traditionally made with something other than serged seams.  Quality, couture finishes take a lot of time, and in our current world of “fast fashion,” time is money.

So if you want jeans with true flat-felled seams, either get ready to shell out several hundred dollars, or make them yourself!

Speaking of which, Sew Busy Lizzy just hinted at her own June sew along that would be a great continuation of Back 2 Basics — Jeans in June!  I have no handmade pants and I know I won’t get to a pair next week.  So, I plan to sew along with Lizzy for the rest of the month.

And if you’re planning sew along with me next week, grab a button and use the hashtag #back2basics for your photos!

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0 thoughts on “Basics don’t have to be boring

  1. Looking forward to seeing what you come up with. I am eyeballs deep in some deadline wedding sewing and my serger is cranky so I may not be able to sew along this time.

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