Hot! The “Victory over Reality” shirt


What’s really missing in my closet are a few relatively basic t-shirts – my t-shirts (all store-bought) are starting to fall apart so I thought it was time to tackle knit fabric and make a t-shirt for myself. As much experience as I have with woven fabric as little experience I have with knit fabric. The only time when I sewed knit fabric was when I was pregnant and needed two maternity shirts and then I made a few pajamas for my son… I didn’t care much about the quality then – after all, one doesn’t wear maternity wear forever and my son doesn’t care what his pj’s look like as long as there are cute dragons and knights on them. But this time, I finally wanted to do it right and it turned out to be a real PITA. I really had no clue how to finish the hems in a good way. They neckline always stretched and got all wonky…I finally managed to find a good online tutorial  on how to do a neckline binding for knit fabric. ( I wish I knew how to finish the neckline without a binding (I have seen it this way but it just doesn’t work out) but right now I am quite satisfied with the binding solution. One can play with contrasts very well and I am always a big fan of contrasts so this is totally fine with me right now.

Once I had figured out how to finish the hems/neckline, it was an absolut breeze to make the shirt. I actually managed to sew this one here this morning between breakfast and taking off to a birthday party my son was invited to. I was able to wear it there and we took pictures in the park where the bday party took place. We were  close to the “Siegessäule” (Victory column) which is situated right in the center of Tiergarten, one of Berlin’s biggest and most central parks. Unfortunately, we didn’t manage to get a good pic of me in front of the column (the sun was too strong) so I am including a pic of the column only. This shirt has been a victory for me indeed. It took me severaly nights to figure out my general problems with knit fabric. And my son is at home right now because his kindergarten is on summer break for three weeks so I hardly get to spend time at the sewing machine. Still, I managed to whip up this shirt within less than 2 hours and if the thread of my sewing machine hadn’t constantly ripped, I would have needed 1 hour only. I count this as a glorious victory over reality and as you can see in the pics, the outfit is made for the real life of a busy mom.  Josh had to be in the pictures because he started to mope around immediately when my husband wanted to take pics of me only. Josh’s pants are made by me, too, so I guess he has a right to show up in Sew Weekly again. ;)

My own pants are relatively old and not really part of the challenge. Although I might add that I finally took the time to take a hammer and fix a new jeans button on them. They’d been lying around unrepaired for weeks but thanks to Sew Weekly I finally took 5 minutes to attach a new button. This t-shirt looks the best with these grey pants so I really wanted to wear them for the photo shoot. (So much for making a basic t-shirt for myself – it only works well with one of my pants. Haha. So typical of me.)

PS: I have tasted blood with knit fabric. I am afraid you’ll see quite a lot of t-shirt duing the next few challenges. ;)





























The facts

⁃ Pattern: shirt: sewing pattern from a German Burda magazine (around 2005); pants: old pattern from German pattern manufacturer “Neue Mode & Stil” (around 1998)

-Fabric: 1 yard of knit fabric from stash (Didn’t I tell you I have a lot of paisley fabric in my stash?) – was originally about 1.50 Dollar/yard.

-Year: 2005 and 1998
⁃ Notions: jeans button for pants, zipper – from stash
⁃ Time to complete: 1.5 hours for the shirt (not counting the time it took me to figure out my fundamental problems with knit fabric…). I made the pants last year.
⁃ First worn: On July 22 to go to a children’s birthday party with my son.
⁃ Wear again? – Yes.
⁃ Total price: $1.50




Djamila is a German translator living in Berlin, Germany. She is married to an American and has a 4-year-old son who never sleeps. She used to sew A LOT before her son was born. After 4 years of wearing practical sandbox-clothes she finally wants to get her original fashion style back and sew a lot more again.


Comments are closed.

  1. I love that print and the contrasting black on the neck and sleeves. I need new t-shirts and casual shirts as well. I’ve had mixed results with knits. Guess I need to try them again.

    • Thanks, Erin. Yes, you should try again. I think I may be falling in love with sewing knits. At least, the t-shirts are working out really well for me…

  2. I love your shirt : ) And thank you once again for giving up a little slice of Berlin.

    • Thanks, Loran. I wish I could manage to get better Berlin shots but it’s hard to get to the real good places when one has a 4-year-old tagging along all the time…

  3. I’m with you on the knits. I don’t wear them a lot, so I don’t sew with them. And with you on the paisley….mmmmm…paisley!

    I just love that you used the phrase ‘tasted blood’. When I was 14 I had a German roommate, and she tried a new dance and said she ‘licked blood’ and we were all horrified until she explained. :-D

    • Ah, grumpy little seamstress, now you’re turning me into a grumpy (not so little) German. I though “to taste blood” is a perfectly acceptable expression in English. Maybe, I shouldn’t use the “Rocky Horror Picture Show” as a source for new vocabulary? :( Anyway, glad, you were prepared and I didn’t scare you with my bloody expression. ;)

  4. Hi , love your paisley fabric, it makes a great shirt. Thanks for the link for the binding, I booked maked it for future, it really good step by step instruction.

    • Thanks, Krista. I wish I knew how to incorporate links better in the text. I keep seeing how other people have turned a word within the text into a link but I have no clue how to do this. I was already happy I figured out how to include a link at all. ;)

  5. Very cute tee! I immediately went to watch that great link you shared. I can’t wait to try it.

    • Thanks, Barbara. Yes, the tutorial is quite good but I have to say I did one step differently. I actually didn’t sew the ends of the bindings together when the binding was folded but I sewed the ends together first and folded them again afterwards. It looks neater this way because the seam doesn’t show. I am not sure why they didn’t do it this way in the tutorial.

  6. Very cute! The contrast band is a nice touch.

  7. That’s a very pretty top! Nice print. I need to make a couple of T’s too. I’ve got some extra time this week but find myself being very very lazy instead!

  8. I love the contrast, and the fabric is very interesting too. Thanks for the link, I should try some more knits, they’re actually quite fun to sew. And I LOVE the virtual tour you give us each week of Germany…it’s really nice to see where we all live.

    • Thanks, Tempest. I am starting to be quite a fan of knit material now that I have conquered the first few obstacles. Don’t miss my contibution for the Yellow challenge – I am very proud of the Berlin pics I managed to get for this one. :)