Wednesday, April 23, 2014

My First Briar!

Hello! What an exciting day-- I finished my very first article of clothing sewn from a pattern that 1. fits and 2. I like, and 3. is comfy!! When my family was in town for the opening my cousin Holly and I decided that we would both tackle a t-shirt pattern that we were told was beginner friendly...even though it was sewing with knits! We both picked out fabric (the fabric I used has since been purchased by both a 70-year old and a 6-year old, so clearly it has universal appeal... either that or my tastes are skewing older AND younger than I would have guessed).

The Briar  is a pattern that can be made with a wide variety of knit fabrics, and the pattern also has options for cropped and full length, as well as short and long sleeves. I went with the full length, short sleeve version. It also has a high-low hem, which is fun and cute!

[caption id="attachment_113" align="aligncenter" width="560"]Me and my Briar, downtown Nashville Me and my Briar, downtown Nashville[/caption]

For my first attempt I decided to do exactly what the pattern said, and not make any changes. I cut out the XS and I think it fit really well! This is an online PDF pattern, so you print the pages and then tape them together. For this pattern it finally occured to me to trim the pages with a rotary blade and ruler, rather than scissors, so that made the time go faster. Then I used tracing paper (bought a roll of 24" paper at the art store) so that if this size didnt fit me aI could go back and trace another size, rather than reprinting, taping, and cutting. Also, the fabric I used is a very thin, very drapey knit, which was quite hard to work with, cut, and get to lay flat, but not impossible, plus now the next time I make it, with a more stable knit, it'll be way easier!

[caption id="attachment_114" align="aligncenter" width="560"]High-low hem High-low hem[/caption]

For my own personal preference I thought the back hem was just a little too long. Maybe it also has to do with the thin knit, but it just doesnt lay well over jeans pockets, so next time I will probably make the back a few inches shorter, and the front just an inch or so shorter. Maybe not quite cropped, but.... maybe!

[caption id="attachment_115" align="aligncenter" width="560"]Back with middle seam Back with middle seam[/caption]

One fun thing was that I messed up the cutting right away! Even though I was going very carefully and slowly, I just assumed the back was two pieces, since in a lot of patterns it is! The Briar, however, is not. I just sewed a small seam up the back and it was fine, in fact I kind of like that it breaks up the pattern and gives a little bit of visual interest. Or at least that's what I'm telling myself! Anyway, the neckline still went on fine, so this accident didnt cause many problems, thankfully!

[caption id="attachment_116" align="aligncenter" width="560"]Rounded pocket Rounded pocket[/caption]

I used neckline piece #4 (there are 2 options, #4 and #5, but for was a bias-trim type of deal, so it seemed easier to me). I also added the little cute rounded pocket to the front which doesnt show up that much, and maybe I should have put it higher up, but I like it still.

[caption id="attachment_117" align="aligncenter" width="560"]Waiting for the fountains Waiting for the fountains[/caption]

And there ya have it, my first successful foray into the world of apparel sewing and sewing with knits! It really wasnt so bad, and I suggest just going really slowly and not rushing it. I basically did one step of the directions per day. The shirt is super comfy too, which is great. And I am already planning my next Briar, which will involve strawberries. Stay tuned!

Megan Nielsen's pattern can be purchased and downloaded here.



  1. Looks awesome! Now I just need to make Ella's tee, but I think I am not going to hem it. This fabric edge rolls nicely when washed, and since it's knit, it won't fray!

  2. Yeah it was a pain to hem! Ella and I will have to wear our matching shirts together soon :)

  3. Sew cute! (I couldn't help it.) I may even give the pattern a try. I have not actually done a thing with my fabric except pick out a pattern, but I will get there, never fear. I am presently organizing my sewing stuff (I even used your comic boards idea and my fabric shelves are looking quite orderly), so once I get that done - look out!

    Love you,
    Aunt Nancy

  4. well picking out a pattern is a good step! you should post pics of your new sewing area!