I barely sewed at all in 2020, mostly due to my poor health, and I missed it. Sewing may not be my favorite hobby, but it holds a unique place in my life. I feel better when I can make something with my hands.
One of the things I did last year to cope with pandemic stress and my ongoing medical issues was to focus on my strengths. I leaned harder into learning and fiction writing and kept my sense of humor intact. I’ve decided to combine a few of these strengths into one project for 2021: “Tee of the Month Club.”
Although I’m also working through the Sew Liberated Mindful Wardrobe course and the maximalist nature of this project is a little outside of that course’s parameters, I still want to do it. First of all, I’m not really a minimalist. Sure, I get that 12 t-shirts are a lot. Probably too many! But I also know that my failure rate with knit sewing projects is still pretty high. Plus, my body is an unusual-for-me (and probably temporary) size right now, so it’s not likely that all 12 tops will make it into regular rotation, anyway. Furthermore, I’m a permanent work-from-home worker now, so I don’t need as many office-appropriate garments as I once did.
This is also an opportunity to really shore up my knit sewing skills. I still make elementary mistakes! I sometimes make poor fabric choices, and I still struggle with tidy neckbands. I seldom sewed with knits when I learned to sew in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and I think that set me up for a lingering fear of stretch fabrics. Practice is the only thing that will improve my skill set and banish my lingering knit-o-phobia.
I have way too many tee patterns; I could never make all of them. I also have probably twice as much fabric as I need to make twelve tops. T-shirts are quick projects (even for a slow sewist like me), so this project shouldn’t detract too much from other, more ambitious sewing goals. But it could give me a lot of needed practice for a smaller, consistent time expenditure. I can also use this as an opportunity to work through some of my stockpiled knits.
Here are my proposed rules:
- No new t-shirt sewing patterns (unless they’re free or included in my Seamwork membership).
- Minimize knit fabric purchases by using previously purchased material when possible.
- No specific design can be repeated (same pattern, same details) as part of the project unless I need to make a different size.
- My definition of “t-shirt” can be as broad as I like. Tees, tunics, and tanks all count — and maybe even t-shirt dresses or sewn cardigans. They only need to be made of knit fabric and cover my torso.
- All finished tees will be photographed and posted here.
- Finally, each monthly make should be my actual, current size — and weather-appropriate. So no heavy sweaters in July, or making a larger size “just in case.”
I bet that last rule will be the hardest to stick with, oddly enough.
I actually have made a knit top every month so far this year and will post all three on the blog this week. Here’s to my new Tee of the Month Club!