Monday 7 May 2018

on this lovely Selja knot tee

(Pun context should you require it)

I'm starting to get into my spring sewing now, and to start it off, here's some exercise gear!

I first made this pattern last year, but I never blogged about it. I wanted to recreate an old-tie front T-shirt that I used to love and the Named Selja looked like it would fit the bill. The front is made of two pieces with one tie end on each, so rather than a huge knot around the natural waist it's a more relaxed one sitting somewhere between the waist and hips, which is what I was after. I never posted it because I didn't like it - it was a boxy fit even when made out of the most lightweight jersey, and the neckline was super high, which I just hate for T-shirts. I even threw away my traced pattern because I figured I was never going to make it again. 

However, back in January I went to a dance workshop that required fitness gear (it was 90s Britney Spears and it was GREAT). All I had were a couple of old pairs of leggings and some T-shirts from when I was a couple of stone lighter, and I just felt way too self-conscious. Then I remembered I still had the Selja, and the boxy shape combined with skintight bottoms actually worked pretty well. I've worn it for a few dance classes in the time since, and I started to think that maybe I should make another. 

I got this fabric in a Sew Over It remnant sale. I'd considered buying it several times but always held back; I really liked the fabric on the roll but couldn't imagine for the life of me what I could make out of that material that would feel like me. I don't know why this is. Maybe it's the style of the print, or the size of it, or the fact that it's black and multiple bright colours on a white background, I'm not sure. I just felt like if I made up one of my go-to patterns using it, I would look unstylish and a bit clueless. It seemed like too big a risk to pay Sew Over It prices for. However, a metre or so for a couple of quid in a sale was probably worth a shot.

For this version I went down a size and tried to scoop out the neckline a bit more. I think I was a bit over-cautious - this is definitely better, but it's still a bit high for my tastes. Actually, it's not even that - it's that it feels like I'm more fabric than body. On a fitted T-shirt, or one where the sleeves stopped before the end of my shoulder, it wouldn't bother me nearly as much. What I didn't do was increase the length of my neckband to compensate, as the neckband on my previous attempt ended up not lying flat. 

This has and will continue to serve me well as a workout top. I have videos of me doing a couple of different routines wearing this, and it looks pretty good. I will absolutely not wear it in any other circumstances, but hey, that's not what it was made for. 

While I'm here, I'll also share this:

This is my Jenicorn T-shirt, and I don't if you'd call it an alteration or an upcycle or what. I normally never do those because I think it's actually much harder than making something from scratch (at least, if you want it to look good), but back in March my father requested we all accompany him on a trip to celebrate his retirement and I found myself at a golf, spa and crafts hotel in the middle of nowhere. We signed up for the T-shirt painting, got given some cheap-ass T-shirts, and much to my surprise I ended up with something I quite liked. (I did not draw this. I have zero sense of proportion or perspective and I still draw like your average six-year-old. Hooray for stencils!)

I had a similar problem with this one as with my first Selja - it was an unfitted, super high-necked T-shirt and I did not like the way it looked on me at all. When I got it home I cut the neckband and sleeve hems off and replaced them with some offcuts of black jersey, which has improved things somewhat. Clearly the shoulders still end somewhere halfway down my arms, but I am not so invested in getting a perfect fit on a £3 exercise T-shirt that I'm prepared to take it all apart, recut basically everything and put it all back together. 

I was going to include a couple of screencaps from my class routines here, but then I spent about an hour trying to get one that a) actually looked like I was dancing and b) didn't make me look deformed, and came up empty-handed. So here's me doing Single Ladies instead:


  1. "I will absolutely not wear it in any other circumstances."

    Ha. I love this on you! The colors are fab, looks great with the black trousers, and although I get/share your feelings on high necklines, this one looks nice (even if it feels too high). I'm thinking the print is breaking up what would look like too much fabric in a solid.

    I really like the side tie and now want to hack my TNT tee to copy it.

    1. Thank you! I agree it looks good with these trousers, but they're very definitely old joggers which I wouldn't ever wear in non-exercise contexts! Maybe once I finally get round to that pair of black skinny jeans...

  2. This is a really nice fit and I love that fabric print! Swoon!!

    And your Single Ladies stills :-p

    1. Thank you! My Beyoncé impersonation is unclockable...