A heap of Hemlocks! And thoughts on forward shoulders and listening to your mother.

I've been making Hemlocks!

I know the humble tee doesn't make for scintillating sewing for many, but the reality is it's the most worn type of garment for many of us, and I do think devotion to the perfectly fitting tee is a worthy cause.

The Hemlock is of course a free pattern from Grainline Studios, which can be acquired by subscribing to their newsletter. It's a single size, designed for knits and an easy sew. I've not really bothered to make this up before as I was pretty happy with my fleet of Mandy tees, but curiosity got to me. I was keen to see how the scoop neck sat - I find with boat necks they're challenging to wear under cardis and jumpers. I made these very early in Autumn, when it was still pretty summery.

Version 1 is pretty much as drafted. I added some little extensions to the sleeves to be able to hem them, made a forward shoulder adjustment of about 15mm, and cropped it fairly significantly (I think I removed about 12cm of length from the original patter, and I'm 178cm tall).

 This was a very smug make - in the economic system of Chez Tragic this was a totally free garment - free pattern, and leftover viscose from my Olivia dress and ninja jumpsuit. I was wanting to try a look with different fronts and backs.

I love it but the neckline is just a smidge wide and sloppy on me. Hard to see in the picks but it's there. Doesn't stop me wearing it!

Version 2 is in a fairly hefty cotton lycra from Clear It. I've been wanting to play around with fabric paint for a while, and found some nice metallic fabric paints online. It was very easy - I had some mega cotton bud sticks at work which were the perfect applicator - rather Nani Iro don't you think?

The drape is a little different of course due to the heavier cotton. I also removed an inch of width from centre front and back which fixed the neckline droop.

Business at the front, party at the back. Love!

Version 3 was inspired by a RTW and very overpriced top I saw on holiday in February. It was a slightly cropped tee with an exaggerated trapeze cut, in a striped linen.

I'm trying to remember how I added the volume - I'm fairly sure I cut and spread it. I didn't get quite the volume of the inspiration tee, but not far off. The fabric is a lovely linen knit from The House of Cloth in Bendigo.

The nice thing about adding all that volume is I didn't need to hem with a stretch stitch! (actually I'm pretty sure the other two weren't hemmed with a stretch stitch either....).

And finally we get to version 4, with sleeves. The fabric is a very cute Art Gallery fabric in cotton-lycra, also from the House of Cloth. As mentioned above, and in quite a few of my recent makes I've started doing forward shoulder adjustments to pretty much everything I make now. I'm finding more and more of my older clothes just choke me. It's actually a real worry that my posture is deteriorating so obviously. I really would like to go back and slap 16 year old Sarah, tell her to listen to her mother, and stand the hell up straight.

Up until now I'd never attempted to do a sleeve alteration after a forward shoulder adjustment - I've only done them on kimono-sleeve or sleeveless garments. There's a reasonable amount of info out there on various methods to alter a sleeve that has a standard curved sleeve cap (including this awesome method I literally tried for the first time this weekend on a Plantain sleeve head - worked fabulously), but not too much out there on a sleeve like the Hemlock, which essentially has no sleeve cap as it is a dropped shoulder design. The last edition of Threads magazine had a method that suggested just adding extra fabric to the back of the sleeve seam and taking off the front. I gave this a go and as you can see it is, quite frankly, rather shit.

Those sleeves are twisting like a teenager at a Chubby Checker show. I'm rather disappointed. Clearly it's not the right method for the sleeve. I suspect really all I needed to do was move the shoulder notch forward and otherwise leave the pattern as is. I do have enough fabric to cut some more sleeves, so I just need to drum up the will to unpick my overlocking and have another go.

You might notice I haven't actually hemmed the sleeves in the pic, mostly because I ran out of time before having my photo shoot with darling Anna (thanks again lovely) so be aware extra length is needed for full length sleeves.  The sleeves have a decent amount of ease in them but I think I prefer the more fitted sleeve of the Mandy tee to balance the boxiness of the body.  I also prefer the drafting of the body/armscye seam of the Mandy - the Hemlock is just a rectangle and I found that a little clumsy when sewing up the sleeve seam and side seam in one pass. I feel a mashup of the Mandy plus Hemlock neckline will be my ultimate long sleeved boxy tee pattern!

Now, what I really want to know is what advice from your mother you wished you'd heeded, all those years ago??