Now that Kwik Sew has been taken over by BMV, it is included in the sales so I have acquired a number of their patterns.
One of the patterns I picked up is Kwik Sew 3915, a t-shirt with two neckline options. I've seen this style of collar in a number of ready-to-wear pieces, including this St. John's Knit ($295). You know how much I love t-shirt variations, so I had to give this one a try. I used one of the athletic knits from Fabric Mart. This is a really nice thick and beefy knit with good recovery. I almost regretted using it for regular clothes because it is definitely athleticwear-worthy!
Full disclosure: it's unfair to call this a review of Kwik Sew 3950, because the only thing from the KS pattern in the finished top is the width of the collar. I used the body of my TNT tee so I wouldn't have to worry about fit, copying the KS neckline onto it, and then ended up altering the neckline substantially.
There is a printing error, or at least a printing weirdness, on the pattern sheet. There are two neckline choices for the top; the collar is View A. So I traced and cut where it says "View A" and has arrows pointing to the various sizes. When I went to sew the collar in place, it wouldn't fit. Then I realized that I shouldn't have cut where the arrows point to View A, but where "View A Neckline" is printed. I was pretty annoyed.
As drafted, I am way not into the KS collar. The neckline is super high, which is not a look I find flattering or comfortable. After sewing it up as drafted I thought about trying to live with it, or maybe adding some hand gathering to the collar to widen the neck opening, but finally decided, Nope, not happening, and ripped off the collar.
I went back and looked at my inspiration piece and saw that the neckline opening in the body of the shirt was much lower than in the KS.
I cut a new square neckline in the front with the bottom of the square at the lower edge of the bridge on my bra (the collar fills in the space, raising the neckline higher; there is no chance of bra show-through). I made the lower edge of the neckline opening 2 1/4 inches wide, based roughly on the proportions in the St. John's tee. The folded Kwik Sew collar, minus 1/4" seam allowances, is 3 1/2 inches wide. The St. John's collar seems softly gathered into the opening, so I kept the original width of the KS collar.
The resulting neckline is 28 3/4 inches long. Based on my pattern measurements, the KS collar is drafted to be about 90% the length of the neckline. However, I felt that even this gentle gathering was creating pulling lines, as you can see in the photo above. Every line is very obvious in this shiny fabric, even though I turned the shiniest side in. So I cut the St. John's collar the full length of the neckline.
I folded the collar in half (wrong sides together), gathered the lower edges, and stitched it into the neckline. I had a hard time getting the square corners perfectly square. I did my usual inset square method of reinforcing the inner corner and then clipping to the seamline.
Once it's clipped, spread it out flat for stitching.
The corners ended up a little rounded but I can live with it. There are 5 layers of bulk with the double layer gathered collar laid over itself and the body of the top, which also makes the corner difficult. Here is a view of the inside.
This top was a comedy of errors to make and took way too long for a t-shirt. However, the final result was worth it. It makes for a dressier, more sophisticated tee and now that I've figured out how to do it hopefully the next version will go a little quicker! I can see myself with a whole wardrobe of this style. It will be a nice change from my default cowl neck (not that I don't have one of those to show you soon).
The only thing I will change is to consider lowering the front neckline opening even more. I feel the collar still comes a touch high. However, this fabric is thick and quite substantial; a lighter-weight fabric might relax and open a little lower. Cidell found some more of the "major brand manufacturer" base layer fabric and kindly picked some up for me in both black and navy. The only decision I have to make is which color to choose in making a fancy summer tee!
All photos are here and the pattern review is here.
Thank you so much for the good thoughts for my dad. It looked really dire for several weeks, but then it was determined that he had an undiagnosed infection. Once they began treating that, everything turned around in a truly miraculous way. He has been in a hospital or nursing home for over a month now, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel (we hope).
Alert: Sew Confused is giving away a copy of Cal Patch's patternmaking book. Visit her blog for details--it's supposed to be an awesome resource.