Floaty Viscose T-shirt (New Look 6217)

Hi all! I seem to have got my sew-jo back, since I have my third May make to show you. And it's a good one. 

The Ophelia top (New Look 6217)
Yes, it's just a simple T-shirt, but I really REALLY enjoyed making this. I wore it on Monday and loved wearing it too, so I'm super happy. This project also gets big ticks on all my sewing lists - my goals for 2016: to sew more separates (tick) and use my stash (tick), and it's also one more project to tick off my "projects in the pipeline" list. I love ticking things off lists! Yes I'm one of those people. I sometimes even add something I've already done to a list I'm writing, just so I can tick it. I'm odd, aren't I? Anyway, moving on....

The fabric. It is a lovely, soft, drapey viscose (known as rayon in the US I believe) leftover from the Poet's Corner dress I made almost 2 years ago. In that blog post I even wrote that I would make a top from the leftovers. Well, I have finally done it and it's a definite success.

When I made that dress two years ago, I had a bit of trouble with cutting out the fabric. I found it hard to keep the grain true and stop all that shifting of the lovely floaty fabric, so my cutting was less than accurate. I've read lots of tips since, most advocating use of a rotary cutter, but that isn't my bag. Whilst I love my rotary cutter for cutting rectangles and for quilting, for cutting out garments I much prefer my shears! I'd thought of trying the tissue paper sandwich method, but it seems quite wasteful and faffy to me. I've had success with silks soaking them in gelatine, but I didn't have time for the soaking and drying this time. So I did a bit of googling and found this article by Sunni at A Fashionable Stitch. It is a GAME CHANGER!

I was a bit sceptical, but it totally, 100% worked. It honestly is a little bit like magic. All my seam lines and notches matched up, everything stayed on grain and I got nice clean cutting lines rather than jagged ones. And it was so easy. 

I didn't have any calico around, so I used an old duvet cover (which has been hacked a bit for dress linings). I laid it out on the floor, laid my viscose nice and flat on top of it, then pinned the pattern through all three layers. Then, as Sunni directed, I cut through only the viscose layer. Wow, oh wow I'm impressed with this method! It is making me want to sew all things viscose, because it was so easy and I love wearing viscose.

Did you know that viscose is made of wood pulp? So it is technically a man made fibre but it comes from a natural raw product, if that makes sense. That explains why it's so breathable and comfortable to wear! I found Karen's post about viscose really interesting, with lots of wisdom in the comments, too.

I used my walking foot when sewing it, and had no bother at all, it behaved so well. 

Now, the pattern. It's been sat in my stash for yonks - I think it came free with Sew magazine last year some time - and after doing a bit of googling of other people's versions, I decided this would be my viscose tee. I made a size 14 with no alterations, and it's just right. Be cautioned, there are 4" of ease on top of body measurements allowed in the sizing of this, so you might want to size down one size (my measurements were in the size 16 bracket but I'm glad I sized down, this is perfect).

There's a little keyhole in the back seam, which I really like. The pattern calls for you to make a thread loop but I went with a quicker and easier rouleau loop. I made so many for my wedding dress and blue dress that I don't really find them stressful now! 

Kind of pretty much pattern matched centre back seam!
The button is of mysterious origins, it was in my button tin. There's another thing that gives me ridiculous levels of joy. Searching for the right button in the button tin is my idea of a good time! Tell me I'm not the only one?! 

I used a 3/8" hem on the sleeves and the hem rather than the 5/8" allowed on the pattern. This was mostly due to laziness, as it meant I could just overlock and turn up the overlocked bit. I know, I know, I should have changed the thread on my overlocker. Shhh no one would ever know. 

The pattern calls for a bias binding neckline facing, so I used some white binding that I got for 50p a packet a couple of months ago up north. It also helps to stabilise the neckline a bit, so I'm glad I didn't go to the effort of making viscose self fabric binding, there'd have been no point. 

I do wish that I had made it slightly longer like Jane did. This length is fine, but I think I'll add an inch next time. There will be a next time! I have some black viscose queuing up, I'm itching to make another of these! 


  1. Lovely rayon and a nice top for it. I might try that rayon cutting trick next time. I just cut out a shirt and I did the big piece ok on the floor and did the smaller contrast pieces on the table with my rotary and cutting mat. First time I had used my rotary for anything other than straight lines with the ruler and I did not feel like I had full control over it!

    1. Thank you! Oh I have done that before too with the rotary cutter - I can't seem to get it to behave properly on curves! I'm sure one gets the "knack" after a while but for me shears will always be my favourite. Looking forward to seeing you shirt when it's done! x

  2. Gorgeous fabric! And cheers for the viscose cutting trick, I haven't heard that one before.

    1. Honestly, it's a game changer! I hadn't heard of it either, and I was a bit dubious at the idea, but it's bloody magic x