This week we are pleased to bring you a collaboration with our friends at SewBatik, a fellow Expo vendor side-lined by COVID-19. We have loved and sewn tops with SewBatik’s rayon batik fabric for years. Knit jersey batik joined their line-up a few years ago, so I made this fun Tabula Rasa Knit Tee (TRK Tee) with cuffs and angled collars for Diane to showcase the possibilities. Now we want to share it with fans of both Fit for Art Patterns and Sew Batik.
This post is going to highlight the steps to add two features from Wide Neckline Variations for Tabula Rasa Knits to the core Tabula Rasa Knit Tee pattern — the Angled Collars and Flared Cuffs. Meet the Tabula Rasa Knits is a great place to start learning about the special features of the core Tabula Rasa Knit pattern. If you’ve never made a Tabula Rasa Knit Tee or Tunic, we suggest you begin by sewing one basic top, like this V-neck batik knit tee made from Sew Batik’s Purple Magic knit jersey, to get familiar with the square armhole construction method.
Prepare Front and Back with Boat Neckline
To fit the Angled Collar to the TRK Tee, we must modify the front and back necklines with the Boat Neck Templates. Here you can see on my layout that I pinned the appropriate templates, cut out in the same size as the tee, to the front and back patterns, lining up the grainline and armhole notches. Then I folded the core pattern neckline down and out of the way for cutting the pattern pieces. Alternatively, you can trace off your core front and back patterns and then tape the boat neck templates to the traced copies; this allows you to be ready to make the next wide neckline variation more quickly!
Before sewing the front and back together, I fused Soft Stretch interfacing along the front and back necklines. This provides stability for the collar and shoulders which bear the greatest weight and wear of the garment. Use the neckline edge of your templates to cut the interfacing.
Prepare alternating Angled Collars
When it comes to adding Angled or Rounded Collars to the tee, there are choices – make it lined or unlined? If unlined, one or two layers? Stacked or in alternating directions? For this tee, I chose unlined, because the fabric looks almost the same on the wrong side as the right side. I chose two layers in alternating directions because I had these 3 great color coordinated fabrics to play with! Be inspired by samples of other styles of Wide Neckline Tees with collars in our Photo Gallery.
I cut the lower collar layer and side panels out of Coral Pink Spray and the upper collar layer out of Coral Pink Gardenista Vine. When you are alternating the direction of the collars, be careful to turn the patterns over to cut the second set of front and back collars! Here you can see me considering which layer to put on top.
To prepare the collars, sew the front and back of each pair together at the shoulder, then finish the outer edge with your chosen technique. I finished the raw edges of the collar with a serger rolled edge. If you don’t have a serger, test out some of the overlock stitches on your regular machine, or turn the outer edges under ¼” and top stitch them down. Stack one set of collars over the other and baste them together along the neckline.
The trickiest part of this assembly is inserting the collars into the front and back, so don’t overlook the very important instruction to leave 3/8” of each shoulder seam (collars and body of the tee) unstitched closest to the neck! It makes it easier to pivot at the corners as you sew the collars onto the body of the tee. After stitching the collars to the front and back, secure the seam allowances to the front and back of the Tee with two rows of topstitching. Don’t worry if it’s not perfect! The topstitching is completely hidden under the collars.
Add Layered Cuffs
The sleeve and cuff combination also required a bit of advance planning. The Flared Cuff is sized to fit a wrist length sleeve, but Diane wanted a ¾-length sleeve. I calculated how much to shorten the sleeve to achieve Diane’s preferred length with a 3” deep cuff. (Don’t forget to include a seam allowance in that calculation or you’ll end up with a shorter sleeve than you intended.) This change required an additional adjustment to make sure the width of the cuff pattern matches the shortened sleeve pattern at their mutual seam line.
I cut one set of Flared Cuffs out of each coral pink fabric. After deciding which fabric would be the upper layer, I cut that pair of cuffs ½” shorter than the under layer. I finished the outer edges of all cuffs and the side seam with the same serger rolled hem as I used on the collars, and then basted the two layers together. Finally the cuffs were sewn to each sleeve, seam allowances pressed up and topstitched in place, just like the collars.
Make Your Own!
If you’d like to make a collared Tabula Rasa Knit Tee like this one, take advantage of our special sale on the patterns and Sew Batik’s sale on the fabric. Purchase the discounted SewBatik Knit Bundle, including the core Tabula Rasa Knit Tee pattern and Wide Neckline Variations pattern, and we’ll throw in a ¼ yard of Soft Stretch fusible interfacing to try out. Purchase a Fashion Pack of color-coordinated jersey knit fabric from SewBatik, cut in just the amounts you need to make this top, in your choice of color ways. We can’t wait to see the knit tops you create, so post them with hashtags for #fitforartpatterns, #sewbatik, and #tabularasaknits.
You will find many other instructive posts about making knit tops in our archive of Sew! Let’s Get Dressed blog posts; just click on the relevant topics (e.g. Knits) or enter terms in the search box. Visit the Knits Help page for links to several resources including Common Fitting Adjustments for Tabula Rasa Knits. You can also find inspiration from the knit tops included in our Photo Gallery.
Happy Sewing! Carrie