After completing the undershirt mockup/fitting, I finished the seams and added decoration around the collar. Here’s what I did:
Sergeing the Seams
I used my serger to sew stronger seams that wouldn’t fray – the linen I chose falls apart at the edges easily, so using the serger or covering the seams in bias tape was necessary.
I basically retraced the same stitch order I did in the initial mockup, but to do that, I had to first rip apart the seams partially in some places. I removed the sleeves from the shoulders and serged the shoulder seams.
Next, I opened the armpit and serged the sleeves onto the armhole. The fabric on one of the armholes kept puckering. To smooth it out, I ripped the seam open, flattened the fabric and restitched.
Finally, I sewed up the sides and down the length of the sleeves, leaving me a mostly finished garment.
With the undershirt serged together, I pulled out my iron and pressed the seams. I also pressed the hems into the shape I wanted. I decided to fold over every hem (bottom of the shirt and sleeves) twice to ensure the edges weren’t showing at all. This will prevent fraying in the future.
Before rolling the hems, however, I had to trim a lot of the linen that had already frayed.
Eww – frayed hem!
(Side note: You can totally tell the day is passing by the change of lighting in my photos.)
I used my sewing machine to stitch the hems. For the sleeves, I marked where the shirt should end on my wrists and used that as a guide for cutting/hemming the length.
The undershirt fits me perfectly, which is a happy surprise – I drafted this pattern without draping first, so I wasn’t sure it would work out so nicely. I’m glad it did!
I had some issues getting the neckline right. I first tried making bias tape (I’ll write a post about how to make your own) out of my spare linen fabric, then wrapping that around the neckline. But between the tape not being long enough and some sewing troubles, I did not like how it looked.
So, I ripped all the tape off and instead made another long strip of tape. However, instead of folding it three times, I just folded it in half and attached that at the neckline with my serger. I think this method looks great, and it was a lot less of a headache.
All of the reference images I found have the same pattern at the neckline. I came up with a few ideas for how to pull it off but ultimately used woven ribbon.
I purchased green and red ribbon and made a series of button holes along the neckline using my sewing machine.
The buttonholes were a little wonky, but I kept them. I also embroidered some green stripes between the red ribbon to create a red-green alternating pattern. With the ribbons threaded, I stitched them into place.
The whole undershirt only took me a couple of weeks of intermittent work, and I’m fairly happy with the outcome. There are definitely imperfections in the shirt, but the time it would take to fix them isn’t worth it right now. I want to focus on ensuring I have time to finish the whole outfit before I go back and make adjustments.