This post and the one to follow have been a long time coming. Sorry.
First up, the Super Hero Shirt:
Please ignore the abomination of a hem on this thing. Miss Singer and I had some words about this one and this was the best she was willing to give me.
This was supposed to be my son’s one and only Christmas gift from me but of course I ended up giving him a couple of impulse buys, too. I told him my plan and he and I shopped for the fabric together. We hadn’t even finished buckling him into the car seat in the fabric store parking lot when he declared that he wanted to go home and help me sew it right now but I insisted it was to be his Christmas gift and he had to wait for the big day.
Come Christmas day, he opened up the t-shirt and immediately changed into it right there in the living room amongst family, boxes, gifts, dogs, and an explosion of wrapping paper. The next gift he opened happened to be roller skates from Grandma so my super guy was flying around the house (as fast as a 3 year old just learning to skate can go) decked out in a super shirt, roller skates, and knee pads. My brother threw out the disclaimer that if the boy takes a flying leap off the top of the stairs in that get-up that he had absolutely nothing to do with it. Duly noted, big bro.
I based this awesome make on the Cape Tee Tutorial from the lovely Tara of Girl Like the Sea (who happens to live just a few towns north of me). Her stroke of genius to sew a super hero cape directly to a t-shirt has resulted in many delighted little super heroes running around saving the world lately.
While I didn’t get all eco-friendly with up-cycling like Tara, mostly thanks to my husband wearing all his t-shirts until they’re unfit for man or beast, I did use the basic construction that she recommends.
I started with a TNT kids t-shirt pattern that no longer even resembles its former self so I won’t mention which one it was. I purposely cut it big so that he could wear this thing to death long before outgrowing it. Then I cut the cuffs, neck binding, and cape out of the contrast fabric. Unfortunately, I really underestimated the length of fabric I’d need to cut the cape so I had was forced to cut it on the crossgrain. BIG MISTAKE. Never cut a super unstable knit on the crossgrain, especially when it’s going to hang loose by one of it’s edges, flap in the breeze and double as a hood every now and then.
I originally cut the cape only 3″ longer than the hem of the shirt. After it was sewn together, it was about 5″ longer. By the end of day 1 zooming around the house on the boy, it was hanging down to his ankles! It didn’t bounce back much after washing and drying, either.
Despite the extra-long cape, my little guy has been living in his super shirt to the point that I must pry it off of him. He even wants to sleep in it and after I insist on proper pajamas for the night so he doesn’t strangle to death in his cape he still wants put it on again the next day, filth, stains, and all. In the 4 weeks since Christmas it’s been worn at least a half dozen times and he only does his laundry once a week.
Thanks to the overwhelming popularity of the super shirt, there’s already another in the works. We picked out fabric for it last week and we may have a chance to whip it up today on our day off work if all goes well. Next time around, I’m going to stabilize back neckline in addition to the shoulders. This one has twill tape at the shoulder seams but the neck binding gets all wonky from the weight of the cape. I’m going to continue the twill tape all the way across the shoulders from one sleeve seam to the other. And perhaps Miss Singer will be more willing to cooperate with a different type of knit for the hem.