Make Nine Challenge Sewing

Two Lark Tees in Organic Cotton Jersey

March 30, 2016

To follow up with my last post about things I’ve learned sewing with knits, I have photos of me actually wearing said knits! The pattern is Lark, by Grainline Studio, which I just bought online last month and couldn’t wait to make. The fabric I used came to me courtesy of Organic Cotton Plus (in exchange for a review) and while the fabrics weren’t my favorite on their own initially, they ultimately became my new favorite shirts! Let me explain…


Spoiler Alert: There’s definitely a happy ending to this fabric review, but I do have a few honest points to make as I go. I’ve done several reviews for Organic Cotton Plus in the past and I’ve always been happy with their products, but when I first opened up this most recent package my initial impression was a little lack luster. “Hmm… okay so they’re knits” is basically what I said as I pulled them out and unfolded the yardage. In the defense of OCP, it’s hard for me to get crazy excited over any fabric that isn’t a wicked fun print, that’s just how I roll.


This first fabric is 56″ Light Jersey in Smokey Teal. It’s listed as a tubular knit but mine did not come in a tube. It came cut open with a makeshift selvage that was dotted with what looked like dried glue. I can’t understand the point of the “glue” since jersey isn’t a fabric that tends to unravel, but since I wasn’t planning to use the selvage edge for my t-shirt, the presentation of the fabric didn’t bother me in the end.


I will say, I really love the color and texture of this fabric! Depending on the light, the color can look more blue or more green. The texture is definitely soft but has kind of a matte finish when compared to an Art Gallery brand knit. Overall it’s a nice, basic t-shirt weight with decent stretch recovery. The ends curl when you sew with it but that’s not out of the ordinary for knits. I cut my front and back pieces flat, not on the fold, so I only needed one yard to make my shirt. Awesome!


For this version, I chose the scoop neck Lark with a cap sleeve. I made exactly two modifications to the pattern and that’s it. I removed 1/2″ from the front shoulder seam and added it to the back shoulder seam to account for my Lady Turtle shoulders (this is a super simple adjustment that helps promote a better balance and fit for those with rounded upper backs and/or forward sloping shoulders!), and I also added a cuff to the bottom of the sleeve.


Instead of using my full bust measurement, I picked a size based on my upper or high bust measurement so I’d get the most flattering fit in the shoulders. That put me at the smallest size, so if I wanted a tighter fit I’d have to do some re-working, but Lark is a slouchier fit tee anyways, which I like because I can wear it loose or knot it at the waist for different looks.


Okay now for the stripey version! This is the fabric that excited me more right out of the envelope because I loooooved the wide stripe and the neutral oatmeal colors. SO pretty! It’s a 66″ Striped Colorgrown Jersey that did actually come stitched as a tubular knit. It’s 100% organic cotton fabric, made in the USA, and I actually learned something pretty neat when ordering this “Colorgrown” fabric. Natural un-dyed cotton grows in colors ranging from various shades of brown to green, so the stripe you see in this fabric is a result of two different colors of natural cotton, not dye. It’s literally naturally occurring color that is grown, hence the name!


The only cautionary thing I have to say about this fabric is Holy Shrinkage Batman!! All of the knits I’ve sewn with thus far (from any company) haven’t shrunk a significant amount when pre-washing, so I was naive and only asked Organic Cotton Plus for one single yard to work with. I usually wash my fabric and my clothes, with warm water and tumble dry on medium heat. When I pulled this piece out of the dryer my reaction was “Uh oh…” as I noticed the stripes had gotten smaller. Noticeably smaller. Sure enough, I re-measured the yard and the fabric shrank over six inches in length!


I suppose it’s normal for raw/natural cotton to shrink quite a bit, but again, I was naive and didn’t plan for that. I barely had enough fabric to lay my front and back pattern pieces out, but I made it work. I don’t know how I managed to fit all my pieces AND stripe match as well as I did, but hot damn those are some nice match-y stripes! …if I do say so myself. …humbly, of course 😉

I probably should have ironed my seams a little better after washing my finished tees and before taking blog photos. Oh well, you can’t have it all. I don’t normally iron t-shirts anyways.


This is also a scoop neck Lark but with the short sleeve instead of cap sleeve. I made the same “Lady Turtle” modification at the shoulder and also added a tiny sleeve cuff. My mom fell in love with this version when she saw it so now that I’ve gotten a chance to wear it out once and blog about it, I’m being the best daughter ever and giving it to her. You’re welcome Mom! 🙂


I’ll probably never get my stripes to match up this well again so I’m going to bask in it while I can! Sorry, not sorry.

Other things of note: This is the second pattern I’ve made in my #2016MakeNine challenge, and also the second Sleep Season Slouch hat I’ve knit.

If you missed my last post, and are curious about some of the things I’ve learned so far on my newbie journey sewing with knits (or would like to see what my tees looked liked freshly pressed before I wore them for a week straight), check it out and let me know if you have tips to add!


Okay so my final thoughts on the fabric – I love it! I really do. While it didn’t wow me initially, I really enjoyed sewing with it and I have two awesome, super wearable shirts now because of it. While I don’t recommend buying just one yard for a t-shirt (unless you like living on the edge), the price point of this organic fabric is similar to other non-organic Quilt Industry knits I’ve purchased in the past. Yes the Colorgrown stripe is shrink-y, and yeah my smokey teal “tubular” jersey had a weird selvage, but after working with them I’d buy both fabrics myself in the future.

Thanks again to Organic Cotton Plus for contacting me with the opportunity to try out some great knits!


(edit: thank you to my know-it-all mother and brother for informing me I use way too many commas in my blog posts sorry not sorry is that better you’re welcome shut up i love you)