Essential sewing keeping me clothed and sane

The Metro, The Cosmos and An Old Lady


The knit stash is just a wee bit reduced, having cut some of it up into T-shirt pattern pieces and sewing them together. The pattern is Vogue 9057, a Marcy Tilton T-shirt / tunic top and came along with the Craftsy class on the Artful T-shirt.


I started gently and as my confidence grew so did the number of fabrics used. Each shirt is named after the fabric used. The Metro is an American nostalgia theme print with street and city signs, dollars, stamps and a rather creepy image of JFK. The Cosmos is a single jersey printed in a Nebula/universe design. The Old Lady is flowers in lilacs and lace. Here’s the week’s work –

1. One fabric – Vest with neck and armholes bound in coordinating fabric. Pattern view C


2. Two fabrics – The Metro: asymmetrical T-shirt/tunic with plain fabric sleeve, cuffs and neckband. Pattern view B.


3. 1 & 2 together – Vest on top and vest below. Pattern views B & C

4. Three fabrics – The Cosmos: asymmetrical T-shirt/tunic with coordinating sleeves in plain and stripes with contrasting cuffs and neckband. Pattern view B


5. Four fabrics – The Old Lady – Draped hem T-shirt/tunic with lace sleeve, double neckband, contrasting cuffs , sleeve bands and additional hem band. Pattern view D


Some design details:

Each sleeve has a large cuff like a facing on the inside (apart from the Old Lady where it’s on the outside). This means when I turn the cuff back, as I am apt to do,  there is a contrast fabric.

I secured the facing cuff with an extra contrast fabric band.

The Old Lady has a double neck band – one made with the selvedge of the black lace and the second with the cotton print. There is also an additional 3″ band around the hem.


Once you choose which fabrics to use and where they will go, the sewing up of the shirt is simple, straightforward and quick – about 1 – 1.5hrs. It’s a good go-to-sleep ritual to consider the fabrics for each shirt so that the next day you’re all ready to go. I straight stitched each seam then finished off on the overlocker. The best thing about T-shirts is that you don’t need an armoury of notions – no buttons, zips, interfacing, hooks or eyes.

Not only did I try to combine colour and pattern but I mixed materials: there is stretch lace with scuba, poly jersey with cotton knit, Lycra and viscose in a one-way stretch and two-way stretch. I experienced no predominantly prohibitive problems with this method of sewing, so I’m continuing with this method on future shirts.

To avoid looking like an old lady myself when wearing the Old Lady, adopt a badass attitude, a scowl, bed-head hair and a plethora of black and silver jewellery.


But you know that’s not really me so here I am smiling as usual but still trying not to look like an old lady… paired with grey skinny jeans and calf length purple boots



There’s still a small  country’s GDP worth of jersey knits to sew through, so watch this space.



58 thoughts on “The Metro, The Cosmos and An Old Lady

  1. Very cool, and not old-ladyish at all lol

  2. Definitely a very badass pic of you LOL. That is a real “Don’t mess with my sewing stuff look!” These are very imaginative combinations. I am still fighting with the applique work on my Ruth designed dress (I’m winning) and will send you a photo when done. Take care, you are doing lovely work.

  3. LOL – isn’t a plump stash heart warming? My favorite of this lovely collection is the Metro fabric – but I do really like the Old Lady version as well. Appears you’re having a fun time with this – Rock on!

    • Oh Coco, no, I find a fabric stash guilt inducing. I will sew it all up before I buy anymore and I think a few friends and relatives might be getting a T-shirt or two!
      Fun – heck, yes!

  4. The colors of the Metro are probably my favorite. I do like pink 😊
    Other than there being big cabbage roses in the last top, there is nothing old lady about it. You look fabulous, and not one bit old!

  5. I have many special feelings about these. Beautiful work! Also- good plan to keep JFK away from your bosom.

  6. Great work, love the metro fabric in particular but all your makes look terrific.

  7. I have to confess that I am usually quite skeptical about draped, asymmetrical things…but you look great in that top and I like the styling with the jewellery and purple boots. Definitely far from an old lady.

  8. Love the Old Lady xxx

  9. Love them, really imaginative combinations, Great bad ass photo!

  10. I like them all. I didn’t think I would as the pattern photos never appeal but they look great on you.

  11. I like Cosmos the best – especially the mixing in of stripes with the soft and swirly pinks. Very successful. I love that you can wear them different ways, over and under each other, and the detail on the sleeves. The fabric choices is what makes these stand out, so I am dying to see where you go next with them. Great work as ever Ruth.

  12. No way you look like an old lady with the boots, modern leggings and jewelry..the attitude does help though!

  13. It’s hard for me to visualize how the t-shirts will look on a body when they are in the flat, but seeing them on you makes all the difference! You look awesome (per usual)! You are definitely one of my style heroes:)

    • Thanks Angela, very much appreciated but I really don’t look like this all day long! In fact I wore the Old Lady at work today and noticed a big curry stain on the front! Hope I didn’t burst your bubble there!

  14. I agree with Angela. These tops look so much better on you than they do on the hanger. Really well done. You look great!

  15. I was eyeing that class myself Ruth. Great tops, and I love how the long side is different for sleeved and sleeveless so you can wear them together, but apart, if you know what I mean. Your experiments in pattern-mixing were highly successful, imo.

    • There’s no ‘sewing’ in the class, it’s more an inspirational class about pushing boundaries and trying stuff. There are some tips and tutorials about sleeve and neck finishings. More experiments to come Felicia, thank you.

  16. The ‘old lady’ is my favourite. Lovely tops.

  17. Wow Ruth! Your creativity has gone wild. These all look great. I particularly love the one you are wearing, but I suspect they all look better on a body than on a hanger. You have prompted me to look into this Craftsy class. Inspiring work as always.

  18. They all look fabulous!

  19. I love your tops. Very inspirational and can’t wait to make my own. Tbe pattern bas arrived but need to find something special to feature. I was interested in how you mixed fabrics. I might have to try that to. Tanks for sharing..

    • Lois, you will need WIDE fabric for the asymmetrical and draped tops. I mostly bought 1m lengths but you def need 1.5 – 2m for the main body. This will leave you with scraps for sleeves, neckbands and other stuff.The choosing of fabrics is really the hardest part about making the T-shirt. Let your imagination run wild and see what happens. I still think I was a little reserved and predicable with these versions.

  20. I love drapey, asymmetrical shapes and this is one of my favorite Marcy patterns. Love, love, love the colors in the old lady! Really great combo!!

  21. It looks like you’ve cracked knit fabric. I wasn’t sure about this pattern but it looks great on you and the way you have styled it. I like the cuff detail great idea. X

  22. Love your creative variations n color combos

  23. Knew the knit fashion show would be great – everything looks wonderful – just didn’t know you’d churn out so much in such a short time! Very impressive – and inspirational. Thanks.

    • Thank you Mari. The sewing up of the T-shirt takes no time at all. Once everything is cut out and ready to go I can sew one of these quicker than I could get in the car, go to the shops, try on and buy something….and then it wouldn’t look like one of these.

  24. First of all, the tops look great!

    Second, what did you think of the class? I’ve watched a few youtube videos by Marcy Tilton, and I kind of find her patterns a bit too arty/busy but I loved when she did a series on her blog a few years ago on different tee shirts, and the tee shirt gallery on her blog. So I think her style may be growing on me! Curious as to how you found the class though :).

    • Thanks Anon. There’s not much sewing in the class but an assumption that you know what you’re doing – it’s not for beginners. However, I found it somehow inspiring to mix fabrics and try new things. Tunic type T-shirts are a wee bit “middle-aged” and although I am in that age group, I’m not 100% sure I want to dress that way.

      • Hm. I have sewn a few tees (well, actually I think over 10, though it was a few years ago and I only have one left now) and I have found the pattern mixing I’ve seen Marcy Tilton doing on her website to be interesting. Would that translate into enjoying the class? I have quite a few 0.25 of a meter lengths of knit fabric, as well as full size pieces, and a few that I love the pattern, but they are a bit thin to be worn as just a tee…

  25. Lovely styling! The colours make them so trendy!

  26. The tech pictures don’t look terribly inspiring but I love all of these tops. Using multiple fabrics looks like a lot of fun , and also a great way of using those ‘small pieces’.

    • Sometimes fun Kim and sometimes, really frustrating. But I do seem to be learning something about mixing and combining colours and fabrics. Thank you.

  27. What old lady? I don’t see an old lady! Fascinating to see all these fabrics coming together, very creative use of colors…and accessories. I particularly like the pink with black/gray stripe, unexpected and fun combination!

  28. You look fabulous! Your boots in the last photos are gorgeous – your legs look amazing! You are definitely someone to aspire to. 🙂

    Gem x

  29. Gosh, I love all of these. I’m just wondering if I could do this. I’ve always been so afraid of knits. I’m looking seriously at the Craftsy class. Thanks for the inspiration.

  30. Pingback: 40 Shades + | corecouture

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