Introduction: Silk Screened Women's Knit Top

One feature of this instructable is adjusting a pattern so that full figured women can have a good design for displaying silk screened graphic art.  The no-dart T-shirt doesn't work so well on that body type and neither does graphic art and lettering across the bust.  So for this project I started with a princess knit top pattern with a crew neck that I knew fit well, where the princess line runs to the shoulder rather than into the armcye.  

Now for the pattern adjustment, I traced the pattern onto new paper and put the original away so there's no chance these changes would destory it. I get rag pattern paper by the roll, but if you don't have that then wax paper, freezer paper, or even tissue wrapping paper would work.  Then I cut across the front and side front 4" above the bust point.  Depending on the distance between the top of the shoulder and your bust point, this amount may vary.  Next I eliminated the seam between the side front and front in the pieces which are above the new seam.  Then add seam allowances to the bottom edge of this piece, and also add it to the top of the new side front and front pieces.  This now give a straight, flat area upon which graphic designs can be screened and still be flattering for a fuller figure.  Next I shaped the neckline opening to be reminiscent of an Indian kurta.  I drafted a facing to match this drawn neckline.  

I screened the Om symbol in the silk screening class at the Tech Shop, San Jose, taught by Karen Davis (  At the time I screened it onto the yardage, not the garment.  I made it at the Tech Shop! That allowed me to have some flexibility in the positioning of the graphic before I invested all the time in construction.  I could overlay the pattern piece to put it exactly where I wanted the design to appear. Before I even cut it out, I used a gold metallic fabric pen with gold flecks, to outline the graphic and add a little more visual interest.  

Next I cut all of the pieces, and also cut interfacing from FusiKnit for the facing.  I constructed the entire facing and then fused the interfacing to it, and serged the outer edges.

The knit was a little heavy for summer heat, so I decide to build in some ventilation and add a design element at the same time.  I cut slits into the middle of the sleeve from near the shoulder nearly to the sleeve hem.  And then I pulled the fabric apart, which make the wrungs of the fabric ladder to curl, and this opening little windows between each of them . Then I sewed the garment together using a 3-thread serger which preserved the stretch of the fabric in the seams, and trimmed the seam allowances all at the same time.  

After I attached the facing and trimmed the seams and pressed them, I chose a decorative stitching pattern to use around the neck.  Note that the stitch pattern didn't have a mirror function, and so it was important to start stitching at the low point at the center fron and sew up the right side to the center back, and then to start at the center front again, but this time sew to the left, otherwise the left and right sides of the decorative stitch wouldn't be mirrors of each other.  This decorative stitching also served to prevent the facing from flipping out while being worn.  It reinforces the kurta design element, since often kurtas have several rows of decorative stitching that follows the outline of the neck opening.

Finally the hem and sleeve hems are done using a double needle.  This is a stretch needle that when sewn using a straight stitch setting, will produce a double row of stitches on the top, but on the wrong side the stitch will appear to be  a zigzag. This type of stitch will also preserve the stretch of the fabric in the hems.  Without the measures to insure that we have a stretch stitch, the stitches would pop during motion when worn.  

Finally, even though I constructed the back from the regular pattern, in order to carry the design change through the garment, I put a tuck around the back and side back even with the stitches on the front and made that tuck using a small zigzag, once again to preserve the stretch.   At the very end I pressed it, given special attention to the neckline and hems.