Braided T-shirt Tutorial
April 23, 2012
I was inspired by this blog post I found on Pinterest of a recreation of a Banana Republic T-shirt with a braided neckline. I loved it however, both the recreation and the original were loose fitting in order to create the braided neckline. I didn't want a loose shirt, I have had enough. I wanted to create the braided neckline with a fitted or semi fitted Tee (Heck, any fit that you prefer). I also didn't like the ruching-gathering that was the natural bi-product of the recreation tutorial. So I decided to find a way of adding the braiding without the extras I didn't want. Here's how to do it.
First cut out your chosen t-shirt pattern but don't assemble. From the remaining fabric cut a 4 in wide strip that is 2.5 times the length you need your finished braid to be (Ex: for a 15 in. braid, I cut a 38 in. long strip). Layout your strip and cut a widthwise slit every 2 in. down the length leaving .5 in. on each side.
Next, we start braiding. Start at the right end, take the top most loop (there are now 2 parts to this strip, the slits and the loops. The loops are the sections of fabric in between each slit) and pull it up a bit to create a void.
Take the second loop and pull it up though the void you just created and pull it back down again.
Now take the 3rd loop and pull it up through the 2nd and pull it back down. Continue in this pattern until you have used up all your loops.
Secure each end with a quick little zig zag stitch. Make the braid a little longer than needed so the zig zag stitch will be hidden in each shoulder seam (you can always stretch it a bit if it is not quite long enough).
Pull the braid a bit to shape the braid and pull all the loops into place.
Pin the braid onto your neckline, overlapping the braid over the neck edge a bit and leaving the zig zag stitch hidden in the shoulder seam allowance. Stitch in place using a medium straight stitch worked down the middle of the braid. Next stitch another line about ¼ in. away from the center stitch line on the inside edge of the neckline (Not closest to the neck edge) tucking in the edges of the braid as you go. This final stitch line will keep the raw edges hidden and keep the braid from rolling to the wrong side of the t-shirt. Add some binding to the neck edge of the back t-shirt piece.
Assemble your t-shirt according to your pattern.
Feel free to add more than one braided piece to your neckline or at the waist. You can experiment with the size of your loops by cutting slits every 1 in or 3 in. this will make your braid more delicate or chunkier depending on the look and where you are placing your braided trim.
I used our Rayon Slub Jersey Knit Fabric. It is soft and has a night light drape. I recommend a jersey knit because the natural curl with hide any raw edges of the braid trim.
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