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The leftover fabric Briar tee

The Briar tee made from leftover fabric // Megan Nielsen Design Diary

I am so thrilled with how this tee turned out! The second winter hits in Perth I seem to have a never ending desire for more long sleeved tops. Every year. I mean where are all the tops going that I keep feeling i need more? It’s probably the lack of central heating making me feel constantly cold, ha! I am trying really hard this year to be intentional with my fabric use and use up as many fabric scraps as I can before I cut into anything new, and that’s basically how this tee was born! After making Bunny’s gorgeous floral dress there was a rectangle of fabric left that wasn’t really big enough to make anything with but it was too pretty to waste.

The Briar tee made from leftover fabric // Megan Nielsen Design Diary
The Briar tee made from leftover fabric // Megan Nielsen Design Diary

Briar tees are basically my favourite wardrobe staple, and given how much i still wear the Liberty back Briar i made 5 years ago (seriously though, how is it possible that time is moving so fast?!) I thought i would try and do something similar. Unfortunately the back pattern piece of the Briar tee was too large for the scrap i had left, but was just enough for the front pattern piece! For the sleeves and back I ended up using the scraps leftover from the Rowan tee I made last year. I considered that tee to be a bit of a failure as a garment because it was too see through to wear on it’s own, so i really only use it for layering. But here for the back and sleeves it didn’t really matter! Due the odd shapes of the scraps leftover I couldn’t quite get the full length sleeves cut in a single piece so I ended up splicing together some of the scraps to make the sleeves and then added some cuffs just to finish off the last bits of fabric.

The jeans are my skinny Ash jeans, and they are definitely getting a fair workout this winter!

The Briar tee made from leftover fabric // Megan Nielsen Design Diary

Now onto the negatives, I’m not going to lie to you the spliced sleeve is my least favourite part of this garment. Don’t get me wrong, i’m thrilled to have used up all that fabric that wasn’t being used for anything – but i really don’t like where the seam hits on my arm. Having a seam just below the elbow looks a little odd in my opinion. Perhaps I’m wrong? But i just feel like that whole seam just looks weird. I am honestly incredibly tempted to chop the sleeves off and make it a short sleeved tee. The only thing stopping me is that then the sleeves would go to waste. I am trapped by my desire to avoid waste!

But having made that one complaint I am super happy with this tee! I’m so glad to have used up these leftover pieces of fabric and to have a nice comfy tee out of it. I honestly think i need to do projects like this more often. I generate so many fabric scraps, and quite often there is enough yardage left to fit one or two pattern pieces. Turning them into useful garments with a complimentary fabric is a much better solution than keeping indefinitely in that box in my wardrobe… that is actually more like 3 boxes.

But it’s ok because once again i’ve justified to myself that hoarding every scrap of fabric was worth it, so there is basically no hope for me now!

The Briar tee made from leftover fabric // Megan Nielsen Design Diary
About Author

Meg is the Founder and Creative Director of Megan Nielsen Patterns, and is constantly dreaming up ideas for new sewing patterns and ways to make your sewing journey more enjoyable! She gets really excited about design details and is always trying to add way too many variations to our patterns.

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Nicole
Nicole
4 years ago

I love that you use scraps and also still wear a five year old make. I wear the clothes I love until they have no life left. I’ll fix, alter and sometimes cut into them to make something else if it’s really beyond saving. My MiL doesn’t like that I wear and wear the same clothes so she often offers to take me shopping, which I always politely decline!

Pernille
Pernille
4 years ago

It’s lovely, and I’m the same with saving almost every scrap <3

I think I would make a seam or two more on the lower sleeve to make it look even more like an intentional design element… and thank you for inspiring me… <3

Hilary
4 years ago
Reply to  Pernille

What a great idea! Makes it more of a design feature! Love it!

Rebecca
Rebecca
4 years ago

Your shirt is lovely – and well done for using your scraps! Believe me, no one is going to notice that seam – it is barely visible in the photos. If they do comment, say it is a ‘design feature’!

Anne
Anne
4 years ago

I love the spliced sleeve seam!

Sandra Mundt
4 years ago

I save any scraps that are too small to make anything in a tote bag. When I have enough, I make another pet bed and use it for stuffing. The last one I made, I used a night gown we found in my MiL’s stuff after she passed. I cut it under the arm pits, closed one end, stuffed with scraps, closed the other end and the animals love it. Cats and dogs alike.

Sandra Mundt
4 years ago
Reply to  Meg

Just cut the scraps smaller so it’s not so lumpy. ?

Hilary
4 years ago

I’m coming to the end of my MA shortly and have done a fair bit of research now into textile waste. I hate to waste any fabric too!

I think as designers and/or sewers we have to make responsibly. The trend for ephemeral fashion generates massive amounts of waste each year and I’ve thought long and hard about how I can reduce my clothing consumption by only making garments than I need, that will continue to look good over time, and that can really earn their place in my wardrobe. It’s a work in progress!

I’ve been looking at natural, biodegradable fibres and natural dyes and would love for all my clothes to be made of these textiles. The problem I have is that I also have a stash of man-made fibre textiles which I need to do something with! So, I’ll continue to make from my stash (and my scrap stash) but it doesn’t sit well with how I would like to make clothes.

Anyone else have this sort of dilemma?

Hilary
4 years ago
Reply to  Meg

Hi Meg, yes I agree, it’s better to do something small than nothing at all! And it’s good to raise awareness. Thanks for your encouragement – it’s helpful to know you feel the same.

M C
M C
4 years ago

Megan, just topstitch the seam as that will make it a design detail. Then do the same on the cuff hem. It would be a shame to cut the sleeves. You need to keep warm!

Maggie
Maggie
4 years ago

I like the cuff – but what about folding it back to make 3/4 length sleeves, so the cuff is less prominent? You could always stitch the seams together from the fold to the end of the cuff to make sure the cuff doesn’t keep undoing

Helen Kocent
Helen Kocent
3 years ago

One last comment – when making an intentional splice to your sleeve, I find it looks more like a design feature and is also more of a comfortable ridge if the splice is on an angle, mirrored on the other side and then topstitched. Love your t shirt!