Show your Canadian spirit by wearing this T-shirt on July 1.
Two cotton T-shirts, one white and one red
Two images of the maple leaf
Cardboard to fit inside T-shirts
Straight pins and safety pins
Sharp pointed scissors
Prepare the T-shirts
Wash both T-shirts separately in hot water. This will take care of the usual shrinkage and twisting most T-shirts do after washing. If the colour of the red one is running, add 1/2 c. vinegar or salt to cold water and soak the red T-shirt for a half-hour to set the colour. Rinse until the water runs clear. Dry in dryer.
Line up the T-shirts
Put the white T-shirt inside the red one. Line up the shoulder seams. Smooth out the wrinkles. Any fabric twisting will show up here. Hold the shoulder seams with both shirts together and shake. Turn them upside down, hold the shirts at the bottom by the side seams, shake them to allow the material to hang as it will. Go with it. Slide the cardboard inside the T-shirts and smooth out any buckled or twisted areas.
Prepare the maple leaf
Using the image of the maple leaf, enlarge it to a comfortable size for your body type. The shirt in the photo is a man’s extra large so the leaf measures 9×9 inches. For a smaller person, make it the width of the neck opening plus 2 inches. On the image, draw a line 3/8 inch from the outer edge. This is the stitch line. Trim away any extra paper.
Measure from the shoulder seam to the neck trim. Divide this measurement in two and mark with chalk. This is the top of your red side panel. To create the bottom edge of the red panel, I took the neck seam (6 inches) and measured from the side seam toward the centre bottom on the red T-shirt. Again, remember the side seams may be twisted so measure from the side fold at the bottom of the shirt and mark. Connect the marks with the yardstick and chalk a line. Line up the hems of the shirts. Use safety pin to secure the hem. Smooth out shirts.
Centre the maple leaf
Mark 1/4 inch down from the underarm seam, line marked up with yardstick. Line up the tip of the centre point of each side of the leaf with this line. Mark the centre cen-
vertical line, and centre leaf. Securely pin or baste the paper leaf through both layers.
Pin or baste on the chalk lines for the front and back side panels to keep the two layers of fabric from moving. Sew a line 3/8 inch along the outside of the chalk lines. The chalk line will later be your fold line.
If you are not familiar with this type of material, try some test runs on scraps. The dog’s teeth – the grid under the sewing deck – can sometimes be lowered slightly to ease the pull on the fabric or the downward pressure of the sewing foot can be lessened on some machines. Adjust the length of your stitches. I found 8 stitches per inch worked well. Along The maple leaf
The paper will help the fabric hold its shape as you sew. Take your time and use the wheel to help the needle make its way around tight corners. Start on a longer straight section on the leaf and sew on the inside line you made earlier. Stop with the needle down in a corner or point. Lift sewing foot and turn the fabric. Be careful not to pull the needle sideways or when you start to sew it could catch and break. Continue. Repeat on the second leaf.
Trace around the outer edge of the image with chalk and then slowly pull the paper away. Small sharp scissors help to remove the paper without Remove the red material and finish T from Two
Cut the red panel fabric, 3/8 inch away from the chalk lines of the inside – toward the leaf. Starting at the panel hem, fold on the chalk lines, turn the raw edges under and topstitch.
Leaf: Using a binding stitch, zigzag or small straight stitch and secure the raw edges of the leaf to shirt. Trim away rough edges.
Turn the shirt inside out and cut the white of the arms away leaving about 1 inch along panel seam.
Wear your Canadian T with pride.
– Dana Ramstedt is a freelance writer and preschool teacher of 18 years.