I don’t know about you, but I have the darndest time shopping for shirts that fit. If they fit my chest, they are too short in the waist or cling too tightly to my stomach. If they fit my waist they are too baggy on top. So for my June clothing project, I decided to make myself a decent fitting basic tee.
Fun and Exciting Things about This Project
- Everything was sewn on my serger
- Creating my own pattern (based off of a basic tee pattern)
I used the “Crew Neck” pattern from Built by Wendy‘s Sew U Home Stretch book as a starting point. Then I modified it to achieve the fit I wanted. (More details below.)
The main fabric is a cotton jersey from Hancock’s and the deep purple ribbing is from Joann’s. I was in a hurry while shopping and didn’t look closely at it until I was laying it out for cutting. Is it just me, or are those cats with wings?! weird.
Sewing with ribbing was a fun adventure. The standard ration of ribbing length to fabric edge is 2:3. It resulted in the sleeves poofing a bit. It wasn’t intended but I like it a lot. I really was out of luck trying to find information for how to sew ribbing on a v-neck. I mostly just swung it, but next time around I will do it this way. The ribbing isn’t supposed to be stretched on the straight edge of the neckline, or at least not stretched very much. I haven’t had enough practice at using ribbing to give any sort of advice about it.
The thing that I am proudest of about this shirt, is that the little things that are wrong with it (like some wavy seams or the ribbing not laying flat on the neck) are all a matter of needing more practice. The fitting and pattern turned out just the way I envisioned!
If you are curious about how I modified my t-shirt pattern, read on.
Making the pattern
As I starting point, I used the basic crew-neck tee from Sew U Home Stretch. But you could copy one of your own t-shirts using Dana’s method. I haven’t had good luck in the past redrawing the side seams, so this time around I used a “slash and spread” method.
I copied the size large pattern from Sew U (which fits my upper chest), then guestimated the bust point. I really just eyeballed it. I figured I was working with a knit so I didn’t need to get too finicky. Then, I cut straight from the bottom hem to the bust point and from the side hem to the bust point. Keeping the bust point corner in place, I rotated the cut out piece to add 2 inches to the bottom hem (a total of 4 inches total to the front). I used another v-neck to draw a new neckline as well. This pattern piece and the next are cut on the fold.
I wanted to keep the top snug fitting. So, I slashed and spread at the waist line for the back piece. This time I only added 1 1/2 inches (3″ total across the back), because the thickness of my waist is mostly from my “Mummy Tummy”. The goal is to keep the side seam from pulling to the front or back. In a proper fitting garment, it should run perpendicular to the floor from your armpit.
The adjustments gave me a total of 7″ extra at my hips.
The sleeves were left as is.
If you want to adjust a t-shirt pattern, I recommend following the advice from Fit for Real People like I did. Choose a pattern by your upper chest measurement. That way you do not need to fuss with the arm holes. It is easier to add or remove width to the torso then around your shoulders and arms.
If you have any suggestions about how to adjust t-shirt patterns for good fit, I would love to hear them!
I almost forgot how adorable you are. I like the shirt, especially the slight poofing of the sleeves,
Very cute T! I want one! And yes they do look like flying cats, how very creative of the fabric co.
Also, you are so pretty, Jodi.
You’re so lovely! Great photos. And your comments on the fabric crack me up.
I always assume Ts are too cheap to make, but then I complain when they don’t fit right. You inspire me because yours turned out so well. Great work!
Thanks, ladies. Fortunately for me, my husband is branching out into photography (he is a videographer/editor now) and he can help take pictures of my projects. 🙂
On a sad note, the fabric doesn’t seem to be holding up well in the wash. I should have washed it on delicate because it is pilling up terribly. boo!
love, love, love! Want one! Jodi, you look magnificent.
Karen @ TheJuneBride says
It looks awesome, just like you! Both are wonderfully made 🙂 I just made 9 pairs of short pajamas for my kids using a cut up size 4 set as a pattern… on my serger.. and they ALL turned out! I am in love with the serger. I figure now I need to make myself some yoga pants with it. Lord knows I have enough threadbare pairs to cut up and use as patterns. I can’t wait to check out the Sew U books… I need some basic fitting skills after this last depressing dress flop. But I did find a dress at a resale place today, so I’m covered for the wedding, mercifully 🙂 Hope your day was great!
It looks great! I’m very impressed. And a little jealous that you’re so talented. And gorgeous! Love the pics. You’re a hottie 🙂
Super-cute tee — you look adorable.