T-Shirt Self-Challenge

by Lorna McKillip

 

I had several “holes” in my wardrobe and many of those were tops to go with sweaters, jackets and other garments I already had or had plans to make. I had made t-shirts to go with other things and they were all the wrong colours and/or all too big.

My challenge was to draft a t-shirt pattern, including drafting different necklines and making notes as to what changes I would need to make when using different kinds of knit fabrics. I would then make a cutting pattern from card (Bristol board) with various neckline and hemline adjustments that I can add and notes as to amounts ease required for various fabrics.

I started with In House Patterns #IH3010 “Jenny Tee” which had a c/d cup front piece. Using a piece of cotton/lycra knit which had a horizontal stripe to it, I made my first prototype. I quickly realized that the c/d cup front piece didn’t nearly adjust to my e cup and I would need further adjustment. I didn’t really want the look of a horizontal bust dart, so I decided to try the exaggerated side seam curve. This didn’t turn out so well because my fullness is in the front of the garment, not under my arm. (In hindsight, this seems like a really weird way to make a full bust adjustment!). What seemed to work the best for me was to make the front piece longer than the back (by about one inch), and ease that inch into the top four inches of the side seam. The extra length towards the middle of the front piece is taken up as it has to go over my bust where it is fullest. This would not adjust completely for an e cup and I accept that I will have some diagonal lines running from bust to lower side seam which I prefer to darts. After all, when I bend my arm, I am going to have wrinkles anyway.

Here are the six wearable versions that I made, with the adjustments and style changes.

 

1 – Gunmetal viscose/lycra knit

Click to enlarge


Source

Fabricville

Features
V-neck, rounded hem

This is a very stretchy, 4-way knit, very drapey but also lightweight so it does cling to all the places I may not want to emphasize. It is comfortable to wear but the v-neckline is a little lower than I would like. This is because of the very stretchy fabric – even though I tried to control the neckline with the binding. If I was to use this fabric again, I would cut the neckline higher and maybe even interface the binding. Its pretty good but it could be better.

Wear with
Grey and red plaid “Yoggers”

 

2 – Gold knit fabric

Click to enlarge


Source
Thrifted (I think)

Features
moderately high rounded neckline with bottom band

This is a very stable knit and it worked out quite well. It turned out a little shorter than I Iike and I didn’t have enough of the fabric to do a self-band so I found a piece of semi-sheer polyester in my stash in a pretty close colour match and cut enough bias strips to finish the neck binding, sleeve binding and a two-inch bottom band. Pretty successful one, I think. I sized this smaller than #1, even though the fabric was less stretchy as #1 required more ease to prevent it clinging too much.

Wear with
Style Arc Tania (Partner Pattern Challenge item)

 

3 – Green Knit with dark brown embossed design

Click to enlarge


Source
One of my oldest stash fabrics

Features
Draped funnel neck, rounded hem

This fabric is a cozy medium weight polyester and it was very well behaved. I fiddled the cut some to middle the design on the centre front and centre back and cut it as if it has a nap. The embossing is velvet-like and I didn’t want to find out later that it looked different on each piece because it did have a nap! It was quite challenging to draft the funnel neck but I think it turned out well in this case.

Wear with
Dark Brown Castillo Cardigan from Itch-to-Stitch (last month’s make) and dark brown/black houndstooth knit yoga pants (Silhouette patterns) made in Mary Baxter’s class a few years ago

 

4 – Red knit with narrow gold stripes

Click to enlarge


Source

Unknown

Features
v-neck with overlap neck binding, straight hem

This is a very pretty medium weight stable knit and has a tiny gold stripe in it. It was nice to sew with and I didn’t make any body ease adjustment from my template. I did make the sleeve quite close-fitting, partly because I had minimal fabric and partly because of how I wanted to wear this garment. I only had slightly more than a meter of fabric which didn’t really allow for a long sleeve so I pieced the back which now has a seam just above waist level and I am pretending it is a design feature. It fits fairly close and the arm is slim as I had planned.

Wear with
V9112 (Partner Pattern challenge garment)

 

5 – Pink knit with fine gold metallic stripes

Click to enlarge


Source

Wounded fabric

Features
Scoop neck, straight hem

This is a thrifted fabric which somebody dumped for good reason! It is a very fine, low stretch cotton knit which I had planned to use as muslin fabric but I needed something pink and it fit the bill. I did add some ease to this because it is fairly sheer and not very stretchy. I managed to avoid most of the wounds (machine marks and skipped printing) but don’t look too closely. I ended up adding a tank top lining in the front only, with more of the same fabric, serving the edges and securing it to the shoulder seams and side seams but leaving it loose at the armholes and hem. (I didn’t have enough fabric left to make a separate tank). This used some of the most wounded part of the fabric but its inside and you can’t see it.

Wear with: Causeway Bomber (Itch-to-Stitch) – last month’s make

6 – Dark blue knit

Click to enlarge


Source

Thrifted and sourced from a Lord & Taylor skirt

Features
Square neck, square hem

This was another experiment based on a design I had seen somewhere. There is a yoke piece that spans the back and front shoulder. It is cut on the fold and the front and back pieces are squared off and have facings. The design means there is no neckline to finish and the t-shirt goes together really easily. I like a square neck to wear with a jacket or cardigan and this one worked out pretty well. I will adjust the yoke pieces slightly next time as it hugs my neck a little too much at the back but I love this idea and think it worked well.

Click to enlarge

Wear with
Causeway Bomber reverse side and/or Tania

 

 

Conclusions

I now need to make my card template and design feature pieces as I feel I have tweaked the design pretty well now. I learned some about bust adjustments in knits, being inventive with design features and how different types of fabric present themselves in one basic garment.

One thought on “T-Shirt Self-Challenge”

  1. Wonderful Lorna, So nice to see the descriptions of your adjustments and comments about the fabric. And making your own pattern! You are a wonder!

    Like

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