I’ve been trying to sew clothes that fit into the wardrobe of RTW clothes that I’m comfortable wearing day-to-day, ones that don’t need ironing and that aren’t made of such delicate fabric that I don’t want to wear them to work and risk damaging them. This means jersey. I don’t want to be sewing clothes that I’ll only wear on special occasions and I’m fairly boring when it comes to work wear. I tend to go for jeans and a plain shirt. This means t-shirts.
There are a wealth of patterns out there, and I’ve been trying out a few of each. You may remember my first jersey garment, which was Renfrew from Sewaholic. It went together so easily that all of the sewing jersey scare-stories that I’ve read went completely out of my head and haven’t returned.
Encouraged, I made two more Renfrews: same neckline but short sleeves. One in a green ribbed cotton knit. I like the long-sleeved version, but I find the short sleeves a bit long for my liking on a short-sleeved t-shirt – the band that’s used to finish them means they sit a bit tight round my upper arm, and in the summer I prefer something looser feeling.
I also made one in a slightly lighter-weight red cotton knit, which I don’t seem to have taken any pictures of. It’s exactly the same, though, and in the same fabric of my next t-shirt:
Plantain. A free pattern from Deer and Doe, which feels a bit lighter to wear than the Renfrew, probably because the bottom is just hemmed, rather than finished with a band, as are the sleeves. I finished all the hems, sleeves and neckbands with a double needle to imitate a coverstitch.
The top flares at the hips, which I think it hangs quite nicely. I cut size 38 bust and hips, grading to 40 at the waist for a less form-fitting fit. I like the neckline which is scooped, but not too low for me to feel uncomfortable wearing.
I’ve also made a short-sleeved version of this which I love. The whole thing feels more casual to me, possibly because of the fit, and the simple hemming finish on the sleeves and bottom hem. As a regular t-shirt pattern, I think this is set to become my go-to pattern.
This viscose jersey is extremely floppy to sew with, and it’s very stretchy, so I used the same method that I’ve been using in all of these t-shirts to stabilise the shoulder seams, and sewed a piece of ribbon into each. This particular one came from something that I (must have) bought a while ago in Vera Moda. What, you mean you don’t cut the ribbons out of the shoulders of RTW clothes and keep them?
Next, another free pattern: the Kirsten Kimono Tee from Maria Denmark. This is a lovely easy pattern to put together with just three pattern pieces, no setting in of sleeves, and needing only about 75cm fabric. It’s very, very quick. Even for me.
(Yup, it’s that same red ribbed knit.) My second one was squeezed out of the off-cuts of my first Camas blouse (…coming soon…coming soon…) I had to shorten it by a couple of inches to fit it onto the tiny amount of fabric that I had left.
I like the simple boat neckline and the shorter kimono sleeves, which feel lovely and light.
The last pattern that I’ve tried is the Briar tee from Megan Nielsen. I opted for short sleeves, but the original lengths didn’t appeal to me – the longer was too long, and the shorter too short. So I shortened the longer pattern piece by 4 5/8″ (in size S) and at the same time I made the curve of the high-low hem a bit gentler. I found the original a bit extreme for my tastes. You can judge it for yourself:
I like how the top of the curve of the hem at the front sits just above my belt buckle, and I’m happy with the length at the back too. I also like the length of the sleeves, which are similar to the Plantain’s short sleeves.
There are two options given for how to finish the neckline, one of which is the same as the neckband on all of the other patterns in this post. The other is to apply a band in a similar way to attaching a bias binding on a woven top, which was new to me, so I thought I’d give it a go. It turned out really well, and seems to sit more flat to the body than my other t-shirt neckbands. Which is probably better suited to having to bend over. So if I suddenly have a desire to pick up Pool, I’ll have to make a few more of these!