Monday, 18 April 2016

A fistful of t-shirts

This weekend I was a t-shirt making machine! I made four in total from three different patterns.

Cozy Little World Jasmin line drawing (because the details are all but invisible on my versions!)
First up, let me introduce what is possibly going to be my new favourite t-shirt pattern. I saw someone's version of this pattern, the Cozy Little World Jasmin T-shirt, on Instagram last June and liked the look of it so much I bought it immediately even though I knew I wouldn't be making it up until this spring. The pattern maker is French, but this particular pattern is also available in English (her other patterns seem to be French only). It's a bit limited in sizes -- 34-44 with similar measurements to Burda -- but otherwise it's a decent pattern. It's only a few pages so not too much sticky-taping nonsense is required and the PDF goes together well. Also, it's only 3 Euros so it's kind of a bargain in these days of US$15-18 t-shirt patterns from indies.

The two Jasmin t-shirts I made this weekend
I made the size 44 and I can therefore inform you that yes, it is perfectly possible to get the largest size out of a single metre of fabric with just a few little scraps remaining, even when you have to lay out your pattern in such a way as to make sure you don't end up with big circular blobs directly over your bust, as I did with the blue and white version.

I made this pattern up more or less unadjusted except for adding 2.5cm in length to the body. On the navy polka dot version I made the sleeves a little longer than the cap sleeves in the pattern (about 4cm extra) but because of the way I had to cut the tie-dye version (due to the aforementioned giant blobs over bust issue) I barely squeaked the cap sleeves out of the fabric.

What I really like about this tee is the shape. I've made a lot of reasonably close fitting tees, but I hadn't found a loose-fitting tee pattern that I really liked yet. It's hard to tell from static shots on Flossie, but this top has such a great shape. Made up in the right knit this top is just about the perfect summer top for me -- swingy and comfortable but not ridiculously voluminous. You can just about see the fullness at the front hem, and of course the back is even looser due to the gathers, but somehow it doesn't have that 'giant square tee' feel that a lot of full hemmed tops can have. It also just hangs really nicely. As you can tell, I'm definitely very smitten with this top and might end up making a million of them, though I think it's definitely one to make only with the drapier end of your knit stash. (Also, I saw some versions made up with striped fabric and eh, I'm not convinced by that at all. I think it's better in non-geometric patterns or plains.)

(A minor digression: I was originally going to make up a MyImage pattern (M1504 from the spring/summer 2015 issue) with the blue tie dye fabric, but I got half way through tracing out the pattern and was like, okay, no, this is STUPID. Why is it asking me to cut massive bias strips in a knit? What do the instructions even MEAN? What the hell are all these 5cm wide heavily interfaced facings doing on a simple t-shirt? Ugh! I have basically given up on the idea that I'll ever make anything from most of my MyImage magazines because so many of the patterns seem to have these sorts of problems. Life is too short and I have plenty of other, less painful, patterns.)

Burda 06-2004-114 -- very dull and not wholly successful navy V-neck tee
My third tee uses an extremely boring Burda knit pattern 06-2004-114. I picked it simply because I wanted to try out another V-neck pattern. Normally what I do is graft any new necklines onto my much adjusted basic t-shirt pattern sloper. However, I decided I would try out the fit of this top as it was. Big mistake! It's not a good fit at all compared to my sloper tee. The sleeve is particularly weird -- it has the highest, most pointy sleeve cap I have ever seen in a knit. As far as the reason for making this -- the V neckband -- was concerned, I found sewing the point of the V-neck neckband onto the t-shirt body very tricky and despite considerable unpicking and resewing (or maybe because of this) it's still not perfect now. It's probably a minor improvement on the previous Ottobre V-neck-without-a-V I made, though. I might try this neckband again grafted onto my sloper next time.

Ottobre 02-2013-13 'Lemon Juice' tee in black and cream stripy knit
And finally, my last t-shirt from this weekend is made with a pattern I have used before, the "Lemon Juice" tee, Ottobre 02-2013-13. I made this up previously in 2014 in a blue and white stripe and wore that version to death over two summers. It's cut on the bias and, as I'm extremely fond of a diagonal stripe, when I decided it was time to replace it I immediately started looking for interesting striped fabrics with which to make version 2. I eventually came up with this variable width black and ivory stripe in December and it's been lurking in my stash waiting for spring ever since. It's quite an odd pattern -- you cut it on the fold to get the side drape (on the right in the front view) and then it narrows at the hip so it clings there and hangs as shown on Flossie --  but I really like how it turned out and I always enjoyed wearing the previous version. I think this version is probably better than the original one I made because the variable width stripe fabric is more interesting and dramatic.

In conclusion: t-shirts galore for the summer!

Next up: I have one more t-shirt to make, but the fabric has gone missing in my sewing room somewhere (!) so that will have to wait until it turns up. In the meantime, I was all excited in my last post about my planned grey denim jacket... except that I suddenly thought to check whether that pattern requires a stretch fabric (it does) since my denim is not at all stretchy. I'm a bit frustrated because I had a whole list of possible Burda patterns to fall back on and when I checked them they were ALL written for stretch! So that is going on the back burner for a bit because I'm annoyed with the whole thing (and with 2012!me for buying non-stretch denim, which is actually very hard to find a use for, it turns out).


  1. I find many Burda patterns call for stretch wovens and I never realize this until it's too late!

    I love all of your tees. I even really like the navy one but can understand when it just doesn't work. I agree that the black/white version of the Lemon Juice tee has more POP! So glad you got to spend a good chunk of time in your sewing room this week! :)

    1. It's a bit frustrating because I don't actually see too many stretch wovens to buy!

      I overdid it a little this weekend and am paying for it today but gosh, it was SO GOOD to be in my sewing room this weekend. Gotta love this hobby, right? :D

  2. Love all of your tees, especially the jasmine! Do you have to have a serger to make tee-shirts? or can I make them on my regualar machine?

    1. Thanks! I do have a serger but you can definitely make them on a regular machine. Here's a good article on the topic:

    2. Thank you for the article; I am going to download a free pattern and try it out before ordering the Jasmine. Thank you again!