Sunday, 22 October 2017

Trio of Tees

Hi everyone!

Time for something a little different, and I have multiple models that aren't me for this blog post. Over the summer I had a bit of t-shirt making run (although I neglected to make any for myself and I really should, plain t-shirts are an essential and so quick to make up!).

My friend Scott was turning thirty, my brother's birthday was coming up and he hadn't yet been made anything by me, and Angus as usual had to be the guinea pig for project to check whether the pattern was going to work out. So: three tees, back-to-back.

The pattern is the Classic Men's T-Shirt from the Great British Sewing Bee Book 'Fashion with Fabric'. I don't have the book; but the pattern (plus instructions) are free to download from Love Sewing magazine's website here:

As I had a struggle with the button-down shirt I'd made from a previous GBSB book I didn't entirely trust the pattern, so made it up in scraps for Angus. The white section had to be cut on the cross-grain because my scraps were odd sizes, luckily it doesn't seem to have affected the overall hang too much. It's resulted in a rather oversized, loose-hanging look that Angus likes for a retro feel for this version (and he matches the cat!), but for Scott I knew he'd prefer something a little more fitted, so I went down a few sizes.

Making a plain t-shirt didn't seem fancy enough for a gift so I decided to do some colour blocking. This was necessary for Angus's scrap shirt, and it worked out pretty well, so I decided to use it again with the same proportions for the others. I just cut the pattern horizontally across from just below the armscye to centre front and back on both sides and added seam allowances. I could perhaps have lowered the seam a little to match the sleeve length, but it works out pretty well with the rolled-up sleeves.

I used melange jersey from Ray Stitch (many more colours available, but this bordeaux is my favourite). The fabric is much better quality than the scraps I used for Angus's tee so resulted in a garment that didn't drape as much and held its shape pretty well, with nice recovery. As you can see here, the seam allowance trimmings from my brother's shirt have made a very popular cat toy - she just loves how the fabric pings back when she tries to drag it away!

I should probably say the pattern is a pretty decent basic and the proportions look right. It'd be easy enough to customise further, and you can't argue with the price! If there's one thing I would have done differently it would be to make the sleeves shorter, but that's personal preference really. As you can see here they look pretty good rolled up to the desired length, whereas if you leave them at the length as-drafted you end up with them finishing just above the elbow.

Having fabric left over from Scott's t-shirt and the joy of making something relatively simple that looks pretty professional (if I do say so myself) I decided to repeat the trick for my brother, but to mix up the colourway a little. I had to keep the bordeaux in as I love the colour (although maybe I should have saved some for myself?). His style is more understated so I went for a semi-fitted look, keeping the sleeve length as is for him. I also decided to topstitch the chest join seam down, just to add a slightly different touch. Here's how it turned out!

T-shirts are really nice projects if you have an overlocker and a twin needle (although they can be made on a regular sewing machine too, but as mine's from the '70s it's not really designed to handle stretch fabrics). There are loads of nice free women's t-shirts out there too, although they may need adjusting for fit across the bust (men are so much easier to sew for when it comes to fit!). I've tried the Plantain and liked it (it was my first ever jersey project and made using my cranky old Toyota too, I'm certain I'd get better results now); I recently came across Secondo Piano's Basic InstincT tee which looks like something I'd like to have a go at, but I think I may have missed the boat seasonally now.

What's your favourite classic t-shirt pattern?

NorseOtter xx

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