Thursday, October 28, 2010

DIY t-shirts

OK, this t-shirt doesn't look like an exciting thing to sew but it kind of is to me...

I've been thinking about how elusive the right t-shirt is to find. You know the one - clings in the right places, good fabric, right sleeve length, right colour, good neckline etc etc. Even though t-shirts are a wardrobe basic, especially for me being a stay at home mum, it's still hard to get a really good cut and style, something that's flattering and easy to wear.

It hit me recently that rather than trudging around the shops (which I hate these days, particularly with littlies in tow!) looking for the right cut, it might be possible to make it myself once I have a good basic fit. So I decided that I would take one of my 2 or 3 t-shirts that do fit well and draft a pattern from it. The intention is to tinker with it until I have a really good basic shape that I can then adapt into all sorts of variations.

With that in mind I raided my stash for a stretchy knit, choosing this fine black and white striped jersey that I got on sale for $2.50 a metre. Bargain! And even though I always hate to waste fabric (you should see my 'scraps' box!), at least it wouldn't be costly this way.

Then I chose my beloved but ageing old white Kookai boat-necked 3/4 sleeve t-shirt to draft the pattern from, lengthening the sleeves. This is the result, no hemming or alterations done, just 4 pieces of fabric stitched together, an OK start. Some adjustments to make, and some techniques to learn, like how to do a neckline without it stretching, but at least the basic shape is there. So, a few tweaks to come, then to have some fun...

Simple shapes that seem to suit me (I think?): boat necks, cap sleeves, bell sleeves, curved hemlines.

I've been drooling over this top (and most of the other clothes!) by the very talented Etsy seller Gaia Conceptions for ages. I've always loved a keyhole detail and can't wait to use the fine black wool jersey in my stash for a top featuring ties & keyholes. Hmm, methinks this shouldn't be the first adaptation I try. And better be prepared for the possibility of lots of unpicking!

And one of these very cute kimono tops from a free pattern by a Burda Style member - apparently cut from just one pattern piece and having only two seams. I'm intrigued. Thinking of a fine cotton/nylon midnight blue recently purchased from this sale.

Do you have a favourite t-shirt? Is it just me, or are the right t-shirts hard to find?


  1. GREAT t-shirt! I like the fall of men's Ts but not the neckline: you've inspired me to go tinker!

  2. Your new kookai top looks really excellent :)
    I would love to be able to make t-shirt tops but I'm a bit rubbish at the hems and neck lines on strechy fabric.. hmmmm more practice needed!
    Have fun at the school fete tomorrow.. I'm a bit bummed as we won't eb able to make it :( Hope they raise lots of money :)

  3. That looks great! I'm like the previous poster and have given up on knits for a bit. Funny since I learnt to sew on knits through KnitWit many years ago....

  4. Hi girls,
    yes, necklines and hems are hard to get right aren't they, without a super-duper industrial twin needle set-up. I hope to find some alternatives so will let you know if I have success. Debs did Knitwit have any foolproof but nice ways of doing them?

    And Lumina the fete is actually next Saturday (6th Nov), but no pressure to come ;-)


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