Saturday, 22 November 2014

A Tale of Three White Tees

My wardrobe was seriously lacking some basic white Tee shirts so I set about to remedy the situation. I had four metres of a lovely quality cotton lycra jersey purchased from Spotlight back in July. I really splurged on this fabric, paying $20.00 per metre with the idea of making some good quality T-Shirts that would stand up to lots of wear. I had several patterns to choose from in my pattern stash and first I chose the popular Kirsten Kimono Tee by Maria Denmark.


This is a great pattern...simple design, easy to sew and comfortable to wear. I cut a straight size BL based on my bust measurement.



There does seem to be excess fabric pooling at the lower back. Probably should do some sort of sway back adjustment before I make the next one.


Although the front is sitting nicely in this photo, it was a little too firm around the tummy and did gape slightly at the front neckline. To fix this problem for the next one, I thought I would angle the centre front edge of the pattern when positioning it on the fold for cutting, so that the neckline is reduced and the hem line is widened. I love the kimono sleeves (no sleeves to set in). I finished off the neckline with the binding as instructed in the pattern. All seams were sewn first on my sewing machine and then finished off with the overlocker. Hems were all sewn with a twin needle. This fabric was easy to sew and behaved very well.

My second choice was the Style Arc Ann T-Top



I cut a straight size 12 which is my usual Style Arc size. I got over confident and overlocked the neckband on without first attaching it with the sewing machine. This would have been fine if it had been the right length but it was way too long and resulted in a very loose neckband. This involved a lot of very tedious unpicking. I reduced the length of the neckband and resewed it, (I may have been a tad over zealous as it looks a little too short now, creating a slight gathered look). I am happy with the fit through the shoulders and chest but the lower portion of the shirt is too loose and saggy...bordering on frumpyville.


The back fits nicely apart from being a little clingy to the lower back fat. (I was very disappointed when I saw this view, better get back on the treadmill)


The sleeves are a nice length too and there is plenty of fabric to do a decent 2cm hem which looks nice. I do like how the shirt is loose around the ribcage area which does camouflage a bit of excess padding in that area. The gathering at the side seam is done by sewing on some clear elastic (stretching as you go) to the seam allowance before sewing the side seams. This step was quite tricky to do neatly. 


For the next one I will need to add some width to the lower back piece and reduce some width from the lower front piece. Then I think I will have a flattering fit and remove the frumpy factor.

The third pattern I used was another one from Style Arc. The Style Arc Polly Top


This was probably not the most ideal fabric choice for this pattern. Something with a bit more drape would have worked better. I made a straight size 12 as usual for Style Arc patterns, cutting the short sleeves which are a cute shape but only allow for a very narrow hem. This pattern was a bit of a brain teaser to work out the front pleat but if you really study the line drawings in the instructions it does work out. 


I was a little concerned that this looked like a maternity top but after looking at the photos, it's not too bad. I like the way it skims over my fat rolls. I had read that this top had quite a low neckline...not on me however. Maybe this is due to the effects of age and gravity?


I am super happy with the back view...not a fat roll in site. Maybe I should substitute this back pattern piece in the Ann T-Top. 


In the photo above you can see the neck band more closely. It is quite narrow and initially I had planned to turn it completely to the inside, but with the very bulky seam allowance this was impossible. The gathering doesn't sit quite right and this may be because my bust is sitting lower than the pattern was designed for.


In the photo above I am trying to show you how the pleat is constructed. There is a triangular piece that is stitched to the neck binding and is then hidden by the extended pleat section being folded over the top and secured to the inside of the neckline.

This has been an interesting exercise and I have learned a lot from comparing these three patterns and studying the photos and the way they fit me. I have a little over a metre of this fabric left so hopefully I can apply these lessons learned and create the perfect white tee for me.

The skirt I am wearing in the photos was made pre blog and it is McCalls 3341 sewn in a cotton sateen.

Happy Sewing

16 comments:

  1. Such a useful post - thanks for this. When I get back into sewing, I will be on the trail of the perfect tee again. I can never have too many white t-shirts. I was thinking of trying the kimono tee and your comments are helpful.

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    1. I'm so glad you found this post helpful. It was quite an interesting exercise to be able to study the photos and have a good look at the actual fit of the Tees. I learnt a lot during the process.

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  2. Very nice tops there! I love the kimono tee (it's a personal favorite!) and the last one. So nice!!

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    1. I love the kimono tee too and it was the easiest to make.

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  3. I am also after the perfect t-shirt pattern. I like the kimono pattern the best, although they are all pretty lovely. The Polly top does have the best back, though, so some mixing and matching might be useful. I have a couple of Style Arc t-shirt patterns but neither of these, so I might have to do some revisiting!

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    1. I love the kimono tee too and I may make another of these with the remaining fabric, with a few fit alterations to the pattern.

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  4. This is a great idea. I too like the front of the first one and the back of the last one the best:) For awhile I will be thinking of winter clothes, but when spring rolls around for me I want to try the same experiment with some of my t-shirt patterns (which so far are unused!).

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    1. Thanks for your nice comments Angela. It must be hard to think of T-Shirts when you are in the grips of a winter freeze.

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  5. Interesting with the three t's using the same fabric, I really like the first one and the fit on back of the last one. I really need to do this as well.

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  6. White tshirts are such a useful basic, and you have three very different versions here.

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    1. Thanks Paola...I don't think you can have too many white t-shirts.

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  7. This is such a useful post, comparing three patterns in the same fabric. I know you have thought about this a lot, but really, all three t shirts look pretty good from here, can you imagine being so critical of RTW? I hope these are all useful additions to the wardrobe

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    1. Thanks kbenco. I'm sure I will wear all of these T-Shirts and they will be useful additions to my wardrobe. I was probably a little to hung up on my body issues, making me a little over critical.

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  8. Can't beat a white T. Thank you for your detailed review of each pattern. $20/m! There's one question I always ask myself at the end of a sewing make - would you buy it? Honestly, I'd buy all three.

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    1. Thanks for your lovely comment Ruth, and yes $20 per metre but it is top quality. Fabric and patterns are very expensive in Australia compared to other areas of the world.

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