Monday, 28 April 2014

self drafted tshirt, mark II

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The short version of this story is:
I drafted my own t shirt pattern and sewed a tshirt!
It fits perfectly, its comfortable and just how I imagined it. Success!
And it cost me about ten dollars, if that.

The long version is this:
I watched Cal Patch's video on drafting a tshirt pattern, and one on sewing a tshirt, and then drafted and sewed my first tshirt, blogged here.

I was pretty pleased with the finished product but only as a muslin, it had a few issues which I'm still resolving, but it was a tshirt and I learned heaps along the way and I beat my fear of sewing jersey fabric.

Just recently Cal launched a new four part series on pattern drafting; making muslins; adapting patterns; and making patterns from existing clothes.

I've spent the last month watching the series, with more than a few 'a ha' moments along the way. It built on the knowledge I'd learnt in her t shirt drafting class and then took it much further. Cal demystifies the process of pattern making and shows you the basics of different styles. I'm a big fan of her simple and straighforward teaching, and I like her thoughts on life and fashion as well. I've also learnt a bit about sewing watching her make her clothes. Seeing every part of the process is so helfpul for a visual learner like me.

The series gave me confidence to revisit my tshirt pattern. This time I started from scratch and used an existing t shirt that I like to draft the new pattern, but I compared it with my original self drafted version and the original muslin using that information to make changes and revisions.

With my heart in my mouth I cut and sewed the new pattern yesterday.

Success! This time it fits perfectly. The neckband is the right length, the sides aren't too loose and the finish is professional. I love it. And best of all I have a bespoke pattern that I can use to make a million more tshirts.

I read more before attempting my second pattern too. In particular Maria Denmark's blog about negative ease and fitting helped a lot. She has a series about fitting tees which I must more of. She also has a boat neck Kimono tee pattern for free download on her great site. I'm thinking of trying a boatneck next time around.

Because I have an overlocker (serger) I sewed the whole tee with it, except for the bottom and sleeve hems. It makes it such a quick sew and gives a professional finish. I used my walking foot and a narrow zigzag for finishing the hems which helps keep them from distorting.


  1. Looks perfect! We had a similar weekend, I mashed up the Plantain and Maria's Birgitte Tee to make a perfect shirt pattern for me, so good to finally have something drafted exactly for my shape.We won't ever have to buy a shirt again!

  2. This look great! And really good to read about your process before I embark on my own t-shirt making adventure. The pattern drafting class sounds excellent.

  3. Oh it's gorgeous!!! I love the sleeve length. You are so clever designing your own pattern. I'm going to check out the Boat Neck pattern right now....Mel x

  4. Great job! You will soon be churning out a whole wardrobe of tees. I'd love to try out a bit of pattern making and I have Cal Patch's book. The styles look simple and not to daunting to tackle. Though I have to admit knits do scare me and I haven't yet tackled anything with negative ease. Taking it off your own tees make a lot of sense in that regard. I'm also planning on making Sewaholics t-shirt pattern.

  5. thanks so much for this lovely post! the new T is fantastic! i love seeing what people make...


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