I have been looking for a Step-Up from the t-shirt. At the very least, I want some tee’s that fit properly. I have been a little disappointed by the fabric choices I have seen online and in my local fabric shops. Polyester blend of any amount just makes me hot and the fabric feels sticky or draggy, especially when it is over 80 degrees. Also, I haven’t really loved any of the fabric colors or designs. I might have to look into screen printing. Even Kohl’s sells interesting t-shirts; nevermind that none of them fit me.
Sewing my own it is then, even if I have to use less than ideal fabrics. I have had two successes and one dud. I very much like the Slinky Snakeskin top. It is so slinky that it slips right off the back of the dresser and hides, which is why I haven’t worn it more. I kept thinking it was in the wash, and then I kept not finding it. I have it back in my grasp now, so it’s back in rotation.
This was made from Butterick 4789, now out of print. Modifications: Lowered the seam under the bust, and sewed the center back seam to contour to my body. Likes: twist front, only 2 pieces, very easy to make, comfy, looks dressy but is really just a t-shirt, seam in the back allows for swayback alteration. Dislikes: Probably needs to be made a size smaller, seam under the bust needs to be lowered more, v-neck in back makes this baby slip forward all day to expose my front.
Vogue 8536 is also a winner. She is an actual t-shirt, but fits well due to the bust gathering on the sides. Modifications: Lowered the location of the gathering, made a size 12 in the shoulders and underarm but added an inch to the sides, scooped the neckline, turned the bias strip under instead of making a band at the neck.
Likes: Wow, best fitting t-shirt ever! No drag lines, back looks good. This will be my Tried ‘n’ True pattern for this kind of shirt. I can easily change the neckline and sleeve length. Hoorah! Dislikes: the hem is way too deep. I like the slits at the side, but 2.75″ hem allowance? For what?
While the above two patterns were great, Butterick 5495, not so much. I should have trusted my gut and just stuck with 4789 since I knew it worked, but I got excited about trying something new. I mean, I didn’t want to waste the $1.99 I spent on the pattern, right? Wrong. I ended up wasting $8 worth of fabric on something that won’t ever be right. Lesson learned.
Modifications: Doubled the loop length, lowered the seam under the bust. Likes: Not much. Dislikes: Unbelievably low cut. While the pattern piece says the waist is like 38″ or so, it is not that width when you add the loop. Holy crap, it was like 29″ or less. I ended up doubling the length of the loop, and the front is still tight. So tight it draws fabric from the back making a wrinkly mess. The construction is really fiddly and unnecessarily so, in my opinion.
I might improve the pattern by sewing the under-the-bust seam much longer, thereby leaving less fabric for gathering between the loop. I might widen the fabric at the sides. I doubt very much I’ll do it though, because the other twist top fits so much better and looks pretty much the same.
I have to admit, after making these shirts, I realized that I almost never wear knits in the summer. It’s too hot, they cling and make me hotter, I usually wear skirts and airy woven tops. These will do me until fall, at which point I’ll decide if I want to invest a lot more in making t-shirts.