Since I last posted at the end of May, my plan for summer sewing has been to create several simple TNT patterns for short sleeved or sleeveless summer tops. I always have a shortage of casual tops that I think fit me nicely. Knit tops also ought to be fast and easy to make, especially since I now have both a serger and a coverstitch machine.
That has not kept me from working at a glacial pace, however. The photo above is the final version of the t-shirt I was tissue fitting in my last post. I found pin-fitting helpful; looking at how the tissues fit on my dress form convinced me that I needed more width at the hip, so instead of grading from XS at the shoulder to S at the bust to M at the hip, I went right ahead and graded to L at the hip.
It was the right choice. The top definitely hangs better on me with more room at the hem. I actually think that is the biggest benefit I got from sewing my own tee: I have tiny, narrow shoulders, so nothing that I buy in stores that fits me at the top fits well at the bottom, leading me to sport some kind of wicked wrinkles no matter what I wear.
The first version I sewed, however, was still too wide at the neckline. I made a second version, taking an inch out of the center front and back at the neckline (tutorial linked below).
I took a long time on this top not because it was difficult, but because I paused each step along the way to figure out what was causing the “problems” I was seeing. It wasn’t clear to me what was a pattern shortcoming, what was a fitting problem, and what was wonky technique (like attaching a neck band wrong).
I am pleased with the result I got, and I learned a great deal. Here is my review:
Handkerchief pull-on skirt with yoke and elastic waist for soft, lightweight woven fabrics. Pullover knit top for stretch knits.
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Somewhat. I modified the pattern and added bands, but the general shape was the same.
Were the instructions easy to follow?
I didn’t follow the directions except to look at the suggested order of assembly. It is a very straightforward top, only two pieces plus bands.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
The pattern is extremely simple. I like the wide, scoop neck, which I find flattering. It isn’t boxy, especially once I had graded to my proper measurements, which means that it is more flattering than many tshirts I’ve owned.
Heavy cotton knit with 25% stretch across the grain.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I traced XS around the neck and into the armscye, grading to a S to the waist, then out to a M at the hip. The first version I made was still too big at the neck/shoulder, so I used this tutorial. Looking back, I think I took about an inch out of the front and also from the back, which is more than the tutorial recommends. Whoops. No harm done, though, I think. I straightened the grain lines. The second version of the top fits much better and does not gape at the neck.
Instead of following the pattern’s directions, I added bands at the neck and armholes. The bands give the top a more casual look than the pattern envelope shows, I think. The shoulder seams are curved, meaning that the top should sit right at the edge of the shoulder. It does fit that way on me, but the addition of bands means there is a bit of extra width that stands out from my body.
If I sewed it again, I would add an inch or two to the hem to give a bit more leeway to adjust the length. I felt like the top hit me in the perfect spot . . . before I hemmed it.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Yes, I would sew this top again. It is simple enough to make in a couple hours and fits me better than many store-bought tops. I suspect that a pattern with separate sleeves would look a little nicer, however. Or perhaps I should consider following the directions on this one, making it without the bands!
A super-simple top that gave me a good fit.