Kwik Sew 3242: My Summer T-Shirt

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.


KS3242 as seen through a dusty mirror.

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:

Pattern Description:
Handkerchief pull-on skirt with yoke and elastic waist for soft, lightweight woven fabrics. Pullover knit top for stretch knits.

Pattern Sizing:

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.

Fabric Used:
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.

My Day and My (Last) Night

In sewing, I am trying to understand tissue fitting, using my dress form: 

I can say that my first attempt to pin fit convinced me to add to the side seams at the hips, meaning that this top is graded from XS at the shoulders to S at the arm pit, grading out to a L at the hips. 

I never thought of my hips as large (~38″), but I do tend to have problems with my RTW shirts pulling and riding up. Maybe some extra room would help?

The top​ above is Kwik Sew 3242. It is just two pieces, with a wide scoop neck. I plan to alter the pattern somewhat by adding bands around the neck and armholes (the directions call for essentially facings). I think the result will look more professional…

This is what I’ve been working on outside sewing:

Socializing feral kittens!

Kwik Sew 3740 – Finally!

Kwik Sew 3740


Pattern Description: 
Close-fitting knit tops with a scoop neckline. View A has a cowl collar and full-length sleeves. View B is sleeveless with self-fabric bindings to finish the neckline and armholes. I made View A.

Pattern Sizing:
XS-S-M-L-XL. I made an S. Since I tend to have narrow shoulders, I considered doing an XS. However, the small is quite fitted and it’s probably good I didn’t go smaller. The shoulders are a smidgen wide on me, however.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Yes, very much so, though I think the neckline looks lower on my shorter, less-busty frame than it looks on the model.

Were the instructions easy to follow?
The instructions were super-easy to follow. This was my first ever knit top and I put it together on my serger and sewing machine in one afternoon with no mistakes.

I do think that, considering how elementary the pattern is and how likely it is that beginner sewists will make it that Kwik Sew could have explained how you pin together the shoulder and sleeve pieces. I can imagine other beginners being a bit thrown because the two pieces have concave and convex curves.

The drawing in the instructions shows the pieces laid side-by-side, which is quite clear about how the pieces fit together. But I believe that to match the sleeve and shoulder pieces with right sides together (so that you can serge the seam on the inside rather than the outside of the top), you actually have to lay the sleeve over the collar (with the wrist pointing towards the other shoulder.

One thing I did differently than the instructions was reinforcing the neckline. The pattern calls for you to put some fusible interfacing on the front shoulder pieces only. I was worried that my very-stretchy knit would get out of shape or droop with it’s own weight unless I gave it a bit more support. Therefore, I fused interfacing to both shoulders and around the neckline, front and back. There’s no way for me to know whether this will help prevent the neckline from drooping . . . but even as it is, the neckline is low enough that I would not welcome sagging.

A note: at one point in assembling this top, it becomes difficult to differentiate the upper collar and the lower collar, because you have both right-sides facing out when you attach the cowl to the neckline. If you put the wrong piece “facing up” then you will have a visible seam, so it’s important to get this right. I made sure to place a safety pin through the upper collar piece so that I could quickly confirm that I had the right side up when I pinned the cowl onto the top. I wonder if some of the other reviewers who report a visible seam on the finished top may have accidentally attached the cowl upside-down.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
– Quick, easy, fits me fairly well out of the package with no alterations. I’m willing to wear it in public.

– None.

Kwik Sew 3740

Fabric Used:
I used an extremely light weight (synthetic) jersey knit. It is machine-washable, and I think it is rayon. It is so light and stretchy that it might have made a good, drapey dress.

Since it is so light, the cowl lies flat to my body. If you want your cowl to stand up like on the pattern envelope, you should use a heavier knit.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
None. Looking at the fit, I might narrow the shoulders ever so slightly. I’d also raise the neckline a bit, if I could figure out how to adjust the cowl pieces . . . as it is, the top looks a bit more formal/night-on-the-town than I had intended.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Yes, absolutely. I can see myself making multiples of this top, and doing variations on the views (For example, a sleeveless version of View A).

I also think that this could be lengthened into a very nice, simple knit dress.

Finally, a pattern that worked for me right away. Until I made this, I was getting very frustrated with fit issues. This and KwikSew 3115 are my best-yet projects.

The Last of My Pattern-Binge

Demoiselle, you have enough patterns now.

I should be more than set, at least until I want to get the Jalie jeans pattern or some of the other interesting, non-Big-Four-plus designs that are out there. Or until I have leveled-up my skills.

Or both, really. That would be a good idea. Because, aside from a nice bolero pattern, I’ve got the basic patterns for pretty much any basic, woven wardrobe item, plus some nifty “special” patterns. Anyway, here are the last additions to my stock:

Jo-Ann Gets Me Again . . . demme. 

Vogue 8697

I’ve been wanting to get Vogue 8697 since I first saw the pattern on Pattern Review. I held off, because I was concerned about how very high the waistband looked on some people, but now that I’ve learned that I am long-waisted, I have decided that this could be a flattering style for me. The V of the waistband looks like it would emphasize my smaller waist.

Of course, it will also show my wider hips. Yet, I think with the right top (something that draws the eye to the neckline and shoulders), this might not be too unbalanced.

New Look 6945

I like the shaping of New Look 6945, which reminds me of a top I wore to pieces in high school. It looks fairly simple to make, though if I pick it as my next project it would be my first attempt at buttonholes.

The front and back darts should make this one easier to fit in a flattering way, and I like the modified scoop neckline and the subtle flare at the hip. I think this top would look great with an A-line skirt–assuming that the skirt’s waistband and the hem of the shirt overlap!

Simplicity 1802

Then we come to the dresses. For example: Simplicity 1802. I like dresses with fitted bodices. I also like skirts with a little swing to them. Although I think that Cynthia Rowley’s pattern is beyond my current skill level, it is something to aspire to. I just won’t be making in polka-dots.

I can easily see myself wearing something like this to one of my husband’s swanky business affairs. It would look very nice with an elegant pair of earrings and a bracelet, while the seams give the front of the dress quite a lot of movement and interest.

Burda 7949

Finally, I got my first Burda pattern, Burda 7949. Although I don’t think that I’m into the keyhole neckline on View B,  I just love how this dress is cut to take a patterned fabric (whether as precise as the pin-stripe or as complex as the floral and uses the grain line to create a kind of visual dynamic.

Made with the right fabric, I can see this being a dress I could make in multiple versions, both casual sundress-style and eye-popping glamour-style.

With these four patterns, I completed my indulgence in the fourth of July sale during my visit with my mother.

Then, I went online.

Kwik Sew 2325

You see, I’ve been trying to get two patterns that appear to be out of print or currently unavailable for sale. I’ve wanted them badly enough that I decided to buy them from a private seller. So, just before returning home, I ordered them. Now, they have arrived in all their glory.

Here is Kwik Sew 2325 (my first Kwik Sew pattern, and my first sleepwear pattern). It may be a while before I make any of this set, but I’m excited by it. I like the lines, I like the silhouette, and I would really like to have several of these to wear around the house. Its been terribly hot, and having something pretty and flowing to dress in when it’s too hot to thrown on a pair of jeans would be ever-so-nice.

McCall’s 5522

Finally, there’s my second button-down blouse basics pattern: McCall’s 5522. I already have McCall’s 5138, which is a basic dress shirt with two front darts (and various sleeve types). Ever since I saw M5522, though, and read the good reviews on Pattern Review, I’ve known I had to have a copy.

What makes this top work for me is the separate waist-panel and the gathers around the bosom. Some of my most flattering tops are constructed this way (though some of them also have pin-tucks ).

When I saw that the pattern was no longer being sold, I had to get a copy before it was too late. I have been painstakingly watching which of my clothes ready-made clothes feel and fit the best, and I wasn’t about to let the closest (well-reviewed) approximation to one of my favorites get away.