Boatneck long sleeve tee in navy

One of my favorite tees is a hip-length black and white striped tissue tee with 3/4 sleeves and a boatneck from Loft. It’s a great fit — roomy enough to be super comfy, yet slim enough to look polished. For this project, I drafted a pattern from it and sewed it up in a nice, soft, navy knit.

navy boatneck long sleeve tee

Process notes

  • lengthened 3/4 sleeve by 5 in., bringing it to a full wrist length
  • 7 in. width at wrist end of sleeve pattern
  • neckline:
    1. neckline is constructed to include the shoulder seams right in the boatneck shaping
    2. for binding cut (2) pieces of same fabric 1 5/8 in. x 20 in.
    3. fused 1/2 in. wide tricot interfacing along neckline
    4. stay stitched at 3/8 in.
    5. aligned binding along the stay stitch line and stitched 1/2 in. from it
    6. trimmed off 3/8 in. (most of tricot interfacing got trimmed off)
    7. turned binding to inside and topstitched with stretch twin needle
    8. slightly overlapped shoulder areas and top stitched together
  • used 5/8 in. seam allowance to join arms, but 1/2 in. at side seam
  • added side vents

Results

I got lucky with this fabric — it’s very comfortable with a nicely balanced amount of stretch. We’ll see how it wears. I got it at the mill ends and remnants store where fabric content is unknown.

The first thing I noticed after trying it on was that the back shoulder need reshaping with a gentler slope to account for my forward sloping shoulders. But I do like how the boatneck works on this pattern, with a smoother overlap compared to my pattern drafted from my J. Crew tee.

The shaping along the sides and the overall length are good, although the bottom hem wants to flip up. This might be because of the side vents.

Next time, I’d lengthen the sleeves by 1/2 to 1 in., and adjust that shoulder curve. The adjustments are minor — overall it’s a winner.

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Sleeveless Coco with contrast yoke

Sleeveless Coco Top with Contrast Yoke

I enjoyed sewing my first Coco so much that the second it was done I began plotting my next one. And since it’s been 110° lately, a sleeveless version sounded like a smart idea.

Project features

  • Wonder Tape (optional)
  • contrast yoke
  • stabilized shoulder seam
  • side splits
  • armhole facing

Process notes

  • made size 2, and shaved 1 1/2 in. off the length (at the bottom, not at the lengthen/shorten line) and 1 in. off the hemline width on the front and back pieces
  • used thrift store tee for the striped yoke
  • used 1 in. wide self fabric for armhole facing, as a single layer sewn raw edge to raw edge, right sides together, then turned to the inside and topstitched
  • stitched neckline, armholes, and hem with stretch twin needle

Results

Sleeveless Coco with contrast yoke

My hemline adjustments made the top tighter across the bottom than I would have liked. I meant to just take 1/2 in. off each piece (2 in. total) but accidentally doubled that.

The size 2 works fairly well as a sleeveless top, but the arm holes are too small and the size 3 works better overall. Next time I’ll stick with the size 3, shortening 1 1/2 in.  at the lengthen/shorten line and bringing in the hipline circumference a bit to reduce the flair at the hips.

Now that I’m actually threading the machine right with the double needle, there were not skipped stitches. However the bobbin thread is too tight, causing it to come undone at the splits. Post-Coco tests revealed that tightening the needle thread tension helps make bigger zig zags on the bobbin side, so that’s something I’ll continue to work on.

Update: Because the arm holes were just too tight for comfort, I removed the facing, trimmed a bit from the bottom of the armscye 1/4 in., and just folded over the raw edge to stitch down. The back of the armscye gapes a bit now, but at least it’s a wearable top. The size 2 bodice is actually starting to feel better so my plan next time is to cut a size 3 from the armscye up and a size 2 below, without tapering at the hemline.

Short sleeve Coco with contrast yoke

Coco Top with Contrast Yoke and Short Sleeves

My favorite type of tee is a boatneck Breton in blue and white stripes. I’ve had my eye on the Tilly & the Buttons Coco pattern for awhile, and after my t-shirt sewing challenges decided it was finally time to buy it.

Project Features

  • Wonder Tape (optional)
  • contrast yoke
  • stabilized shoulder seam
  • side splits
  • flat sleeve construction

Process notes

  • made size 3
  • used a thrift store tee for the yoke and sleeves
  • followed the contrast yoke variation and short sleeve instructions
  • trimmed 1 1/2 in. off bottom before hemming
  • used Wonder Tape to stabilize the neckline and hem

Results

Short sleeve Coco with contrast yokeBetween the straight-forward design, options for sleeve lengths and collar, contrast yoke tips, and the super clear instructions on how to sew it up, this top was a complete pleasure to make. The fit in the shoulders is good, but the pattern flares out at the hips more than I’d like — which is a quick pattern adjustment next time.

I think it would be cute to try the short sleeves in more of a cap style, and I’m looking forward to making the 3/4 sleeve and funnel neck versions once the weather cools.

I’m on the fence about the Wonder Tape…it was tricky get all the wrinkles out while sticking it down around the neck and hem lines. But once it was down evenly it was nice not to have to deal with pins.

Count me in the Coco fan club! Next up is a sleeveless version with contrast yoke, in a smaller size for comparison.