Classic striped tee designed with Sure-Fit Designs Dress Kit

striped long sleeve tee designed with Sure-Fit Designs dress kit

I have a serious love of striped tees. Since I prefer comfy clothes, I end up with a lot of tees (both long and short sleeve) and the stripes help add more personality than solid fabrics. Navy and soft white are my favorite pairing, and while I have plenty of those in my closet they all have some issues.

One has amazing fabric and details like brass buttons on the shoulders, but it’s too snug and the neckline is too broad. Another is nearly perfect, with some solid color blocking and 3/4 length sleeves but the shoulders are weird and the neck gapes. The one that fits the best has been worn so much that it has stains and holes.

So once I got started with my Sure-Fit Designs Dress Kit a Breton-style top was high on my list of priorities. My inspiration was a top that Winona Ryder wore in Girl, Interrupted. It’s pretty much perfection.

I don’t normally care for a crew neck in tees, but I wanted to give it a try because it’s so cute on Ryder in the movie. And typically my crew necks are on sporty, promotional tees so this would be a different animal. I was happy with how it turned out!

Yikes, you can really see my sloping right shoulder in this photo!

I used Glenda’s instructions for removing the bust-fitting dart in the Dress Kit. For the neckline, I made a facing out of navy knit, sewed it on with the lightning stitch for stretch, and topstitched it in place with a twin needle. The bottom has a curved hem, inspired by this Pin that demonstrates a flattering hemline for tops when your hip measurement is quite a bit longer than your waist.

Next time, I need to make a few small adjustments to my SFD blueprint:

  • The length is a little short, possibly because my measurement from neck to waist was off. I’ll need to lower the waistline and add some to the hemline as well.
  • Shoulders have been an ongoing issue with fitting, but I think the shoulder seam is just a little bit too long here. Shortening that at the shoulder point maybe 1/4″ should help.
  • Definitely need to try this with a boatneck! Hopefully I have enough fabric left to do a shorter sleeve version with this alternative neckline style.
  • There’s probably something I can do about those folds going from underarm to neck…the Sure-Fit Designs Facebook group may be able to help with that.
essential tote bag topstitching detail

Sewing skills project 9: Essential Tote Bag


Essential Tote Bag from School of Sewing by Shea Henderson

Project features:

  • topstitching
  • boxed corners
  • interior pocket
  • strap length options
  • pieced stripes

Process notes


  • chambray
  • Robert Kaufman Kona Cotton in Stone
  • Robert Kaufman Kona Cotton in Black
  • Robert Kaufman Kona Cotton in Navy
  • Pellon SF101 Shape-Flex woven fusible interfacing
  • Pellon 971F Thermolam Plus interfacing

Equipment and settings:

  • Universal 90/14 needle for most of the project, except for the straps used Jeans 100/16
  • used default stitch length setting 2.5, except for topstitching and quilting used 3.5
  • for topstitching the straps used 1/4-inch guide foot and edge joining foot


This project has a few really nice options with the instructions, and I chose to make the striped version, with long handles and an inside pocket. It’s a very roomy tote, and the Thermolam gives it good structure without being overly stiff.

My 1/4-inch guide foot and edge joining foot were invaluable for this project — I’m so glad to have them! For making the 1/4-inch quilting stitches next to each stripe seam, I just ran the guide down the ditch and it was a piece of cake. I ran into little hiccups when topstitching the opening in the last step because my guide would run into the straps and get hung up. As was mentioned in the book a few times, going slow on the topstitching really does help. After hearing it from several places, it’s finally sinking in that there’s nothing wrong with sewing slowly. In fact, it’s faster in the long run if stitches don’t need to be ripped out and re-sewn.