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.
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short sleeve scoop neck tee with rounded hem

Short sleeve scoop neck tee

After I made a long sleeve scoop neck tee from a pattern I drafted from a ready-to-wear tee, I was so happy with it that I knew there would be more of them in my future. And all of a sudden, it’s 100°. Meaning it’s time to make a short-sleeve version of it.

For a more polished look, I like a longer, slimmer short sleeve that comes almost to the elbow. I’ve also been wanting to do a rounded hem on the bottom, inspired by a tee in my closet that has a flattering rounded hem but is a little too small.

Process notes

  • used pattern from long sleeve scoop neck tee and constructed in the same manner
  • shortened sleeve length to match the boatneck tee drafted from my J.Crew top
  • rounded hem based on a tee from my closet
  • used red and white striped knit fabric

Results

Love it! It came together relatively quickly once the pieces were cut out. Eventually I want to get to the point of using the serger for the arm/side seams once the sleeves are attached.

The fit is great, and the rounded hem is a keeper. I could see going shorter with the sleeve, maybe something like this or shorter with a slight curve.

Update: After wearing this top a few times, I see that it could be a little longer, so I’ll try adding 1″ length to it next time. The scoop neck could also be smoothed out at the sides — it angles too sharply at the front center.

short sleeve scoop neck tee with rounded hem

neckline detail on red and white scoop neck tee

Long sleeve scoop neck tee

I’ve been meaning to make some copies of my Loft long sleeve scoop neck tees for ages. I picked up several of them a few years ago, and for some reason they’ve all developed little holes in the front, around the area where the waistband of jeans would rub. They’re such a wonderful wardrobe staple, and drafting a pattern from them for my stash is a no-brainer.

red and white scoop neck long sleeve tee

Process notes

  • used red and white striped knit fabric
  • moved shoulder forward 1/2 in.
  • modified the shoulder slope to be a little flatter in the top-back, and sharper in the top-front
  • constructed with lightning bolt stitch, 2.0 width & 3.5 length
  • neckline:
    1. did not use tricot interfacing at neckline
    2. stay stitched at scant 3/8″
    3. cut single fold collar band 1 1/2 in. x 34 in. and pressed in half
    4. stitched collar band, right sides together, raw edges aligned
    5. top stitched seam allowances towards shirt, using stretch twin needle.

Results

red and white scoop neck long sleeve teeAbsolutely thrilled with how this tee turned out! The shoulder is great, the length is good for regular pants (not so much leggings), and the scoop is a great size.

I’d love to turn this into a short sleeve tee as well, but with a curved shape at the bottom instead of straight across. I’m hoping that makes it look more feminine and not so unisex.

I think this sleeve will be a good model for my knit pattern block.

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.

Tee drafted from ready to wear

T-shirt Sewing Mission: Shoulders

As an addict of online courses (Craftsy and Creative Live in particular), I enjoy learning what different platforms have to offer and how they differ from each other. There are many Craftsy classes in my library, so when BurdaStyle opened up a new sloper class, I wanted to see how that platform works as well. I own the Craftsy course Sewing with Knits: 5 Wardrobe Essentials and it has been tremendously helpful for getting me comfortable sewing with knits. The first tee I made was from the pattern that comes with that course, with my adjustments for square and broad shoulders. But the adjustments didn’t pan out:

White tee from Sewing with Knits
The shoulders are too square and it’s too tight under the arms

The square shoulder adjustment was totally wrong for me, and the shoulder seams were too short. It was also too tight under the arms and there are pull lines on the fabric (and I can feel it pulling uncomfortably). After seeing how square the shoulders were I pinched out some of the fabric and re-sewed the top of the sleeve/arm hole seams but it didn’t fully solve the issue. When BurdaStyle opened up their Draft Your Own Personal 5 Piece Sloper Collection for May enrollment I jumped on it. Through this course we learned how to draft slopers for the bodice, sleeve, pant, dress/torso for wovens, and the sleeve and torso for knits. One of the great things about the course is gaining familiarity and comfort with the drafting process — drawing over and over helps me feel like it’s no big deal to rip off a sheet of tracing paper and get to work. After drafting each of the woven slopers I sewed up muslins to see how the fit was going. I learned that just because the sloper is drafted from my measurements, it doesn’t mean the garment will fit right out of the gate. The shoulder area was challenging, especially once it came time to add the sleeves. I fell pretty good about where the woven bodice/torso slopers landed, but we’ll see what happens when I eventually draft a pattern from the slopers. I was really excited about the knit sloper. But when I constructed a tee from mine, the arm holes and shoulder placements were off.

White tee from sloper class
Shoulders are too wide and it’s too tight under the arms

It’s also too short, but that’s an easy to fix in the future. After these two experiences, I was looking for a win. So I drafted a pattern from a tee from my closet that I know fits me well following the Craftsy class Pattern Drafting from Ready to Wear. I love this class so much. It takes a lot of the mystery out of garment design and construction — not in the sense that it teaches how to design and construct garments, but rather by reverse-engineering the pieces of the garment it demonstrates that it wasn’t created through magic.

This tee turned out much better, and I’m pretty happy with the fit. I think the under arms are still a bit too small, and the neckline in front is a little high. There are several more tees in my closet to copy — my goal is to get a good basic fit to which I can apply different necklines, hemlines, and sleeves.