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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Adventures in Pattern Drafting! Fitting The Basic Tee Pattern

So I left off on Friday saying I was only going to post on Fridays about the Draft Along and here I am on Tuesday posting about it. There is just too much information to fit into only one post a week I think.

I finished my muslin for my t shirt draft and it looks pretty much OK in this photo. Of course, it's not actually muslin. I am using the term to mean a practice garment. I have so much unused fabric that I just go ahead and make my practice garments out of it. A good friend came over and helped me organize my fabrics and I gave away two large trash bags full of it! I hope it finds a good home. My friend owns a preschool so they will use some of it for collage and other fun projects. She is amazing. If you live near Malibu, California, you should sign your kids up at her preschool, the Center Of Ocean Learning. Deanne is the best. I considered posting photos of the big clean out but I am actually too embarrassed to show the world what a pathetic fabric and craft materials hoarder I am.

Anyway, this is a lightweight sweater knit I bought awhile ago on sale with some matching metallic green pleather which I  have never had an occasion of which to use it for. Hmm.. somehow country living doesn't really give a reason to wear a metallic green pleather anything. 
There was only one yard of this mystery fabric sweater knit so it was perfect for my t shirt. I used to have a bad habit of only buying a yard when I would find interesting fabrics. I have since realized that it's better to buy two or three yards. You can't make much with only a yard for adults except maybe a simple top or an A line skirt, and if you make a mistake you are out of luck because you won't have enough fabric to cut a new piece of anything. Well, actually you can make a lot of things with only one yard of fabric, but definitely not a dress... and I love to make dresses.

I left the binding off the neck, finishing it and the hems with my rolled hem feature on my serger. I wasn't sure how the top would fit so I didn't want to invest too much time in finishing the details! I just have to mention how much I love my serger. I think it is the most money I have ever spent on a piece of machinery besides my car, but I don't regret it. It's a Babylock Imagine with a feature called Air Threading. It is so easy to thread  and you can thread it in any order. Plus, it has automatic tension adjusters built in so it readjusts tension for different weight fabrics. I never used to use my old serger because it was such a nightmare to thread and I was always getting the tension messed up.
Upon closer inspection of my working muslin, you can see here that I made a glaring pattern making mistake. Look how far my side seams and armhole extend out! Boy did I do a bad job taking my own measurements. This armhole is really cut badly so I had to shave off about an inch and a half from my pattern at the armhole. I also removed 1/2 inch at each side seam at the armholes on the bodice pieces.
After making my pattern adjustments I stapled my lightweight paper patterns to my manila paper, then cut around it so I still have my original pattern on top. I really like this lightweight paper because it is a little transparent so I can also use it to trace patterns from pattern books. I have been working on a Japanese pattern for myself and used this paper to trace the pattern out of the book. 
So now that my pattern is all fixed and ready to go I can sew up a new t shirt and I have some grey striped knit fabric ready to go. 
If you are participating in the Draft Along, don't forget to stop by Friday to post your photos of your projects and progress!
I will be starting on the basic button down pattern draft. That one has me biting me nails! 


  1. haha! I came over from your tweet to warn you about the cray cray draft of this thing, but see you already found it! :D I had a problem with armholes and with the's basically drafted for no boobage. I did a sew-along a couple of years ago when the book came out and there were some good posts floating around about the fit model for this tee. I think I gave up on mine. I needed a different fit and I'm fairly impatient, ha!

  2. Well this seems to be coming along very nicely to me :)


  3. I finished the A-line skirt pattern, muslin and actual skirt. I am thrilled with how easy and straight forward you made it. I will start the t-shirt this weekend. I have gained so much confidence in this draft-along. Thank you so much for going it.

  4. I totally made a t shirt from this book a few years ago. Can I participate post-script like?

  5. I am sure you will just love an old patternmaker to drop in and comment on the draft, right? Sure you do. First, take a good look at your body and how it moves. In the back your shoulders rotate forward, so make the back armhole wider than the front to give your arms room to move. Also you need more height in the back, about a half inch, more or less, so that the shoulder seam falls at the true apex of the shoulder. You can see in the picture of your muslin how the shoulder seam is falling back behind you. Got that. Now in front you have rounded the neck out nicely for your neck, good job. You need to round out the armhole in front in much the same way, because the arm moves (you guessed it) forward, and with a big muscle right there in your chest too. To make bust room, the side seam should be about a half inch wider in the front than the back. There are more tricks for bust room, but they get into fine tuning and really the best way to get bust room if it is needed is to add a dart. Yes, in a tee shirt. I wish I were computer savvy enough to send you pictures; it would explain things so much better. Hope I haven't ruined your day. What book is this out of? If I were writing a book, you had best believe you would not be at this point with a pattern that is virtually the same front and back. Good luck with the project.

  6. I finished my t-shirt last night. It turned out cool. Of course there are things I will tweak for next time, but it was easier than I thought with the help you and Cal provided. Thanks! I love having a shirt no one else has. Also, I've always been afraid to sew knits, and now I've done it! I need to take pictures when we get some good light, but when I do, I'll come back to the posts and post links to my Flickr page. Thanks, Justine!


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