Friday, January 24, 2014

Variations on a theme: Basic t-shirt with a flare

I'm planning to do a series of posts where I do a roundup of patterns that have caught my eye for a particular garment type. Currently, there is a message board thread running over on Pattern Review debating the pros and cons of developing a Tried-aNd-True (TNT) pattern. To me, one of the undeniable pros of a TNT is to be able to quickly fit a new pattern of the same garment type.

Since I feel like I've recently established a TNT pattern for a basic t-shirt (the SBCC Tonic t-shirt), I'm going to kick off the series with a look at a few patterns that offer a slight twist on the basic t-shirt. These are patterns that would lend themselves to a quick fit when using a TNT tee as a sloper for the pattern. I haven't yet made up any of these patterns, but these are the ones that I have pinned and keep going back to look at and will likely pull the trigger on at some point.


Ruched raglan sleeve tee from BurdaStyle

To kick things off, I've been eyeing this BurdaStyle tee with ruched raglan sleeves ever since I saw the line drawing, like, a year ago.

A ton of people have made this top on PatternReview from a ton of different knit fabrics, and it's universally turned out cute. The only reason why I haven't made it yet is because its largest size is a Burda 42, which will require me to grade up a few sizes. HOWEVER, now that I have my TNT tee and a Jalie raglan-sleeve tee that fit reasonably well, I'm less concerned about having to grade up the pattern.

For such a great basic, I'm surprised that the sizing tops out at 42 (38" bust) on this one. Usually, the smaller size range is a clue that a style might not be flattering on larger figures, but I can't see what the issue would be with this top.


Plantain t-shirt from Deer & Doe

Deer & Doe is a French indie pattern company that's been around for a little over a year. Within the past few months, they've localized their web site and made their pattern instructions available in English. I find their styles are a bit Colette-ish, but without as literal of a vintage vibe.

I haven't tried any of their patterns yet, but they recently posted a free PDF download pattern that's been getting a bit of buzz: The Plantain t-shirt. The Plantain is available in Euro sizes 34-46 (so no massive grading for me--probably just an FBA and a bit at the side seams).

I like the shape of this top--on the women who have made it up, it's fitted through the bust and then has an easy fit on down. I think it will work well on those of us with post-baby bellies. The elbow patches are a cute detail as well.


Rose t-shirt from Blank Slate patterns

Most of Blank Slate's patterns are for the kids. The garments are very wearable, sometimes unisex, and always modern. The Rose t-shirt is their one garment pattern offering for adult women.

The Rose t-shirt is offered in sizes XS-XL (33"-44" bust), so there's a pretty generous size range available. Here's where the TNT would come in handy for me--my full bust is slightly larger than the XL, but given the ruching/draping of the top, I might be able to get away with skipping the FBA if there's enough ease.

I like the mixture of knits and the woven contrast neckband section with this design, and I think that this shape (open neckline, ruching) will likely flatter most figure types. As an added plus, there's also a little girls' dress version available, if you're one of those annoying moms like me who sometimes takes the "mini-me" thing a little too literally.


Tootsie Top from StyleArc

StyleArc followers know that the pattern company gives away a free pattern with purchase every month.  A few months ago, the freebie pattern was the Tootsie knit top:

I love playing with stripes in my garments, so seeing the striped option for this pattern made it easy for me to make the decision to place the order for this top. This one is available in StyleArc (Au) sizes 4-30, which should cover most women. This one comes with short and long-sleeved options (no re-drafting there) and hits at a nice hip length. I've seen a few of these made up online, and it's a cute and flattering top for all body types.


Lekala 4319 draped tunic

I guess that this one is a little bit of a stretch (no pun intended) for this post because it's technically a tunic, but I've been coveting Lekala 4319 since it appeared on the Russian version of the Lekala web site.

For those unfamiliar with Lekala, their web site allows you to enter a set of your own body measurements and then emails you a PDF pattern that has been customized to your measurements. I haven't tried one yet, but they generally get rave reviews for fit, AND they're quite inexpensive at ~$2.50/pattern. Their instructions, however, do not get rave reviews, so you're probably best off sticking with garment types where you won't need them.

I love this top for it's interesting draping and neckline. According to the drawing on the model, this top/tunic hits at about crotch length, so it's not a super long tunic--maybe more of a long top. I like long tops. This pattern is a candidate for one of the, um, about half dozen lengths of merino wool that I bought at recent FabricMart sales.

I tried to stick with relatively recently released patterns. Are there any new-ish knit top/t-shirt patterns that have grabbed your eye lately?


  1. Oh wow, I almost wish I hadn't seen this post. I love that StyleArc top and also quite like the Lekala one. I need another pattern like I need another headache, but I may succumb! I agree with your choices and comments about all of these! I can't wait to see you make them. If I sewed any slower I'd sew in reverse.

  2. These are great selections, M. I have to check out SBCC, Style Arc, and Lekala. They have some really interesting designs and I hear SBCC is ideal for petite women. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Wow, what a thought provoking post. I've seen most of these tees before, all except the Blank Slate & the Lekala one. I really like the Lekala, but my big concern about the Blank Slate one is that horizontal seam across the bust. I think that seam would only look good on smaller chested women. I'd love to see whatever you make up.

  4. I just downloaded the Deer et Doe. Merci! I hadn't seen that they had a free pattern.
    I REALLY like the Lekala.

  5. And you may like this freebie too

  6. I'm not super concerned about the seam across the bust on the Rose tee; on me, that line will hit well above the fullest part of my bust. I think that if I were to use a drapey, not-too-bulky fabric, there shouldn't be an issue. This pattern grabbed my eye because it reminded me a little of the old HotPatterns Weekender Sunshine tops standby, which looks great on everyone.