T-Shirt Month/// The Lark Tee and The Classic Tee

I’m back with my first two t-shirts to dive into for t-shirt month. Check out my post from last week to see my plans and what I’m trying to accomplish here!

I’m going to be looking at the Lark Tee and the Classic Tee. I put these two together specifically to compare what would probably be called a ‘classic t-shirt.’ Later in the month the patterns I show won’t really be for side by side comparison, but these two are definitely close enough to examine and compare a bit. I’ll talk about the pattern, the versions I made, and then I will talk a bit more about fabric towards the end of this post. Please let me know if you have any questions about the patterns or fabric and I will try to answer them in a later post! Let’s get going!

Pattern One: The Lark Tee

Pattern name and designer: The Lark Tee from Grainline Studio

Size Range: 0-18, a 32″ bust to a 44″bust

Pattern Details and Options: From the Pattern Description, “With a modern, slim fit ideal for layering, the Lark Tee is your closet’s new best friend. It’s great on its own or under your favorite button up, sweater, or blazer. All four sleeves are interchangeable with each of the necklines resulting in 16 potential different tees in one pattern!”

There are options for a crew, scoop, V, and boat neckline and cap, short, 3/4, and long sleeves.

Fabric used: This pattern recommends using knit fabrics with at least 20% stretch. I made two versions, one in a luxury viscose and one in an Amsterdam jersey (details and links at the end of the post)

Thoughts on fit: This tee is closer fitting with a small size range.

Thoughts on style: Classic t-shirt styles that you can mix and match, basic but with options.

What I don’t like: I don’t like the more form fitting look of this shirt. For a t-shirt to wear every day with jeans I think I prefer a looser fit. I wish the size range were bigger and that there were cup sizes.

What I do like: I do think the snug fit would work well for layering. I also like all the options and that each neckline has a completely separate pattern piece.

Here is my first version in the luxury viscose. I went with the crew neck version in the size 6. I had to shorten it but only due to the fact that this was the amount of fabric I had. I chose to make a version of both tees out of this fabric after the fact so had to make it work! I shorted the sleeve length about half an inch because I thought the short sleeve hit me at a weird spot, especially with the tighter fit.

This is an incredibly simple make and the instructions are clear and easy to understand. I was able to get a nice finish using a zig zag stitch and my regular sewing machine. I did have a little pulling around the neck band.

For the second version I used the Amsterdam jersey and made the boat neck with long sleeves in a size 8. I prefer the fit on this one and appreciate the length of the top and the sleeves. I don’t know that I love the wide neck line and was a little bummed that the finishing was simply to turn under the neckline. I think a facing would have given a more professional finish.

Pattern Two: The Classic Tee

Pattern name and designer:The Classic Tee from Love Notions

Size Range: XS-5X, 33″ bust to 57.5″ bust

Pattern Details and Options: From the website, “The Classic Tee sewing pattern is a semi-relaxed tee with just the right amount of ease where you need it. Choose from three neckline options: crew, scoop and v-neck. Also included are four sleeve lengths: short, elbow, 3/4 and long. This tee is a great beginner project, especially for an introduction to sewing with knits. A full bust piece is also included.”

A basic tee with options in a big size range.

Fabric used: This pattern recommends light to medium weight knit, jersey, rayon/spandex, modal, cotton jersey, and recommends that for more stable knits to size up. I used a luxury viscose, rayon spandex, and cotton modal in my versions

Thoughts on fit: Really enjoy the looser fit of this t-shirt and after playing around with the necklines I found that the scoop neck hits me at the perfect spot.

Thoughts on style: Basic style that you can make over and over again.

What I don’t like: Would like a couple more neckline options (boat neck maybe?) but otherwise no complaints.

What I do like: The size range, the price, the ease of fit right out of the gate.

My first version is the crew neck in a size medium from that same luxury viscose as earlier. I immediately loved the fit on the body and sleeves. There was again some pulling at the neckline (possible user error, possible it was the fabric) and I didn’t love the crew neck on me. After trying other versions I ended up cutting this one into a scoop neck and I much prefer that.

Version two is the scoop neck, long sleeve in a size medium sewn out of rayon spandex jersey. This may be my idea of a perfect t-shirt. I love the fit, I love the neckline on me and where it hits, and this fabric is incredibly soft with a perfect amount of drape.

My last version is again a medium, this time scoop neck with short sleeves in a cotton modal. I think this is my perfect t-shirt! I love the fit and can see myself making up as many versions as I need throughout the seasons.

Thoughts on Fabric.

The Luxury Viscose is from Minerva and is about $24 a meter. It’s 94% viscose, 6% elastane with a 35% stretch. It has a lovely drape and is very soft. It can go a bit clingy and was the most slippery fabric I used. I love that they sell this in so many colors and for a drapey t-shirt I think it’s a good fit!

The Amsterdam Jersey was from Surge Fabric and was $7.99 for a half yard. This is a 86% poly, 10% Rayon, and 4% spandex with a 50% stretch one way. It was lightweight, soft but not as soft as the others, and is a rich saturated color. This was my least favorite fabric to work with. The polyester makes if feel less breathable and the texture of it makes me wonder how it will hold up in the wash. The weight is great for t-shirts though and reminds me of some RTW shirts.

The 2 Tone Choarcoal Rayon Spandex Jersey is from Surge and is $7.49 for a half yard. This is 96% Rayon, 4% Spandex with a 50% stretch. Soft, light weight, and with a beautiful drape, I loved working with this fabric and because it is breathable and cool to the touch, I have enjoyed wearing it as well. One of my favorites from the bunch.

And finally, the Cotton Modal Jersey from Stylemaker Fabrics is $18.99 yard. There wasn’t a percentage make up on the website, only that it is cotton, modal, and spandex. It comes in a wide range of saturated colors and is a bit thicker than the others but still has drape to it. Modal is touted as being more sustainable since it comes from Beech trees and used 10-20x less water than cotton. It is breathable and biodegradable and feels so good on the skin. I loved working with this one.

I have four more patterns and at least 3 more fabrics to make shirts out of so stay tuned for more next week! I will compile final thoughts and comparisons at the end of the month. I hope this was helpful for you, I know I am very excited to have found the t-shirt pattern I was looking for.

Vintage Gingham Wrap Top

I have my first summery make to share today! I love collecting vintage patterns but really try and only get things that I would actually make and wear today. I found this wrap top, Simplicity 7351, on Etsy (I found another one here!) and thought it worked well with some of the trends I’m seeing in stores right now.

A wrap top with two different views, one with a forward yoke and peplum style bottom and one with an interesting curved yoke that wraps and hits at the natural waist. Also options to leave sleeves loose and fluttery or add elastic for that blouson effect.

I went with view two and kept the sleeves open. I used a gingham linen from D&H Fabrics (my color isn’t available but I’ve linked to another fun summery color!) and it’s a perfect match for this pattern.

My copy of the pattern was a size medium and I did have to take it in a little but otherwise made the pattern as is. I love how it turned out! I’ve styled it up with some bottoms from my spring capsule and look forward to trying it with shorts as well.

As always, let me know if you have any questions and here’s to the weather warming up and breaking out our summer looks!

First Make of the Year!

This week has been a little crazy (and listen, I wrote this out before the crumbling of democracy yesterday…) The kids are home for a buffer week before going back to school and most of my days have been spent helping them with science fair projects (note to self; I never ever ever want to be a science teacher). I did get to slip in a few hours for some sewing, look at me actually making my resolutions happen!, and I’m happy to share my first make of 2021 with you.

This fabric has been in my stash for a few years now and I could just never commit to a project. It’s a gorgeous floral print, but the fabric was really narrow and that limited what it could be. I got in my head that it would make a beautiful Wilder Gown so I started cutting it out and realized I didn’t have near enough fabric (so maybe I haven’t changed much in the new year?) I decided to push ahead though and see what it would look like at a tunic length.

I… kind of love it? And I actually think I might wear it more than a full length dress?

This is the size medium and basically it’s the bodice from the dress with long sleeves and whatever was left of my fabric. It’s very loose and flowy (read comfortable) but the beautiful fabric makes it feel like I dressed up a little bit. I have it paired here with skinny jeans and I imagine that is how it will probably get worn. Easy for getting on the ground and playing with Sam but cute enough to run out and…. do whatever it is that people did in the before times?!

This pattern is hugely popular in the sewing world and I feel like the last person to make it! It is a really easy sew and I get why people are obsessed with it. You know I love nightgown adjacent, and this feels like exactly that. If you were newer to sewing and looking at this pattern, I would highly recommend it. If I can get something cute out of it with way less fabric than it calls for, I have all the faith in the world that you could make something cute for yourself! Plus fitting is easy and drama level is high. What more could you ask for?

My Fall Module/// Butterick 6378

I have my final piece of my fall module to show you today and it may be my favorite! To see everything I’ve made as a part of this collection, click here!

The idea for this top absolutely started with this amazing Atelier Brunette Autumn Posey Rayon Dobby in Chestnut. I’ve had my eye on it for months and when I was planning this module, decided this was the print I wanted to go with. In working through The Conscious Closet (you can see my whole series on the book here!) I realized that I am more of a solids gal. I like color and playing around with color mixing, but find I wear less prints in general. So when I kept thinking about this fabric, I knew it was one worth throwing in the mix!

I am absolutely loving the seventies fashion inspiration right now and this pattern B6378 felt like a modern take on a seventies blouse. I made version B in a size 12 and it has turned out to be one of my best made garments yet. The finishes are beautiful and the fit is pretty perfect. I didn’t make any alterations and I found the instructions and construction of the neck facing and neck tie to be really well done.

I’ve paired it here with my pink Pietra pants. I don’t know if this is too much pink, but I kind of dig these two pieces together and feel like Harry Styles might approve of this outfit!

I love that I was able to fall in love with a print and imagine it made up as something lovely and then create exactly what I wanted. Sometimes sewing really does feel like magic.

My Fall Module/// Toaster Sweater

I’m sharing my second top that I made for my fall module today, if you want to see all my other pieces, click here!

I rarely make patterns over and over again. I’m not sure why? There are just so many great designs out there and I love variety in my closet, it’s just not something I do. So when I tell you that this is the fourth time I’ve sewn up this pattern, I hope you understand that means I truly love it!

This is the Toaster Sweater #1 by Sew House Seven . It is a classic sweater and I love both versions. I’ve made them both and hacked version #2 into a sweater dress that I wear all the time. It is an easy make, easy to fit, and it’s one of those basic tops that you will pull out again and again in the colder months.

I made this in a size medium out of this gorgeous Ultra Plush Stripe Texture Sweater knit in Hunter. This fabric is incredible! It is cozy and soft but still has a little drape to it. I think it would make an amazing cardigan or sweater dress!

I love this rich green color and I had fun playing with the ribbing texture, making it go in different directions on the bands and neck. I think in the past I’ve sewn the small, but I went for the medium here because I’m gravitating towards the slouchy, oversized look. I like that this doesn’t drown me but still gives me that same feeling.

This sweater is going to be one I wear year after year. I love how it looks with the other things I’ve made in this module and how well it works with clothes I already own!

My Fall Module/// McCall’s 8145

Today I have my first top from my fall module to share with you! You can find my topper and 2 bottoms here if you would like to see the whole collection.

I haven’t been purchasing many big four patterns this summer as I’ve been trying to support and promote indie companies that are outspoken allies. However I really liked a lot of things in the McCalls and Vogue fall release so when they went on sale I made a couple of purchases.

This top, M8145 , looked like a fun one to add to my stash. It’s a knit faux wrap top with a thick band around the waist and very dramatic sleeves. I am in need of more separates and liked the idea of view B in a sweater knit for the fall. I like that it’s comfortable and easy to wear but is still a little extra.

I sewed up the size 12 in this Plush sweater knit in solid paprika from Stylemaker Fabrics. I admit I’m not one hundred percent impressed with this fabric. It has a synthetic feel to it and after working with all the other fabrics in this module, I can really tell a difference. I do love the color however, I will just make note that this specific fabric isn’t for me in the future.

This was a really simple sew, I filmed my process here!, and I like the end result. I’m going to make note that if I sew it again I would like to lengthen the bodice a bit and maybe take in the band some too. I find that it does ride up and as it’s already right at my natural waist, it can show more skin than I want if I’m not careful.

I do love where the wrap hits though. Sometimes wrap tops can be really low cut or feel like they are gaping open. This one stays closed and I like how high up it is. I feel covered up (and warm!) but it’s still cute.

And these sleeves! I love these sleeves so much. The cuff is nice and thick so everything is secure and out of your way but you still get all the draaaahhhmmmaa of the sleeves. There is a version with the sleeves uncuffed but I don’t understand how that would be even remotely practical as this is a lot of fabric! Just something to note if you’re thinking of making this up.

This top is a little out of my style comfort zone, but I think making it in such a rich solid fabric means it will get a lot of wear. I loved making this top from start to finish and am really pleased with how it turned out!

Matchy Matchy

I am loving the concept of matching sets I’ve been seeing around (I mean, online. I haven’t seen anyone in person rocking these- ha) this summer. I think they are so cute together, whether matching tops and skirts or pants, and that you can have a lot of fun mixing them with other pieces in your wardrobe. It feels like a lot of bang for your buck!

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I bought this beautiful viscose linen crepe knowing it would become a set of some kind. I had a drapey short and a cropped top in my head and I think I found patterns that matched my vision!

The top is the Ashton top by Helen’s Closet. I saw this on so many people in so many fabrics throughout Me Made May and it made my list of patterns I wanted to try. I’m so happy I did because it is a pretty perfect pattern. Boxy with two different length options, this top is simple but a great building block for hacks or just to play around with different fabrics. The instructions are wonderful (lots of tips added in alongside the step by step construction) and I liked that there were two finishing options. There is an option for bias bound finishes (with pattern pieces) and also an all in one facing. I went for the facing because I thought it would help keep the drapey, breezy look of the fabric. I can’t wait to make a few more of these.

These shorts were a less enjoyable sewing experience, but I have to say I don’t hate them. These are the Dorian shorts from Seamwork and I love the lines and cut of them. I like how they are longer (I actually shortened them a bit) and that they fall away from your body. I think it ups the sophistication level of them and in this fabric they look more elegant while still being cool and easy to wear.

I bought them because I loved the pocket detail and I liked the elastic added in with the side panels. There is a zip fly as well which now I’m not sure that one pattern needs both. I can slip these on and off without undoing the fly and I’m not in love with how messy the waistband turned out. I redid the waistband three times and I think the skinnier elastic just doesn’t do it for me. I think I would prefer a wider waistband and possibly wider elastic too.

I will be trying the Closet Core Pietra pants soon and am interested to compare the construction and design of these two patterns. All together, I do love how this little set turned out! I’m learning to trust my instincts with sewing a bit more and I think these shorts have taught me that when I try a design feature and I don’t like it, maybe it’s ok to change it up. The pattern makers aren’t going to come for my head! I am learning that ‘breaking rules’ while sewing is ok. I know what I like and I can change things for myself. I am building the confidence and knowledge to make that happen!

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Pattern Details!

Top

Pattern: Ashton top from Helen’s Closet

Size/Adjustments: Straight size 8, B cup size. I may lengthen a bit next time so I can have the wide hem at this same length. I love the different cup sizing for fit.

Fabric used: Viscose Linen Crepe from Blackbird Fabrics It’s dreamy to work with and feels lovely up against the skin!

Additional Thoughts: I see what all the hype was about! Can’t wait to make it again and also play around with hacking it. Wonderful addition to my pattern collection.

Shorts

Pattern: Dorian shorts by Seamwork

Size/Adjustments: Straight size 8, if I made again I might size down to a 6

Fabric Used: viscose linen crepe from Blackbird

Additional Thoughts: Installing the elastic and making it look neat was a huge challenge and in the end I think I may just dislike this particular design feature. I like that there is a bonus pattern to turn them into pants and Seamwork always has great instructions as well as all the resources to help with the pattern.

 

In Search of the Perfect Button-down

I have in my head an image of a perfect button down shirt that I can wear tied up with my high waisted pants. I… don’t know if this is the version I had in mind? I bought this pattern at the end of last summer, all of the versions look like really wearable pieces that could all look very different from each other made up in different fabrics.

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I bought this linen last year for a different button down shirt, but ended up wanting to give this pattern a try. I love the weight of this particular fabric and how it is still drapey enough for this style. I also bought these lovely buttons from Tabitha Sewer and am very happy with the quality. They were wonderful to work with and I think they look really nice on this shirt!

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My main issue with this shirt is that it just feels too big. In the pictures I have unbuttoned the last button and tied it up to make it shorter and hit at my natural waist. To be fair, the pattern does say it is very loose fitting and it’s my fault for not doing a little more research. But also, maybe I wasn’t clear on exactly what I wanted until I made this up? I am going to try and style it up in the coming month and wear it a few different ways, so even if it’s not the shirt I was originally planning on it will still be something I like to wear.

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Here are your pattern details!

Pattern: M7976, version D

Fabric: A Robert Kauffman Essex Yarn Dyed Linen from Fancy Tiger Crafts, buttons are these lovelies from Tabitha Sewer

Size made/Alterations: I made the straight size medium. Seeing how oversized it is, I may size down to the small next time as I am right on the border of those sizes.

Final thoughts: I am proud of this garment, it’s really well made and some of the construction details are very nice. I love the pleats in the shoulders as well as the drafting for the sleeve and yoke. It’s pretty simple to make as it doesn’t have a collar, just a facing, and I think with a few tweaks it would be something I love.

Three Tank Tops

These past few months I’ve noticed a change in how and what I sew. Lockdown and not being able to pop into a store whenever I want meant that I got creative with the supplies I had on hand. I’ve gone through all my thread (even if it didn’t exactly match) and my fabric stash has gotten very low. I have been taking my time (no rush because there’s no where to wear the new clothes) and really considering what I want to make. Will it be something I love? Something I reach for again and again? Now that I’ve started making purchases I take the same consideration into what I buy along with examining the companies I’m giving my money to. I hope that when this dark time in the world is over, I keep these philosophies with me and remember that there were some benefits when I didn’t value convenience above all else.

These three tank tops are a result of needing some basics for summer and using the last of these rib knits that were in my stash. I’ve sewn up the terra-cotta and blue fabrics this year and had just (and I mean just!) enough left to eek out a tank top. The purple was a remnant I bought from Blackbird Fabrics some time last year. I’m not sure the color is great on me, but I think I can layer it up and get a lot of wear out of it as it’s very soft and cozy.  I am not huge on crop tops, but plan on wearing the terra-cotta tank for working out or sleeping in and maybe as an under layer with other tops.

I already owned this pattern from Seamwork, the Julia tank, and it’s very simple, just two pattern pieces. I wish they included the pattern for the bindings, but it’s not hard to cut out on your own. I made up the size small and found all three to be really big on me so if I make this again, I will size down.

The construction is easy, and while not the most exciting of makes, tank tops are things I wear all the time and I know I will wear these often.

Have you found that the pandemic has changed how you approach the seemingly small things (like hobbies or more mundane tasks) in your every day life?

Pattern details!

Pattern: Julia tank by Seamwork

Size/modifications: Small, had to take in on the sides after making

Fabric: bamboo rib knit from Blackbird Fabrics, mine were all scraps but click here to see their entire selection

Overall thoughts: Simple pattern, I don’t know if it’s the best tank out there but if you’re looking for a looser fit it’s definitely an easy one to reach for.

Custom Cup Sizes

With my last make I mentioned how I’ve been trying to use what I have, which is why this top is made from this kelly green rayon challis that’s been in my stash for a very long time. I thought it would be great to try and make a wearable muslin out of this pattern.

I’ve been wanting to make this top for awhile, I really love the cut of the shoulders. I didn’t realize it at the time, but this is a pattern that has different pieces dependent on your cup size.

This is a game changer.

I’ve been having issues fitting tops lately. I have broad shoulders but a small bust, but my rib cage isn’t particularly small. So when I use my measurements and pick my size, I end up with gaping or weird pulling and it drives me crazy. I’ve decided I need to start making small bust adjustments to my patterns, and I’ll be sure and share the results when I do!

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But with this pattern I was able to cut out the size 12 in the A cup and wouldn’t you know, the one time I take the time to make a muslin, it fit perfectly! I’m so excited to make this out of a fabric I love and mix it in with other pieces.

You can tell I got careless on the arm bindings (I was in a rush and after the Calvin dress I was over bias tape!) but otherwise this is a well made garment that maybe I can figure out how to wear. That color isn’t one I have a lot of, but we will see what I come up with.

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Here are some stats and links!

Pattern: Very Easy Vogue V9109, version A

Size/Adjustment: I made a straight size 12 with the A cup sizing

Fabric: a green rayon challis that has been in my stash a very long time

Final thoughts/comments: Very happy to have tried the custom cup sizing, it made a huge difference in getting a great fit on the first try. Will be looking for more fabric to make this in!