Monday 11 June 2018

Tried and True T-Shirt Pattern

I've sewn a lot of T-shirts for myself but there's only one pattern that I've ever felt really worked for me. Other patterns have had curious features that I thought at the time were worth paying for, but they let me down in some other regard. Ultimately I've decided I'd rather play around with a well fitting T-shirt block and make my own changes.

And so it's the Metro Tee by Liesl + Co for me. I have seven of them now, and the first five have all featured here previously. You can see them all together on the Oliver + S blog or just stay here to check out the latest two...

Of the first five only one was made straight up as per the pattern. I thought it was time to go back to the beginning and sew another regular, straight up Metro T.

I sized down to the M, which is just below my current measurements, in order to get a tight fit, and made myself a long sleeved T-shirt out of some great stretch velour.

Please forgive the crappy modelling - I'd give excuses but really, I'm just crap at it. I took these pictures and cropped my grumpy face and/or closed eyes out of each of them before writing the Oliver + S post, and while I've worn the T-shirts since I can't find any motivation to rephotograph them.

This lush midnight blue stretch velour came from the remnants bin at Rathdowne Fabrics. It's pretty glam and while this is just the straight, crew neck t-shirt the fabric makes a lot of difference. Worn with black trousers and heels it could easily be a night out kind of top.

I think I was nervous that the long sleeves on the size M may prove to be a touch short so I added 1/2" when cutting. But it's obvious I didn't really need to. This pattern has a lovely generous sleeve length, so I guess that's a warning to the short arm blog audience.

When I was rummaging through my bag of thrifted vintage fabrics from Topbikephysio's mum I rediscovered a couple of cuts of vintage, semi-sheer, slubby cotton. I immediately wanted to make one more t-shirt so I could have seven, one for each day of the week!

I was interested to have a go at binding the neckline with a strip of woven bias binding. Much like this ready-to-wear t-shirt that I wore here

It turned out to be crazy simple. I cut the V neck to the depth I wanted but also so that the tip of the V would finish on a stripe. I managed to cut the front and back to get the stripes perfectly aligned at the side seams, but the fabric remnant was only small and there was nothing I could do to match the sleeves to the body. Curiously they match very well at the back - but I didn't get a picture of that. I guess you can have a sleeve head that suits stripes, or a sleeve head that suits my chest, arms and back, but not necessarily both.

This bias strip is only about 3/8" wide when double folded. To work out the length I simply layed it around the neckline from centre back to centre front under a little bit of tension. I marked the centre front point. To create the chevron requires a little mountain range looking thing that I really should have photograped - next time I promise. Then the bias strip is folded and pressed. If you press it so that the underside is fractionally wider than the outer then it's easy to stitch it on from the outside and be sure of catching the underside perfectly.

Size-wise, this one is back up to the size L and I think I cut the sleeves on the lengthen/shorten line - that may, or may not, have been intentional ;) The body is about 2 inches shorter than the t-shirt usually is due to fabric restrictions. All up I think it worked really well and I'll have to play around with some other quilting cotton scraps and bias bound V necks in future. I'll be sure to take pictures and write it up, it's a lovely finish to a t-shirt.

Seven T-shirts all very different but all from the one pattern. It's definitely my tried and true T-shirt pattern.


  1. Love a TNT pattern! Your tops are excellent and I love how they are all a little different from each other.

    1. It's such a relief once you know you have a pattern that won't let you down. I love tinkering and it suits me to have t-shirts that don't all look the same!

  2. Great to see your ideas for a TNT t-shirt pattern. Love both of these.

    1. Thanks Sharon. I was surprised to have used the one pattern so many times. I'm rarely one to repeat a pattern, but I guess I've changed it enough they don't look like the same pattern anymore.

  3. Love these! The woven binding on the second one is SUCH an interesting idea!

    1. It's fun isn't it. The only challenge is to be sure the V is deep enough to allow your head through. I'll do it again for sure, and a bit wider next time. I'm pleased to say mine is a much neater finish than the ready to wear version I was copying!


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