Finished - Sailors Top and Elise Tee

As we approach summer I've been trying to plug some wardrobe gaps, and one of those gaps was a few new t-shirts. I know making basics like tees can be a bit boring and many would rather spend that sewing time on something more interesting, which I understand, absolutely. But right now I just can't bring myself to buy them. I'm just so sick of poor quality, badly made, off grain t-shirts. And I'll be honest - I'm too tight to spend cash on a crappy t-shirt when I can make one myself for a quarter of the price....

Today I'm sharing two new tees, plus some patterns I'd like to try (if I hadn't promised my beloved that I wouldn't buy any more fabric before Christmas.....).

First is Marilla Walker's free Sailors Top, available to download from here. It's a very simple square tee (or can be extended into a dress), one size, with some interesting neckline and sleeve gusset details. I ended up leaving the sleeves and sleeve gussets off - I just couldn't get mine to look as nice as Marilla's, and in the end realised the sleeveless version would be more suited to the Australian summer anyway.


The fabric is a lovely grey marle cotton/lycra blend from Kelani Fabrics (this one, I believe). I had a gamble with this fabric. I don't really like buying knits without seeing them, but hoped at $22/m that the quality would be exceptional. I will have to report back on how it wears, but it feels lovely, drapes beautifully, washed up well, and was great to sew with. No curling! I was being a tight arse had a bit of a brain fade and only ordered 1/2 metre, which was only just enough for this top. It's meant to be boxy and a little cropped, and I'd prefer a little more length but thats what you get for being a tight arse not thinking things through properly.



So those gussets! Check them out - hot pink! This is the cool detail of Marilla's pattern - the shoulders are created using triangular gussets, and the neckline finished with woven binding for stability. I was a bit concerned I'd feel choked by the high neckline but it's fine.


I love pink and grey together and used neon pink thread as top stitching for a bit of razzle dazzle. I like the kind of 80's look it has. Here's some closeups:


 

My next tee is also made from a free pattern, the Elise Tee from Fine Motor Skills. You can download it from Burdastyle here. There's a lot to like about this pattern. It comes in 3 sizes, and has some nice features - bands to finish the sleeves, a lovely curved hem. I made a straight size small but the length of the large, because I was using some leftover fabric and thats all I could squeeze out of it.


It's described as a cross between a tank and a muscle tee. I do like those little extended sleeve caps - great for preventing over-freckling when you're a pale creature. The scoop neckline is very scooped - no public bend-and-snaps in this top. I found my neck band was a few inches too long - the instructions suggest attaching it in the round but I never do this anymore. Even with a tighter band the back neckline gapes on me quite a lot. The sleeves are finished with fine bands which I really like (and again were too long), but the underarm shape is a bit weird and gapey - which makes installing the bands flat a bit crappy looking. Here's my sexy armpit - you can just see the bulk of the side seam there.


I'm thinking of adapting the Plantain tee to have a similar sleeveless look (but more fitted under the armpit) as I don't think that I will make this exact top again. The centre back seam is only there because I had to piece my leftover fabric together. The gaping could well be partially due to my fabric which is a cotton-linen blend with no lycra.


Next on my list is the asymmetrical scoop tee from Drape Drape 2. My brother very kindly gave me the book for my birthday (how did he know I wonder?) and I can't wait to try it. I've never used a Japanese pattern book before, and love the look of this crazy tee:



It looks great on everyone who's made it.

I'm clearly in a drapey gathery mood, as I also love these - the Kimono Tee by In House Patterns (thanks Lara for introducing me - love your stripey version!) and the Burda Style Draped Tee
 

The In House tee is drafted for a D cup, which I am very much not, so I might try the Burdastyle tee first, without the drawstring and maybe without the sleeve bands.....

And finally I could be tempted by the Style Arc Rowe Top - it has a few more interesting style lines than the average raglan tee:


Are you into DIY tees? Or would you rather save your precious sewing time for something more involved? What's your favourite tee pattern?

Comments

  1. Oh, I love your colour combo! I think this looks great sleeveless and (if I'm honest) never occurred to me. Shame about the sleeves, but is looks so fab anyway! Thanks for giving it a go! Xxx

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    1. I'm glad you like it! It must be so fab to see your design made up by happy seamstresses! I'll try perfecting the sleeves for next winter! Thanks for the pattern! :)

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  2. I had good luck adapting the plantain to a sleeveless tee. And I like seeing some of the other free patterns made up for comparison. The grey & pink is a great combo!

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    1. Ooh good to know! I'll definitely do an Elise- Plantain mashup then.

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  3. The 80's look is pretty cool!
    Like you, I don't buy shirts anymore since it's easier and better to sew them myself. And although we're on opposite seasons I've some shirts on my (winter) sewing list, too.

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  4. Great tops! I especially love those little triangle gussets.

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    1. Thanks Debbie - they are very cool. I could see you doing something awesome with little bits of leather instead....

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  5. I really love your Sailor Top! Very '80s but in a cool way! Also interested in that Style Arc pattern. I like the lines. I never look at those patterns because they only give 1 size, and I need all the lines to be there to grade across the sizes for my shape. But this one might sway me.

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    1. Thanks Gail! I kind of feel like it's a top that Ziggy Stardust might have worn. And I think that style arc pattern would be easy to grade - if you went for your shoulder size, then the waist/hips would be pretty easy to change......Chloe at Style Arc is great - if you have any questions regarding sizing they get back to you very quickly.

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  6. Love the Sailor top! The triangle shoulder inserts are such a cool detail. That Drape Drape 2 top looks mental, can't wait to see how it turns out!

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    1. I know - I'm hoping it's very chic and avante gard, and not at all weird looking and like it's off grain!

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  7. I read “… approach summer…” and was already green with envy… Marilla’s tee looks amazing but I will have to wait almost six months to try it... arghhhh. I love the stripes on the second one but there is no competing with the hot pink gussets!

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    1. I know - the gussets are very cool! I'm sure you'll do something amazing with it!

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  8. I love making my own tees. Besides the fact they fit me better than RTW, it's so much cheaper! Especially with all the free patterns out there.

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    1. It sure is! Cheaper, made better, better fitting - it's all good. I also love the Maris Denmark kimono tee - I've made it a million times and it's such a winner!

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  9. These are both so pretty, and I agree with everybody that those hot pink gussets on the sailors top make it really special. I do like to sew tees, they're quick and satisfying to make and they're always more special to me than anything I could have found in the shops.

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    1. I think you've nailed it Sara - even the most basic self sewn tee is more special than something bought!

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  10. I'm a recent convert to DIY tees, and I don't think I'll ever go back to RTW. Why would you, when you can make tees like this! Both of yours look fantastic; the sailor one especially. I love the gussets and the binding - gorgeous! I can definitely recommend the Rowe pattern; it's a great oversized but still shapely tee. Mind you, there's no public bend-and-snaps in that one either...

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    1. Thanks Danielle - good to know about the Rowe - I'll pop over and look at yours again. I wouldn't have thought it looked oversize.......

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    2. I totally forgot about your sequin Rowe - love that top!

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  11. Great tshirts - particularly the marilla walker one. I was admiring it on her Instagram feed! I've got some plain pink jersey & stripey scraps, might just need to give this a go! I'm all for making basics, so satisfying!

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    1. Oh that'd look fab - I think contrasting colours are ideal with the sailor top!

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  12. Love the t-shirts - hurrah for quick makes. The shoulder panels are anreally pretty detail.

    Saw advanced style today, it was every bit as good as you said it was. Thanks for the recommendation!

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed it - it was such fun!

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  13. Oh that sailor top is great! The triangles really make it pop! I have made up the drape drape top for my sister and all the lovely versions out there are making me want to sew it up again! Too many things to sew, not enough time.

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    1. Isn't that the truth! I saw you'd made one before - so sweet to give it to your sister. Very selfless!

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  14. Love the simple v insert on the sailor top. As Kirsty says, it makes it pop!

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  15. Those little triangle inserts are so cool! Thanks for introducing me to a couple of new-to-me patterns... I definitely used to prefer to make the fancy stuff. but lately sewing basics is really appealing to me - I don't exactly know why, or whether it will last!

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    1. Thanks Gabrielle - I say just go where the sewing mojo flow takes you - simple, fancy, it's all good! :)

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  16. Sewing t shirts always feels like too much hard work. I totally know how "easy" they are, but I'm not a fan of sewing with knits. I wish I was, I've loved all your DIY tees and I also hate off grain RTW tees. Hmmm can I be convinced? I love the Marilla Walker tee.

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    1. You know I really only started to nail knit success once I steered away from slippery dodgy viscose knits. Persist my friend and you too will become addicted! This sailor top is very easy especially if you bail out on the sleeves like i did!

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  17. Very cute tops - I've just made the Sailors Top too, but dress length. Now I want to copy your sleeveless top! Love it! Looking forward to seeing what else you make, as always.

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    1. Ooh look forward to it - how'd you go with the gussets I wonder?

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  18. Love the sailors top with no sleeves! The gussets look extra great.

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