Tee Time

As I frequently do when I want to add a kinda boring basic to my wardrobe, I ordered a bunch of fabric to make a bunch of kinda boring basics instead. I’ve been seeing lots of images of solid tees knotted casually over or tucked into midi-length skirts, and I like the combo, so it was time for tees. I ordered 4 yards of cotton/spandex from Girl Charlee, one each of 4 different colors. The first two – Light Sage and Dark Olive – are now two Tabor t-shirts.

First, Light Sage. This color is hard to photograph – it looks greyer both in my pictures (it was a grey day) and on the website, but it’s mintier in person. I would maybe call it Toothpaste. Why don’t I get to name colors?! Anyway, I sewed a new-to-me Tabor view, view 2 with the drop shoulders finished with cuffs, but with the skinny neckband from view 3. The result is an extremely conventional and unexciting t-shirt that I actually like a lot.

I took longer than necessary fiddling over the neckband, determined to finally sew a v-neck without puckers. Contrary to the directions, I like to start with my needle down in the dead center of the v and then sew a few inches towards the shoulder, before returning to that same starting position and sewing the other side of the v the same way. Then I sew as directed, starting a few inches up from the center, sewing to the middle point, pivoting with the needle down and finally sewing towards the other shoulder. This should guarantee that there isn’t a gap between my stitches at center front. In this particular case, however, it guaranteed that I had to unpick three lines of stitching when I flipped everything right-sides-out and discovered I had clipped too far when releasing the center notch and made a hole.

I unpicked and lowered the point to hide the hole. So my v-neck is an extra ¼” or so deeper than drafted, and I think maybe a little stretched out too, because the mitered end won’t sit flat against my body. But no puckers!

I originally cut the cuffs twice as long so I could fold them. Then I realized they were already designed to be folded once. I basted on one of my extra-long cuffs as an experiment, but quadruple-folding the fabric or even triple-folding a wider cuff resulted in basically a t-shirt Water Wing. And Floaties are for babies!! Actually no, it was just uncomfortable. So these cuffs are exactly as drafted.

My one issue with this tee is the way it tips back. The cuffs are snug enough that the shoulder seam stays in place over my upper arm, but from the shoulder point up it’s like the shirt is trying to hide behind me.

Tucking it in keeps everything situated. Otherwise I have to occasionally tug the v to the appropriate depth.

My second version is a bit more loosey-goosey. This one is Dark Olive

It will perhaps not surprise you to hear I scooped the neck. Less obvious – and actually I forgot until I saw it in my notes – I also extended the circumference of the cuffs to match the circumference of the drop shoulders (in this size, 10, that’s 13.5″ unsewn). It’s pretty low-impact and I don’t have a clear opinion as to whether I prefer the snugger or looser cuff. I’m generally pro-cuff (or any banded finish), though! That’s two fewer hems!

Actually, the only hem on these projects is the bottom hem. I used a straight stitch to topstitch the necklines, and a zig-zag on the bottom hems.

I wouldn’t normally use a straight stitch on a knit but the pattern had plenty of noggin room even before the chop job this one got. I initially put the bottom of the scoop at the point of the v, widened the neckline 2 cm on each side, and freehanded the curve to join them. I sewed everything up to the neckband before trying the shirt on.

I decided the depth of the scoop was fine but that it needed to be wider. I probably should have snuck up on whatever curve I eventually chose, but instead I lopped off another 3 cm each, for a total of 5 cm removed per side. That’s definitely riding the edge of too much! It also meant lowering the back neckline slightly to accommodate a smooth curve, but a trivial amount – ¼” or so.

Anyway, no takebacks! I had already cut an extra-long neckband the same width as the band from the v-neck view, so I trimmed its length to between 80 – 90% percent of the neck opening. Then I quartered the band and the neck, pinned, and sewed. I had measured by eye, but I probably should have measured by math. It’s a little floppy. I’ll tell you what, though: it slides every which way but back. Progress?

Once again, floppy neck and all, it’s a basic, useful tee! These aren’t the kind of projects I lay awake dreaming about, but I sure do wear them. And I guess that’s the point.

See you next time!

Pattern: Sew House Seven Tabor v-neck

Pattern cost: NA

Size: 10/10; widened neck 5 cm and scooped front; lengthened armbands to 13.5″

Supplies: 1 yard of Light Sage Green Solid Cotton Spandex Knit Fabric, $11.68, Girl Charlee; thread from stash/1 yard of Dark Olive Green Solid Cotton Spandex Knit Fabric, $11.68, Girl Charlee; thread, Michael’s, $2.39

Total time: 3 hours/2 hours

Total cost: $11.68/$14.07

10 thoughts on “Tee Time

    1. Ooh I look forward to seeing that! 😀 Also you’ll have plenty of time for (wearing) basics when the wee one is here, why not enjoy whatever you like in the meantime?

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  1. Love, love the t-shirts. You did a great job on them and the colors are so you. As for that wandering shoulder? Looks like a bit of ‘forward shoulder’ adjustment might be needed. Usually caused by rounding of the back. I have the same issue and do a 1/4″ adjustment on all my shoulders. I add 1/4″ to the back piece shoulder area and reduce 1/4″ on the front pieces. Don’t forget to adjust your sleeve pieces too. Once done, a pretty simple adjustment for all garments made in the future. I found out about mine at an ASG conference class several years ago. The instructor did the measuring to determine the amount for me. I am sure there are tons of books and lessons out there on how to do it. Even the ASG website should help.

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    1. Thanks so much! 😁 It sounds like you move the whole seam forward – is there such a thing as moving the neck end forward while leaving the shoulder point the same? Obviously each body is going to require a different fit, but I was just curious if you’d come across something like that! Thanks again for the info!💖

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  2. Very cute! Looks perfect on you…

    Boring Basics are the bones of our wardrobe, the things we wear the most.
    So, sewing them is time well spent.

    With my narrow shoulders, wide hips, long torso and preferred elbow sleeve length – it’s near impossible for me to buy a t-shirt that fits right. So, I’ve pasted together an easy basic t-shirt pattern that fits my body. And now I can knock them out as I need them!

    🙂 Chris

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    1. Thanks so much! And that’s the dream!! I haven’t quite gotten there yet – so many mysterious wrinkles pointing in so many directions – but someday, I hope!

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  3. Ahhh….wish moving the neckline would solve the issue, but no. Remember what causes the issue, which is the back pulling the shirt/blouse/dress backwards. Any clothing item up top will require adjustment. Not that difficult to do. Check You Tube for videos. For some it is a major change, for others (like myself) very minor. As I do 1/4″ only many times I forget to do the sleeve adjustment and find no fitting problem with that. Truly depends on the item and your personal change needed. But, remember this, a small change means you are NOT constantly pulling your top forward and feeling like you are choking in some clothes. So many fitting books will address this for you.

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    1. I’d like to pretend I’m so cool and relaxed that I never iron tee shirts…but I do. 😂 I’ll give it a whirl next time it’s on the board, thanks!

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