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adventures in t-shirt making (and my new favorite book)

At the Worcester Sewing Expo a few weeks ago, I bought a book called The Beginner's Guide to Dressmaking on impulse, as well as a ton of bamboo knit from Vogue Fabrics. The haul:

How could I pass up an Animal appliqué? 
The book's t-shirt pattern caught my eye because I'm perpetually on the lookout for a decent not-too-fitted, not-too-loose t-shirt with interesting details. (Which is hard to find. As much as I love Alabama Chanin, their fitted tops are a little tight—and the Vogue top I just muslined is enormous.) This one is just drapey enough, with a boatneck and sleeve bands. And only two pattern pieces!

I loved the variations, too.

In fact, the variations on every project (there's an asymmetrical moto jacket, as well as skirts and a shift dress) are pretty great. You can make the dress with or without sleeves and add collars and/or pockets to just about everything.

And I couldn't pass up the fabric; I'm a sucker for stripes and polka dots and thought it might be fun to get a yard or two of each to mix and match. Still working on the fitting, but overall, I like it! I also made a version in navy performance fabric as a wearable muslin.


Navy wearable muslin. I need a haircut.
Red polka dot with striped sleeves

Striped with polka-dot sleeves (neckline not quite cleaned up the way it should be)
You know what I really love about this book? The pattern pieces are so easy to read. Everything is color-coded and the font is huge. The t-shirt pattern is a little hard to see—it's light gray—but, overall, kudos for accessibility!

I'm definitely trying every pattern in this book (except maybe the fishtail skirt pattern—not really my thing).

PR review for posterity:

Pattern Description:

The Beginner's Guide to Dressmaking boatneck t-shirt.

Pattern Sizing: 

1-5 (1 is an extra-small, I'm assuming). I made the 3 based on my measurements.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?


Were the instructions easy to follow?

Yes, mostly. (I'm thrown by any book that instructs you to "machine" instead of "stitch.") It does instruct you to use different seam allowances for each piece, which is a little confusing.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

Love the drapey fit, the boatneck, the sleeve bands, and love that it's only two pattern pieces. TWO!

Dislike the different seam allowances, and I think there might be an error. The overall instructions say to use a 5/8 inch allowance for everything, except 3/8 inch around the armhole. But then they tell you to sew the sleeve bands together using a 3/8 inch allowance. (Which I did, and it worked out fine.)

Fabric Used:

Bamboo knit from Vogue Fabrics in Evanston, IL, purchased at the Worcester Sewing Expo.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

No fitting changes, but I half-assed the seam allowances on the neckline and hem (just turned them up/down till they looked right).

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?



The t-shirt I've been looking for. Will definitely make again!


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