I have said it more than once and I know others agree with me. "I can't be bothered to make a tee shirt that I can pick up for 3 dollars at WalMart." The truth is I extremely rarely buy a tee shirt and rarely shop at WM. I have tons of tee shirts. I used them as underlayer foils against the cold when I worked and they all have some sort of text or logo on them. They are the tee shirts that are "affiliated". I hide the affiliations under layers or wear them in the garden in the summer.
I recently watched several youtubers looking for well fitting tees. One really appealed because it was not skin tight and it still showed a women's shape. No boxiness here! I thought I might have the pattern in my stash and I did. Before this I had been thinking maybe I should get on the tee wagon and search out a great pattern, one that I could whip out over and over, one that did not have letters on it, one I could actually wear to a friend's for a glass of wine. I was currently looking for my next project and this sounded like a good one --- finding the Holy Tee!
I dug out the pattern that I remembered the youtuber used, even if I couldn't find it on Youtube again. I looked up reviews and got to work. Here is my review:
This is McCall's 6964, an oldie but a goodie. My envelope says 2014. The interesting thing is that this pattern has actually been re-issued by Something Delightful (???) as Butterick 6848. Who knew?? Hopefully the directions have been updated as well. It has several neckline styles and a tank version as well. The tank version uses the exact same armscye as the tee shirt. Hmmmmm..... I chose View C, 3/4 length sleeves, my fave, and a rounded out neckline.
I like to follow a pattern pretty closely the first time I use it. This made for an interesting ride. Open it up and there were 7 pages, to be expected but not quite fitting with the "easy" description on the front. It is all about fitting and I can see this blowing away a newbie but they might not get their hands on this OOP number anyway.
The first page starts with the classic pics of views then one column with a small blurb about creative ideas and more on "tips for knits". One tip was to stabilize the shoulder seams. I thought this would have been more appropriate on page five where you actually sew the shoulder seam. This pattern broke a lot of knit rules for me. I expected more finesse from such an acclaimed sewing expert. No stabilization of neckline, shoulders or armscye was shown. The side seams were stitched closed before the neckband was put on, which drove me nuts and I also thought a bit unusual. I get that you baste the side seams to check fit but I would have pin fitted as I have done with my current tee project. I soldiered on. The sleeves were installed in the round "for better fit." You know me. I am a traditional sewist. I am a total round sleeve type sewist, but not for knits, people! It's a knit tee shirt. So there was that making the simple tee more complicated as well. Then the final clinker was, and we are sewing with knits here that don't ravel, right? The final clinker was turning the hem under a 1/4 inch on the raw edge of the hem and then stitching. Really? Knits only are specified on the pattern. Every step of the way this garment was made more complicated than need be and that did not include any of the fitting instructions.
Now for the fitting. There is a lovely shape to the side seam and that is what makes this garment work. That is why the youtuber loved the pattern. If you have followed me a long time you know I am not a fan of negative ease. I cut wide seam allowances here and petited the pattern to make it work for me. I've lost a few pounds lately (unintentional) and there is more ease on me than what you see on the form, just a bit but it is exactly how I like it. The shoulders fit great on me. On the dressform, the nature of dressforms, the sewn shoulders don't seem wide enough. They are. I was concerned about the bust in this pattern. I usually do an FBA for a C cup. With the weight loss I did not need one but I read through the pattern to see what to do before I measured myself for my own needs. If I needed that C cup, I had to add a dart!!!! Really??? This is a knit tee shirt. Anything higher than a B cup is suggested to add a dart and the pattern shows how, a complicated process for any newbie on their own. If I needed that FBA I would have just done a cheater version bumping out the sides and easing it into the side seam, done.
My fabric is a lyocell jersey with a bit of spandex. It is in a color that does nothing for me but will go with several things I own and I can make it a more flattering piece with a scarf or jacket on top.
Well, you can tell from the pattern instructions that I would have gone about the construction very differently. I would have taped the neckline with a fusible tricot tape. I would have used a more traditional knit method of construction, leaving the sides open until the neckline and sleeves were installed. I would never have turned a knit under a 1/4 inch at the raw edge of the hem, choosing instead to just trim back to the stitching line, which I did.
I think this pattern could really flummox a beginner sewist. However, due to the really nice shape of it I would recommend it to those who are experienced with knit sewing and can follow their own method of construction. I also recommend it to those who prefer a top without negative ease. This skims and nicely. In the end, I like the look of my top and the shape. I did not like the pattern instructions at all. I do hope the second generation re-issue by Butterick is more user friendly in it's directions and has a bit more finesse in it's directions for sewing and fitting knits.
I have already started another tee, another pattern and will have that review soon. It is beautiful black knit I had in my stash and I am loving it. Above are a couple more knits that might make the tee project as well. Heavens, this last pattern bugged me. The current one is delightful, actually, Something Delightful, ha ha ha!!............Bunny