Sewing Vloggers

Sunday, August 1, 2021

I've changed my mind!


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. 

In Conclusion:

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


  1. Thank you for this comprehensive review. I can’t wait to hear more about your current t shirt!

    1. Its a tee shirt but a very different take. So far I am really liking it. I have watched some videos from Pam Legett and Sara Veblen and they have helped polish my skills a bit, I hope. I am enjoying the second make. There will be more.

  2. It's life changing to have a TNT t-shirt pattern. Mine is Silhouette Patterns #195, because I am a fan of negative ease. It has French darts. I resisted a darted tee forever because I, too, felt that "it's just a t-shirt," but, wow, the fit I get with them is pretty fantastic. I've blogged about it and also reviewed it on Pattern Review.

    1. What is your blog name? I will have to check that out. Initially I was a big fan of Peggy Sagers but have had some letdowns but whatever works for anyone is fine with me. I was very disappointed in her patterns but very impressed with her creativity and I watch her videos. Thanks for your input.

  3. Could not agree more with you on modern construction--some patterns just need to get with the times. If you haven't tried Deer and Doe's Plantain, it's drafted for C cup and is just a lovely sew. I'm also a fan of the Ladies Fun Tee from Sew by Pattern Pieces--if I had to have only one knit top pattern, this would be it.

    1. Thanks for the suggestion. I will check them both out. I know the Plantain gets a lot of raves.

  4. What a great T shirt ! I agree with your ideas of construction for T shirts, why o why make it a difficult sew? I have sewn nothing but quilts for the past 16 years, so as to ease myself back into garment sewing I did sew the same T shirt as you, but I did put in the dart, and was most surprised to end up with a T shirt that was 3 inches too short for the back! No adjustment for the back was made, no note in the directions to do this to allow for the dart. I had to take it out. I put the sleeves in the round, they did not fit in well this way. I was disappointed with the pattern .

  5. Replies
    1. Thank you. I did take out one inch more than the pattern piece was cut for. I think I could have gone even another half inch more as I steamed it a lot as well. I guess we all do. On my next tee I am using some hints from Sara Veblen and VERY happy. Spot on.

  6. I always love your work and your posts, thank you for this one! I have sewed garments for a long time, but you always inspire me to improve my skills and push this wonderful art and craft to the next level. I have spent some time recently working on my basic t pattern, which I think began a long time ago as Vogue 8536. Through much experimentation and many test garments I have developed a loose fitting version with a one piece back and a close fitting version with a center back seam, as well as short, elbow-length, and full length sleeves for each version. My goal this time around was to simplify the close fitting one even further so that it fits the way I want with raw edges at neck and hems. Without a neck binding, this means the neck shape can vary a lot depending on the stretch factor of the knit, and there can be a bit of rolling at the hems but I don't mind that. Also, I adjust the top of the sleeve to account for the stretch factor of the knit (higher for a more stable knit, lower for a more stretchy one). The latest one was successful and I'm going to make a few more out of the EXACT SAME FABRIC FROM THE SAME SUPPLIER. We shall see if that works! And then I'll try a different kind of knit! Thank you again for sharing your sewing work and so many other important things about your life here. I hope you are doing well.

    1. I am doing so much better. I am back to living my life and doing all that I love. I had some great people helping me get better and life is good. Thank you for asking. I love hearing about your tee shirt quest. I feel I want to be on the same. My #2 has been interesting as well but in a much different way than #1. It is a journey, isn't it? Thank you for coming along on mine. I really appreciate your kind thoughts and hearing about your experiences.


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