A Tale of Two T-Shirts

What a week-I actually completed 2 t-shirts in just a few days! One was a “remodel” of an existing t-shirt and the other I started from scratch. Considering that I have Fear Of Knits, that is quite an accomplishment. My church is going to have an  area-wide service day where we all go out to various projects in the community and work at whatever needs to be done. We are going to wear t-shirts to identify ourselves. I decided I am just too cool to wear a plain unisex t-shirt, so I made mine over using the “T-Shirt Makeover” by Pamela’s Patterns. The whole process took me exactly 68 minutes, not that I was keeping track or anything…First I cut off the sleeves and then cut out the pattern of the body.After attaching the sleeves, I sewed the side seams and underarm in one seam. Double needle a hem and  you are done! It’s almost cute on me now! My clothing group that I co-lead for American Sewing Guild is going to learn how to sew a “couture t” next month. We have selected a pattern and I decided to sew one up first as a muslin. Then I will be able to see the difference that the couture elements will add to the t-shirt.

We’re working with Christine Jonson’s “Shirred T” pattern. I frequent a great fabric shop, Mostly Natural, and the proprietor, Lenore, carries the CJ line of patterns. Lenore also makes up samples of most of the patterns so that you can try them on-is that not the coolest thing?

Fortunately she had made up the Shirred T in my size and I was able to try it on and see that it fit me well. Except, the neckline was obscene on my figure so I raised the neckline about 2″ and that was the only alteration.
I’m actually pretty pleased with the muslin and intend to wear it. I purchased the rib knit at JoAnn’s and it behaved pretty well. Probably the only change I will make is to dip the neckline back down just a bit, maybe 1/2″, otherwise I am please with the fit.

Who knew that I could actually work 2 knit projects in a few days?


  1. says

    I’m just really impressed with anyone who still sews clothing! And does it well. I am so immersed in quilting that I don’t care if I EVER make another piece of clothing, let alone alter and fit something as well as you do. Way to go!

    • jennyklyon says

      I’m not a pro at clothing….yet! The older I get, the more “out of standard” my body gets and it’s just hard to get good fit in ready made clothing.

  2. Laura R says

    Thanks for the info, Jenny. I’m getting a men’s L t-shirt from the school, and I’m going to change it up. I may order that pattern, or make one up. Your Shirred T is nicely fitted!

  3. Marcia says

    Unisex T is so not you! Good save. Please bring that makeover pattern to our ASG group so we can see how it works.

    I have my pattern for the Coutour T and will try getting a fitting muslin together before the meeting due to your inspiration. Wonder if slinky knit will work for this pattern. I seem to have a bunch in my stash. Now to overcome my hesitation with slinky knit. ^_^

    • jennyklyon says

      Hi Marcia; Thanks for the comment. I do think the slinky would be fab in this pattern-ask C. Jay or Lenore-it’s a close fit and I don’t know what the slinky will do in that. I’m sooo knit challenged! You have slinky in your tiny little stash???! Who knew! J

  4. says

    What a difference you worked on the Service T! I remember when I used to work trade shows, the unisex shirts were like sack dresses on me :-) Could have used your 68 minute method then. Love the look of the Shirred T.

  5. says

    I don’t sew clothing anymore, but your 68 minute makover is a temptation! I’m going to have a look at Pamela’s pattern. Belonging to a clothing group actually sounds like fun! I’d be more inclined to sew clothing, knowing I am sharing the acivity with friends.

  6. jennyklyon says

    I have found Am Sewing Guild to be great-there are all kinds of interest groups. In our clothes fitting group, we’re all in the same boat: we sew some of our own clothing because ready-to-wear just does not fit! I have seen some amazing transformations that happen when the garment fits: 10 lbs and 10 years younger-at least!

  7. says

    I’m curious about the couture T-shirt thing you mentioned, as well as the alterations you describe above. My problem with readymade T-shirts is that they only come S, M, L, XL and I need a size Medium, Tall, Full Bust. I usually will buy a large, but it still pulls across the boobage with horizontal wrinkles, there’s way too much fabric in the upper chest and the neckline gapes from being too large up there, and the hem of the shirt is too short in front. I have bought T shirt patterns hoping to make my own, but the patterns are drafted for B or C cups, not D or DD and although I’ve read tutorials about how to do the mystical Full Bust Adjustment, I feel like I need someone to help me with this in person. I’ve made two garments for myself, both times I tried so hard to get the fit perfect and spent hours and hours, only to donate the first disaster immediately to Goodwill and relegate the second dress to the back of my closet after one wearing (FBA botched yet AGAIN)! It’s maddening because I don’t know what I’m doing wrong. How did you find your clothes fitting group, Jenny?

    • Marcia says

      Rebecca, if you are anywhere near Cameron Park CA and are available on the 1st Thurs of the month, come as a guest to our ASG meeting. We just try to help each other resolve fitting issue. The meeting details are on our website http://www.goldcountryasg.org in the Neighborhood Groups tab.

  8. jennyklyon says

    So many of us have problems with ready made clothing-you’re not alone! You might want to try the pattern I used and cut the shoulders in a medium, the bust in a large, the rest medium and check the length for what you want. I don’t know if that will work for you but get a cheap men’s t and try.

    Try this: when you use a pattern, cut the shoulders for your upper bust size-the size you are under your arms. The rest of the pattern will seem impossibly small, espec the bust, but don’t panic! Make the full bust adjustment and you are going to get a better fit. In our group we have discovered that is the secret to good fit for larger busted women-the shoulders need to be “small”, adjust the bust and you’re on your way to good fit.

    I am a member of Am Sewing Guild (http://www.asg.org/) and it is the best group! It is for sewists of all types and there are small groups for whatever interests abound in your area: quilting, knitting, beading, clothing, art quilts, etc. In my guild, the clothing fit group is a vibrant group with several expert fitters. You need a fitting buddy to fit you-hard to do on your own. Once you get a top that fits and pants/skirt that fit, you know how to alter most patterns to get good fit and you are on your way!

    There are several great books out there: Fit For Real People is a great one.

    Good luck! Write me privately if I can help.

  9. says

    A makeover like that would take me more like 68 hours (giggles) … I love to see how easy you make it seem though :) Have a nice day Jenny!

  10. jennyklyon says

    Honest to goodness you can make this so fast. Cut off the arms, fold the body in half, plop down the pattern and cut. Do the same on the arms. Sew the arms to the body, then the long seam down each side. Hem. Done. Really, the 68 minutes included finding the pattern….

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