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t-shirt pattern

Klara | Posted in Patterns on

Can anyone recommend a t-shirt pattern that fits well? I could use some darts (since I am full busted), and I don’t want it to be too loose – I don’t want to look dowdy.

Thanks for your help – Klara


  1. dotty | | #1

    I just finished a Pamela's Patterns Perfect T. I altered it into a tank top, so I made the armholes higher. I did do a little other tinkering, but much less than usual . I now have a pattern that is definitly a keeper. I like the neckline variations in it . There have been earlier discussions about darts in knits . The piece of advice that worked brilliantly for me was to sew the dart with tear away stabilizer undeneath. This prevents the dart from stretching into a wonky mess.

    1. Crazy K | | #7

      I'm glad to hear some feedback on the Pamela's T pattern.  I just got one but haven't had a chance to sew anything with it.  I have a small frame with lots of 'fluff' (doesn't that sound better than 'fat'?), am full-busted and short-waisted.  A fitting nightmare now with the extra pounds!!  Anyway, that pattern sounded like something that would work better than some of the others.  I have many Kwik-Sew and some work fairly well......others not so great.

      Now I am eager to find some time to get started with it!  Thanks!


    2. Jean | | #21

      I have a ton of tshirts that are now way too big for me. I sent for Pamela's pattern that tells how to remake them to fit.

      If it works, I'll have a whole new summer wardrobe of T's.

      Keeping my fingers crossed. Thanks for the link.

  2. Jenster | | #2

    Klara, I just made a T from Stretch & Sew #1500 and it came out wonderfully. I am large-busted but small-framed and it fits me great around the chest but tapers nicely around the waistline. There are no darts in the pattern, though. Here is a link: http://www.stretch-and-sew.com/1500.htmGood luck!

  3. MargieT | | #3

    Try Sandra Betzina's pattern in Vogue - V8151.  I haven't made it yet [on my to do list]  but it did get excellent reviews in patternreview.com.  It does come with optional darts.

  4. fabricholic | | #4

    Nancy's Notions is advertising a pattern called The Perfect T-Shirt by Pamela's Patterns.MarcyOops, I see Dotty has already mentioned this pattern.

    Edited 4/15/2007 10:00 pm by fabricholic

  5. user-51823 | | #5

    definitely best to avoid adding darts to a t-shirt. i hope the abovementioned patterns work for you, or you can slash and pivot them 'til they do.

    1. Cathie | | #6

      Hi, I'm full busted, and love T's. I loved the idea someone gave about the tear-away stabilizer under T darts. I am almost done making a Quik Sew T, with long sleeves. The shoulders are a bit too wide, So, I think I can pear away a bit, before I add the sleeves. I used tips from Marcy T.'s Threads' T article, available online, and very good. I am very perplexed about the pivot thing. I do not have book stores near me, and was just giving myself a headache reading about pivot and full bust for bodice FBA. I have this info in a French sewing book from the 1970's, and really don't understand it Please, can anyone give a simple explanation of this technique? Eternally grateful!!!!!

      1. solosmocker | | #10

        Cathie, I use the pivot and slide method all the time and have tried many other types of fit adjustment. Its my favorite. If you have purchased your pattern by your high bust measurement you are on your way. Here goes:Check the bust, not high bust, measurement for your pattern size. Let's say you have a 42 inch bust and and the bust measurement on the pattern is 40 inches. This means you need 2 additional inches for this to fit properly. On a basic T shirt you will have 4 seam edges, two at each side. Divide the needed inches by the number of seams, 4. This gives you a half inch needed to be added to each of those seams to fit the bust correctly. So far so good?Take your bodice front pattern and lay it on either some interfacing, wax paper, or something you can use for your new pattern piece. Trace all around the pattern as it is. Use one color marker, say red, to do this. With that done, stick a pin in the left side of the shoulder seam, in other words, the side going away from the center front. We have established that you need to add a half inch to each edge. At the bottom of the armhole, as in top of the side seam, make a mark with a different color marker the half inch distance away from the edge of the pattern. Again, the only pin being used is pushed strait down at the left of the shoulder SEAM, 5/8 inch in and 5/8 inch down. In other words where the SEAMLINES, NOT PATTERN EDGE, intersect. Now move your pattern piece to the left, as in pivot from the pin, the amount of additional width needed. This would be to the mark you made in a different color. Put a pin in the intersecting seam at the bottom of the armhole, just like you did at the shoulder, strait down. Take your second colored marker and retrace your armhole. Start at the shoulder and trace the edge down to the side seam. Now take your shoulder pin out and leave the bottom armhole pin in. Pivot the pattern piece back to the the original hipline edge which you have in the original color marker. Trace the side seam now with the second color. Take out all pins and put the pattern piece back into its original tracing line. You will now see by looking at the second colored marker line that you have maintained the same size for your armhole(very important) but have a new line to accomadate your fuller bust. You will have to true the bottom edge some. This usually adds some length to the bodice which is needed. You can use the entire new pattern tracing or just tape a piece of it to the original. Either way you have made room for your bust and still have a good fit on the neck, shoulders and armhole. You will do the exact same process to the BACK bodice piece. This is if you just need to accommodate a fuller bust, not any other fit issues. In my case, I am slender in the back but have a fuller bust, so I only do the addition on the bodice fronts, which means I only divide by 2 to get the measurement I need to add to accommodate my bust. If you need any further info on this subject, "Fitting Finesse" by Nancy Zieman goes into this in great detail. It is a great go to book for fitting issues with fairly simple solutions. If this FBA, or full bust alteration, works for you, you can now automatically do this same thing to any pattern by that particular company. After a while you do it without even thinking and it works great. Good luck with your T shirt and keep us posted on how it goes.

        Edited 5/31/2007 9:51 am ET by solosmocker

        1. MargieT | | #13

          Thank you for the excellent explanation.

        2. Cathie | | #14

          Thanks so very much for your long and carefully explained letter. This does make sense now. I really appreciate it, and I am sure a lot of other ladies do too. This really help us on our way to well fitting clothes (Goodbye bad fit, and that means RTW, and what we sew without pattern changes)!!!!!!! Thanks so very much!

          1. solosmocker | | #15

            It was my pleasure!

  6. kathleen1304 | | #8

    I'd vote for Pamelas Perfect T also. I am apple shaped and full busted with some forward neck stuff going on. I chose my size by high bust. My wearable muslin fit perfectly. Even the dart. If you are younger and actually have a waist, this may not be the pattern for you. I plan to make it again.

  7. User avater
    Aless | | #9

    I have to give a thumbs down to the T-shirt in Connie Crawford's new pattern in Butterick(the one with the jacket,T and pants). The fit through the shoulders is great but the sleeve head is  totally off for my shape(there is a lot of ease in the back part-I had to wriggle most of it out before it fitted without a big bubble back there).The sleeves themselves are too big.There is no dart, and the body is cut to swing out(trapeze style) at the hem.The latter is most unflattering on me. The only thing that would save it (I did a trial run first,thank goodness) is most definitely a dart (well, 2....  :-)))   ) and the side seams being cut almost straight down. I cut a 1X and everything except the shoulders is too big. I am a 22(top)-26(hip) in the Big4 and have a D cup.

    I am very disappointed with the result, as I ordered this pattern from the States as it is not available here in Australia yet, and was very keen to try it. I'm going to see if I can use the shoulder and neckline fit with another pattern, probably the Vogue 8151 T-shirt.

    1. kathleen1304 | | #11

      Thanks, Aless. You've saved me some money.

      1. sewfar | | #12

        Threads #65, July 1996 has a very good article by Marcy Tilton called  "What Makes a $200 T-Shirt".   It has been invaluable in helping me with fit and finish.  Check out the hem.

    2. ctirish | | #17

      Hi. Kenneth King was on a TV show the other day and he was explaining how to have the perfect sleeve fit. He said to measure the length of the sleeve around the top and then to measure the same on the front or side pattern. There is always a difference which is what you are supposed to ease in when sewing. He said if the difference is greater than 1.6 inches than to reduce it to 1.5 or less. He doesn't;t think you can ease in more than that and not have puckers show up at some point in the life of the garment. He reduces it by cutting the sleeve down the center almost to the end. At the very end he leaves a little piece to hold it while he swivels the top. He brings the tops together until the measurement is what he wants. It looked easy - of course it always does when they do it. I can't help with your other problems, but Good luck. Maybe when you are done you will love the new pattern. Experiment it can't hurt anything.jane

      1. Klara | | #19

        I'll give it a whirl. Like you said, you won't know until you try it and it might just make a huge difference in fit.

        Thank you for your response.


  8. ctirish | | #16

    I love Pamela's Patterns T-shirt. I am short waisted with a full bust and they fit wonderfully. I took a class with her on them and I was amazed I needed the small pattern. But it fit perfectly and she has what she calls an essence of waist in there. A little curve you don't see in T-shirts. I have a stack of material waiting for me to decide about necklines before I start laying out and cutting.

    A couple things to remember when putting darts or seams in knits. Never iron the dart or seam - this will immediately give you the seam line on the fabric. Just steam the dart and seam from about one inch away. I vaguely remember another way - something about putting a towel between the dart or seam and the front fashion fabric. If anyone has more info on that choice please fill in any blanks.

    1. Klara | | #18

      Thank you for your response - I will try Pamela's Patterns for a good fit.

      Also, thank you for the reminders about pressing darts. I haven't sewn in a while, so I tend to have forgotten some things.

      I also have a stack ready to be sewn into t-shirts. Now I can do it!


    2. Crazy K | | #20

      Oh, good!  More positive remarks on the t-shirt pattern.  I really must get hopping here.  I, too, have lots of knits just begging to be used.  I have kids to sew for but I think its time for me!!

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