A tee seems so basic… but there are just so many styles! For the past couple of seasons, I’ve found myself reflecting on what silhouette of tee I want to sew and wear. Classic, drapey, or boxy? High neckline or scoop? Long, super long, or medium-short? There’s the matter of style, but also what is flattering… and I find my mind changes on that one quite often!
To help me process my thoughts and plan for spring, here are some of the t-shirt patterns I’ve sewn in the past:
On the left is my first ever project with knits, from 2012!
The original! As far back as September 2013, I’d already sewn 15 versions. (*cough* that’s how a knit obsessive was born *cough*). Looking at the pics, there are some definite fit issues… but truly, that doesn’t bother me with t-shirts. Renfew is such a classic pattern, and I do love it. I couple of those 2013 versions are still in rotation – particularly a swingy navy striped tank version that I hacked. I still wear my 2015 Jungle January Renfrew too – I’m a sucker for big cosy cowls in winter!
Proof that my colour palette has changed much in 3 years! Just last week I donated the top and skirt shown on the left – hope they get new life with someone else.
Maria Denmark Kirsten Kimono Tee
I made a million of these back in the day! Only one is really still in rotation (which has now been cropped to wear over sundresses) It’s a great free pattern that uses very little fabric. I haven’t made many in the past two years, but I do enjoy wearing the blue dress version from last fall! My sister likes this pattern, so I just might be sewing it soon.
Deer and Doe Plantain
This pattern was a smash hit when it was released, and I think it’s a good shape for a rayon fabric. It’s swingy enough that fabric doesn’t cling. I go back and forth on how flattering I think it is though! The navy top above is an annoying smidge too short, and the red and white bamboo stripe is a pj top now… but I still love wearing the Cat Lady cowl version I made in 2014 and the super swingy tanks that I made last summer by adding extra volume to Plantain! (Oh yeah, and I wear this cropped knotted-hem version in the summer.)
I loved this pattern SO MUCH last winter… but somehow I’m loving those tops less this year. The only think that’s changed is my tastes, I suppose, because I’m the same size… but these days the neckline feels a little open (bra straps end up showing!), the shaped side seams give just a bit too much fullness at the hips, and the shorter t-shirt length I enjoyed playing with last year just annoys me now! I still wear a couple of them now (like this stripe and lace version from last spring), but some have moved into being pj tops, like the coral stripe version above.
Maria Denmark Olivia Oversized Tee
This pattern either makes me feel fabulous or frumpy, and I’m not sure why! I still wear both versions pictures above. I love the print on the feather one, though I feel it’s a bit pastel for me and I wish it were a hint longer… and I wear the Drape Drape hack regularly, even though the neckline binding is annoyingly floppy. I LOVE the Winter Comino dress I made using this tee as the bodice. I’ll probably give this pattern another go this spring if I can find the optimal drapey knit!
Would you believe I lost this t-shirt? I’ve been looking for it for a few months, and I can’t figure out where it’s gone. From the start, I wasn’t sure it was flattering (makes my sloping shoulders look extra round, I think) but I like the concept of a trendy boxy tee with dropped shoulders. I’d still wear it if I could track it down!
Jalie Dolman Top
Very similar to Hemlock, but with a bit some shaping and multiple sizes. Again, I wasn’t sold initially but I’ve worn this top a ton this winter. I’ll definitely be making another one in spring colours!
Kitschy Koo Comino Cap
I almost forgot this one, but it’s actually a solid little pattern. I’ve made the dress version many times, but I’ve only made the tee twice. Time to make more! It works well with relatively stable knits, whereas I like the Kristen Kimono tee is better for drapey knits. (Case in point: this hideous Kristen kimono tee I made this Christmas in stiff Laguna jersey!)
Can you help me decide which t-shirt patterns I should make for spring? What’s the magical combination of trendy and flattering? I’m open to new patterns, too, if you see a hole in my t-shirt wardrobe – What are your favourite patterns?
PS. After scheduling this post last night, I wandered into my sewing room and cut
two four tees without overthinking it! I guess writing out this post really helped. From left to right: a Comino Cap in a sketchy circle print leftover from a dress, a Kristen Kimono tee in a black and white heart print, a leopard Jalie Dolman, and a Plantain in a jersey with little scalloped stripes! All black, white, and/or grey… Shall I do a comparison follow-up post once they are sewn?