Sunday, July 26, 2015

T-shirt perfected: using Jalie 2805

A t-shirt perfected. Maybe not perfect - although it did come out nicely.  I guess I am thinking that in terms of fit and shape, I have perfected this type of t-shirt for me. Mostly due to a bit of redesign on the neckline.

multi t-shirt front on form

and a small delight in the results of the binding on that v-neckline. Which I played around with a lot as I was cutting the pieces. To get that satisfying juxtaposition of stripe and color.  This is perhaps the embodiment of a perfect fabric to me. Graphic, angular, predominantly blue, aqua, white. with a touch of black to make it wearable with a lot of other separates. It might seem to bright for many but you know my love for vivid prints. PLUS it was on the half-off shelf at Stone Mountain recently so a nice quality rayon jersey knit top for about $ 10. Score!

multi t-shirt neckline closeup

Also satisfying, the way the print layout is kinda sorta centered and yet not. Perhaps balanced is the right word?  Or maybe I am reading too much into it. But really - I think that often the success of a final garment is due entirely to some serious thought, concentration and planning when cutting out. There are many times when it actually takes me longer to cut out than sew an item.  And cutting out is my least favorite part of sewing (probably also for most people). Grain - I am a bit of a fanatic. Completely flat - no wrinkles. Pattern placement if a print. For stripes and plaids, checking and double checking. Yeah, all this can be super tedious but pays off in the end.

multi t-shirt back on form

Getting back to t-shirt perfected.  I highly recommend this pattern which is Jalie 2805. If you sew for yourself and other people - such as small people:) then the value in these Jalie patterns is incomparable. All sizes from small kids through women's size. 4 different necklines, including a turtleneck and the instructions for the V-neckline are so simple and yet result in a perfect binding.

Jalie pattern photo)

Also once you get the fit down you can riff on the pattern by changing all kinds of things, neckline width, color blocking, etc.
Which brings me to the changes made. I originally made this pattern back in 2012 (here is a link to that post). And while I really like the original version I wanted the neckline to be a bit more open.
I have this t-shirt which my sis gave me ages ago, from a little boutique in Kailua (Oahu) this is no longer there (sad tears, I bought so many cool things there, t-shirts, swimsuits, sandals and when it closed I was so bummed).  Anyway...the neckline on this v-neck t-shirt is just right for me, not too low but a little lower than the Jalie, a bit wider and slightly rounded.  (note I am not super crazy about the strangely abbreviated sleeves on this t-shirt - and I have another copy in turquoise where the sleeves are a bit more normal shaped). So I decided to copy the neckline of this shirt and apply it to the body of the Jalie top. Because why not? And the Jalie pattern actually facilitates this because the way they fit all the versions on their pattern pages is to separate the tops from the bottoms rather cleverly, so the top portions are interchangeable with the bottom pieces. If you have made a Jalie than you know what I am talking about.
One tiny note about fit: I found the sleeves on the Jalie pattern to be a bit skimpy and I am not particularly broad in the back or arms so to counter that on my chosen Jalie size which I think was U, I added 1/2" width on the back pattern piece at the underarm tapering that away by about 4 inches down. and then added 1/2" extra on the sleeve back to match which alleviated that tightness at the back/underarm area. Like any pattern it needs fitting but once you get it squared away it is a workhorse.

original neckline tee

How to copy the neckline? Here is a picture I have that shows a quick and easy method. I think I used this photo on a Craftsy blog post. Wax paper is such a great tracing medium for things that are flat like a t-shirt and you cannot beat the see-through-ability of it.


So that's the scoop on V-neckline t-shirts. Also the neckline binding - I have to admit that I don't use any of the pattern pieces. I just decide on the finished width I want, cut the binding on the cross grain of the knit fabric, fold, press and then baste it on. Yes - I said baste. Machine baste. One of these days I will have to do a post in praise of basting.  Which I don't often see mentioned on sewing blogs but I baste a lot. How else can you check fit and adjust? Or maybe its just that no one mentions it. But I think the former - not done and you should try it :)
Back to the t-shirt neckline, I use the Threads Magazine video method. I have linked to this before and if they ever take down this video I will be bummed as it is the best explanation I have seen for this technique. Plus no pattern piece required!

Realizing I had no photo of me wearing this t-shirt I took this one using the timer feature on my iPhone. Which actually works pretty well. Even though this is kind of a dorky photo. And you can see my bookcase with that big fat copy of Wolf Hall with the red dust cover - probably the current number one "not read" book on many bookshelves. I bought that hardcover at the library $1 sale so low investment and I since I read stuff like that when traveling a gigantic hardcover book is never going to make it into my travel bag. What was I thinking? Oh well. Save it for a rainy day. (ha ha, rainy days are for sewing!)  And I am wearing my Vogue 1170 Rachel Comey skirt in green corduroy.  Which has turned out to be a better wardrobe mix-and-matcher than I would have predicted. (also the black dotted version - nice to wear with a solid top)

multi t-shirt on me

Summer sewing in full swing, I am just finishing a dress for Heather using her first Mood fabric (pattern is Vogue 8787, a really nice pattern that is for wovens but I have made the cowl version in knit twice and it is great,  blog post and pics to come with some fitting info).
And some summer and pre-vacation sewing for me. The usual collection of slightly ridiculous tropical prints...hey whatever makes you happy, sewing-wise, right?

Happy summer weekend, Beth

Today's SunnyGal garden photo, these are miniature roses and this plant receives no attention but like most of my roses keeps on blooming.

June flowers


  1. That's a great looking tee and I love that fabric !!

  2. I like your choice of fabric, and it does look like a perfect neckline! Thanks for the threads link. It is slightly different than the method I use, so I will give it a try with my next knit top.

  3. Very nice, great ideas on the t-shirt. Love the fabric!
    See me at

  4. What a score to get that fabric for half off! I noticed it at full and just couldn't... You have done it real justice with the careful print placement! Great looking t-shirt.

  5. You are right: That's the perfect print! I'm always hearing nice things about Jalie patterns, very tempring! I'll have to watch that video because my neck bindings in T-shirt never look as profesional as that...oh! And basting! Yes, me too!!! I never see it as a waist of time.
    I'm writing from my phone, very tricky and time consuming so I better tell you here how much I love your version of the Alameda dress. Adorable!!

  6. Gorgeous fabric and perfect placement!! I love it! I'm fairly new to sewing and haven't even heard of Jalie patterns; now I have to go looking! You mentioned that they're great when sewing for small people; what about us average (size 12 for store-bought clothes) people?

    1. Hi Lisa - I should have been more clear :) the Jalie patterns are nice because the contain a full size range from children to adults in one pattern, so quite a good value. (so that's what I meant by small people) as for average size people, they are great and have all the sizes so you can blend from one size to another.

  7. Such a nice top, and great application of the print to the binding. Your fabric is so interesting, looks wonderful.

  8. That is a perfect t-shirt looks great.

  9. You're right, the T-shirt is certainly perfected. I love the neckline! Beth, your thoughts on cutting, basting, fitting, tracing, etc... I have to say that mine are exactly same as yours.

  10. Love your Top... the print is stunning. and Thanks for the tracing technique... awesome.

  11. The neckline is indeed very flattering!

  12. I just read your notes about adding 1/2" at the back underarm and again at the back sleeve.

    Can I just say how much I love you? I had the same issues sewing up just about any Jalie I've tried. Thank you!!