Easy t-shirt modification
June 13, 2012
If you have one great t-shirt pattern than what more could you ask for. Well, maybe not a whole closet of the same shirt in different colors. Perhaps you would like the same fit but with a different sleeve, neckline or any other added detail to keep you on trend. So you scour the net or pattern books for just the right look and hope that that pattern fits just the way you like. Umm, nope, let's not do that and make out own instead. If you have a great fitting tee than you have the basics to get started. Making modifications is easy and you only need a few tools to get it done.
Tools you will need:
Big paper- This is to draw your new pattern on and make notes as you go. I use a huge roll of newspaper print that you can ask your local paper for the end rolls. My mom uses rolls of painters' paper or you can use a roll of freezer paper.
French Curve- This is a set of weirdly shaped measuring devices that can help you make graceful and appropriate curves that are great for necklines, hems and hip lines among others. If you don't have a set then you can easily use household finds like plates, knives (the edges often feature soft curves just be careful) oval or round frames or you can print an image from the web and adjust the size.
Clear quilting ruler- this will help you extend sleeve lines, hem line or width of your pattern.
To make a shirt like mine, I choose a well fitting front pattern piece from a crew neck tank (I used our free pattern download HotPatterns Flutterby Tank) that I had previously modified into a deep V-neck with attached capped sleeves. Since I was only modifying the top I decided to only add paper to the top part of the pattern to save paper and hassle. I traced the pattern line I wanted to keep and added my new lines. I made a more modest v-neck and added some slim kimono sleeves (attached, not set in). To make a nice v-neck, always make the v-neck narrower than you think. Remember that you are creating a pattern piece on the fold, so it will be twice as wide as it looks and you will probably be adding some neck trim so that will make it even wider. Too wide V-necks can slide off your shoulders and expose bra straps. A proper v-neck is also slightly curved toward the tip of the 'v' so using the French curve really helps obtain that gentle slope. I added 4 in. to my arm holes to get a nice, slightly fluttery kimono sleeve. Then I cut out my new pattern piece and matched and taped it over my existing pattern piece. Voila a new t-shirt pattern piece. I opted to use the same pattern piece for the front and back of the shirt to give an interesting back. It turned out really great. I also ended up adding 6 in. to the length, adding elastic to the sides to make it into a maternity shirt for now. After the babe is born I will cut off the extra length and remove the elastic.
If you want to try other changes, I recommend folding your paper in half when you are drawing your modifications so you can open it up to see how it will look or drawing on a muslin so you can see it with drape. Try changing the rotation of the v-neck to make a boat neck, just changing the back neckline of a crewneck for a dramatic and sexy scooped back or changing the length and width of your set in sleeves. Raglans can also be easily modified to make sweatshirts, halter and tank tops. All you need is paper and some imagination (or inspiration from the net).
Check out Holly's Flutterby here and special thanks to her because I borrowed her picture
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