Tuesday 27 February 2018

In search of the perfect T-Shirt - Pattern drafting and an approximation (and lots of sheep)

Self drafted T Shirt! Nobody should look this stern with a self drafted shirt full of sheep. I don't know how I managed!

(If you just want the instructions for drafting a t-shirt and not so much talking: Here it is  How to draft Jersey shirt pdf)

And here is the talking:

Because my body is unique, I usually have problems with store-bought clothing:

1. the waist line is too low on me (sort of "on the hip", looks silly), because I am smaller than what standard clothes are made for. (if you want to know more about standard sizes in clothing  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clothing_sizes)

2. I have a comparably small waist  and bust in relation to my hip measurement (compared to standard sizing).

3. My hip point is lower than average.

4.  My shoulder width is rather small.

5. I have a sway back nobody seems to want to have anything to do with

Vogue Patterns calls this gallantly "triangle shape", I think it used to be called pear shape? :)

So, all in all with off-the-rack clothes, they are too long, the waist is in the wrong place and the hip width is too small, so if I wear e.g. a T-Shirt, that fits my upper body, the waistline is just a tad too low and the hips small (even with stretchy fabric) so everything is travelling upwards to the waistline with movement and I end up pulling shirts down all of the time, even if they seem to fit ok at first glance.

To cut a long story short, I decided to draft my own t-shirt pattern.
It is really easy, if you just follow instructions!

There are a lot of  tutorials on youtube, I used this one (in German) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yQ3kdhVyMNM.

The thing you have to know about pattern drafting is this: It will give you a close approximation (probably closer to your body than any of the off the rack clothing is though...) and you have to make the fine tuning with a muslin on your body. Then you transfer the changes to your pattern. If you've made a lot of alterations or big alterations, I recommend making another muslin. Is is a lot of work and a lot of fabric potentially going to waste, but in the end you will have the perfect jersey shirt pattern. Which you will be able to use for all sorts of Jersey shirt variations.

And you will know a lot about you body and clothes fitting.

When you have a pattern finally, bear in mind, that changes to the neckline might need more changes in the upper bodice than just cutting the neckline. Jersey fabric is rather forgiving, but still, everything you change in the fabric might have consequences in fit overall (Dorothy Moore is dedicating a whole chapter on neckline changes... but I will write about that another time)

Also the amount of stretch of the fabric influences the fit (and also the recovery...)!

My first muslin was made from a piece of cotton jersey without much stretch. So I accepted it would be a little tight. There was pulling above the chest towards the armpit. That's the fabric asking for a dart. Hm. And the basic pattern has a very high neckline.

First I cut out the neckline the way I like T-Shirts, which changed the whole appearance of those wrinkles. But they were still there.

I also found the shoulder width was a bit wide, so I reduced it by 1 cm on each side. And changed the paper pattern accordingly.

I also have lots of wrinkling in the lower back, because I have a sway back.

There are several options how to deal with a sway back in knit shirts.
1. Ignore it.
2. Make sure it's not a too small hip width which makes the shirt travel up.
3. Introduce a seamline in the center back. Or two. Or just two darts. Those can take up the excess fabric.
4. You can try to remove about 2-3cms (1inch) just above the waistline on the back pattern and when you assemble the shirt you stretch the side seamline about 10 cm (5inch) around that area. It works sometimes.

Oh, and those wrinkles in the front could  be removed if you introduce a side dart, either to the side seam or to the armhole.

Has anyone else got good ideas to seal with wrinkling and sway back on knit fabric?

I chose to go with option No 1 this time. After transferring all the other changes to the pattern, I made another muslin. This time I used a mad fabric which I bought years ago because I wanted to make shirts for the children from it. It's nice quality stretch jersey (i guess 95% cotton and 5% elasthane) and has a nice weight to it, which I bought in a sale because most people probably found the pattern a bit too busy. I even made a shirt for the children for it, but even on them it is a bit busy. So I had enough left to make this shirt.

I like the fit despite the wrinkling in the back and that little bit of pulling in the front. And there are a lot of sheep on this. A lohohot. I might use it for pyjamas, which makes just the right amount of sheep. I might need pyjama bottoms with dogs now, i suppose.

Sorry for not taking any pictures during the process of making it. I just assembled it.
1. Match shoulder seams. Sew.
2. Insert sleeves, Make sure front part of the sleeve is in the right place.
3. Close sleeve seam and side seam.
4. Insert neckline binding.
5. Hem sleeves and bottom.
6. Iron carefully.

  Here's the resulting pattern and shirt though.

Actually I think the shirt fits better in real life than on this picture.
Less wrinkles around the chest.

see the wrinkles in the back -> not adapted for sway back. I can feel another muslin coming...
(And also quoting The Fast Show: "Does my bum look big in this?")

Below you will also find the description and drawing for drafting this shirt. Don't be put of by the instructions, you'll end up with you own personal shirt pattern.

Enjoy! Bah! Bah! Baaaah!

How to draft your own jersey shirt pdf

If you have questions, leave a comment!

On fitting t-shirts for FBA (I don't really need FBA, but it is interesting anyway and maybe you want to try this out!)


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