A few weeks ago I  reallised, that while I have plenty of dresses to fit me this spring (and I love wearing dresses), I am really lacking basic t-shirts.

Close up of the traced ONION 5035 pattern

Close up of the traced ONION 5035 pattern

You know – I put on some weight on account of the non-smoking thing (actually, yesterday was my 7 month anniversary as a non smoker!), and while most of my t-shirts from last year (and previous years) might technically fit me, they are too tight and reveal too much tummy fluff.

I then spend 3 hours of my life a couple of week-ends ago shopping for t-shirts – with out any luck. They would fit great in the shoulder area, but they would be clinging to my tummy area – with a rather unfortunate muffin-top look as result…


T shirt pattern with merged sizes

Fashionistas in my surroundings recommended buying the biggest size t-shirts and wearing them loose, but when I spend another couple of hours shopping and trying this solution, I still wasn’t happy – If the t-shirt was that big around my shoulder and neckline, I couldn’t wear them in public.. (and it didn’t look good at all!)

Then I realised. I sew. I have patterns. I can sew my own t-shirts in the size – and shape I want. And not pay a fortune. Actually, the finished t-shirts might cost a few Euros more than if I bought them in H & M/Topshop/ASOS (depending on the fabric, ofcourse) – but they’ll fit me, and they’ll last longer (again, depending on the fabric).. And I’m pretty sure I can sew quite a few t-shirts in 5 hours (after I have finished fitting the patterns, of course…)!

The patterns I'm using as a starting point. ONION 5022 and ONION 5035

The patterns I’m using as a starting point. ONION 5022 and ONION 5035

So this Friday I had some hours where I didn’t have to do anything else, so I got out some patterns and some stash viscose (rayon) jersey and had a look.

I decided to start of by simply making a fast kimono-ish sleeve (the sleeves are in one with the front and back) t-shirt. When I have perfected that pattern, I’ll do some with real fitted sleeves.

I got out ONION 5022 (sadly out of print – it’s a really great pattern) and ONION 5035. Since I have put on weight since I made them last (and also want a different look) I started by throwing teh previously traced pattern pieces away. Then I got a look at the patterns. Looking at the size charts I figured out that my bust and waist measurements fall between a small and a medium. So I decided on trying out a small at the shoulders and tapering it out to a medium – and even more, since I want a very loose fit, around the waist and high hip.

I got out my markers and traced right there on the pattern sheet (the blue is the seam new line, the red dots are where I’ll cut the fabric allowing for 1 cm seam allowances). I then got my tracing paper and traced the patterns. When I traced the patterns I added the extra length (I want some of my t-shirts to be 70 cm long) and also added extra 4 cm to each side seam on the v-neck t-shirt.

The traced pattern pieces

The traced pattern pieces

At some point I’ll want to do a small high round back alteration and I might also have some other issues to fix, but for now, I’m just leaving the alterations with size and length.

I cut out some teal viscose jersey for the first test. I didn’t have all the fabric needed for the full length, so I decided to fold up the pattern pieces a bit and just cut (it was late Friday evening. And I wanted to sew!).

Some t-shirt fabric from my stash. I'll be buying new fabric for the t-shirts, but I'll use this as muslin!

Some t-shirt fabric from my stash. I’ll be buying new fabric for the t-shirts, but I’ll use this as muslin!

I did a bit of sewing then, and I have more time to sew today, so I’ll just go now to hem the shirts and add ribbing, and then I’ll be ready for session number 2 (I have plenty of more fabric in the stash!)…