Sewing the perfect T-shirt = A surprising amount of work

perfect t shirt 2
I am working on the perfect t-shirt. One that fits like a glove. Ultimately I want to use a cotton blend fabric with modal that is somewhat sustain-ably made if possible.  My goal is to make all my t-shirts from here on out and build on this must have Wardrobe Basic. 

For the first  shirt I used a forest green cotton rayon/spandex leftover from my stash. I am Frankenstein-ing the pattern – combiningNancy Zieman’s Santa Fe Top with Vogue 8536. I like the way Nancy’s pattern fit me in the shoulders and arms and I like the styling of Vogue.  Here is my initial attempt.

It’s baggy and this is a size 8. I also Shih Tzu’d  the neckline.
green tee

I tried this combo pattern again in a ponte knit and it was too tight AND too baggy. I had reduced the size to a 6 not realizing that a ponte knit should be treated more like a woven than a knit. I didn’t even proceed with the arms. Back to the drawing board. I think a ponte knit would work though – maybe if I used a size 10?

Here is a new pattern – Burda 3197. I used a sweater knit and cut a size 6. The envelope said close fitting t shirt. What?

The fit on this was too large for me. I think this might work well for a yoga shirt or exercise top, it’s very roomy and I like the neckline. 
grey tshirt

So back to the drawing board again. This is Vogue 8582 which I pulled from my archives (or filing cabinet) and modified to adjust for the small amount of fabric I had left in my stash. And this fit I really like. You can see by the photos the fit is better and I think on the next version I would shorten the shoulder a bit. 

grey top

So here is my final attempt. Made from a tissue knit I bought at Colorado Fabrics,not sure what the content is but it is soft and dreamy. This pattern is from an OOP Vogue 2011. And, I’m really happy with the fit and cut a size 8. I did remove the ease from the sleeve cap and I do need more practice on the neck binding but other than that I love it and this will become my Tried N True.  But, wow this took a long time and several attempts to get it ‘right’. Isn’t it amazing how far we’ll go to get just the right fit?
best t shirt 1Resources

Easy Guide to Sewing Tops and T-shirts by Marcy Tilton

Vogue 8536

Burda 5167

Vogue 8582

Vogue 2011

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  1. Great job! Lucky me – I have that Vogue 2011 pattern! Have you tried Christine Jonson’s patterns They fit SEW well and she has very good fitting tips! I have used her patterns over and over and over, they fit that well! Her entire line is KNITS!
    Keep sewing.


  2. Of course the one you finally settled on is OOP so we can’t try it too. 🙂 I liked the fit of that deer & doe plantain tee that I made, so I think I’m going to stick with that as my TNT and not go through all the trouble you did! Your binding on the neckline look very nice, I goofed mine.


  3. But wait, there are more T-shirt patterns to try! Jalie has some really nice basic T-shirt patterns that come in like 42 sizes and fit more like a glove than any other T-shirt pattern I’ve tried. But really, Jill, your efforts are astounding and I’m glad you found a pattern you like! Happy sewing!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Jill I love your Vogue 2011! Trying all those t shirt patterns was well worth your time and effort. You’ve achieved the “perfect fit” and it looks fantastic! Now that you’ve done all the fitting you can quickly sew up more perfect tees or make design changes to your TNT pattern for a completely different (but still perfectly fitting) top. Or even modify a new pattern easily by comparing it to your TNT. Well done! (I loved getting a glimpse of your sewing room too.)


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