Thursday, 30 May 2013

The T-shirt Copy

In all honesty, I had already completed my t-shirt pattern before I thought about sharing it. So to make things a bit more interesting, my lovely friend Maria has kindly offered to volunteer to be a model for a t-shirt copy.
This is Maria, and we are going to copy her t-shirt (and make it better).

To begin with, we tied a piece of elastic around her middle. We then used this as her waistline.
We marked her waist, bust line at the seam, bust point, and underbust. I also looked at the side seams, and we decided that these swung back about 1.5cm by the waist, which is hardly surprising given that t-shirts are cut flat. Which people aren't, what with not being made of cardboard. We also decided on a v-neck, so we put a pin where that should end.
 T-shirt with pins in key points.

From there, I laid the t-shirt as flat as possible out on a piece of paper. I traced around the shirt, lifting the sleeve to draw in the armscye. There is a difference in shape at the front and back of the armscye, so it was important to look closely at that to see what adjustments I would need to make for the other piece.

 This is the outline. I have marked each of the lines required on the side. This is the basic from which I will create both front and back pieces. But first I need to tidy it up.

I cut the shape out and fold it in half.

 There are some differences between the halves. No matter how carefully I had copied, this would have occurred because the shirt has distorted over time. It is also quite possible that there was some distortion created in the cutting process when it was originally manufactured.  So copying both sides is an easy way to correct for those distortions.

 Spot the difference?

 I compare this to the original shirt and decide which lines I want to use.

I trace the shape onto another piece of paper.  This is going to be the front.

On the front, we have added about 4cm of length, and a bit more space from the bustline down so it will skim rather than snuggle. We are happy with the bustline fit. Also, I am only adding this to the front to compensate for the distortion we noted at the side seams. I changed the neckline to a v-neck. I then add 1cm seam allowance and hem allowance. I adjusted the armscye to correspond with the differences on the original shirt.

 I then traced the shape again to make the back - making the same changes to the hemline and seam allowances. Otherwise, there wasn't a whole lot of change on the back.

 Tracing the sleeves was a similar process - I lined the sleeves up and copied as closely as I could, adding a little extra length. The back and front are slightly different shapes, so I copied the back on folded paper, and then trimmed away the difference on the front half. I added seam allowance and hem allowance.

I then cut these pieces out and made up a t-shirt. 
I joined the side seams to front and back, and then the shoulder seams including a thin strip of elastic for extra stability.

I joined the sides of the sleeves and hemmed the sleeves and the body.
I inserted the sleeves by connecting the shoulder line and top crease, as well as seams in the t-shirt.
I used a 4.5cm wide strip to make the neckline. I cut this 5/6 of the length of the neckline. This is so it fits the neckline with a little stretch, and pulls taught across the body.
I inserted and topstitched the neckband. And then pulled lots of stupid faces as the sewing machine ate the v-neck corner.
Which made me very unhappy.

So I had to remind myself that it was the concept we cared about here. I am still not 100% happy with the v-neck. :/

But it's finished. So here is a t-shirt, copied and tweaked to be a slightly better fit.

 Definitely happy with the new sleeves, which are slightly longer than the original. And while I don't like the way the neckline pinched when I put it in, I think the shape and position is pretty much spot on. The fabric does skim the hips nicely, and the added length worked.

I might take a tiny bit out between the underbust and waist  as it sits forward a little - we already had a look at where to put darts for the dress. Maria's shoulders are fairly broad but I think I added a little more than needed, so I will shave some off there for future.

So there you have it.

UPDATE: I have tweaked this pattern a little. Check it out at  T-shirt copy part 2. Please look, it's much improved!

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