My favorite t-shirt patterns.

With Blake coming out, I knew I had a good excuse to find the perfect t-shirt pattern. It turns out, there are many.

To be completely honest, I was never much of a t-shirt wearer before I started making my own t-shirts. Looking back, it makes total sense. Store-bought t-shirts just never really fit me right. You’d think there would be more leniency with t-shirts given the fact that the stretch is forgiving, but that’s never been the case for me. There’s something about a t-shirt that makes me want a better balance between fit, fabric and cut–even more so than what I desire from woven tops. I’m not sure why. Having said that, I don’t think that sewing your own t-shirt should be scary. In many ways they’re easier to take in and make adjustments to. Plus, there are TONS of good patterns and resources out there, and this list just touches on some of them. Maybe one or some will work for you?

Here are some of my faves.

My first two faves cover two very important bases–a fitted t-shirt and a roomy t-shirt. They are Rio by Seamwork and the Basic Tee by Seamly.

Seamwork Rio . Carolyn Friedlander

This is a Rio in Robert Kaufman speckle cotton jersey. The only alteration made to this pattern was to straighten the hem, rather than do the high/low thing. I wear this speckle version so often that it was the first thing I sewed up with blake.

Rio Tee . Blake Knit . Carolyn Friedlander

Rio Tee . Blake Knit . Carolyn Friedlander

You can see another version of Rio in the Blake Lookbook on the lovely Vanessa.

Rio Tee in Blake Knit

The Basic Tee by Seamly is another favorite. Whereas the Rio is a more fitted tee, the Basic Tee by Seamly is more relaxed and has a pocket.

Seamly Basic Tee in Speckle Jersey

This version is also in Robert Kaufman’s speckle cotton jersey, and I wear it all the time. It’s kind of become my unofficial airport uniform. You’d think that I’d change it up, but I just love this one so much.

Seamly Basic Tee in Speckle JerseyI haven’t made one of these in blake yet, but it’s on the agenda. I made sure to cut some pieces out when I was prepping for Quilt Market. It will be happening…

Next up, we can talk about Jane by Seamwork. This is a pattern I was eager to try, and I’ll admit, I wasn’t thrilled with the fit right off the bat, but after some modifications to the neckline (I lowered it quite a bit) and length (I shortened it quite a bit), I’m very in love with this shirt. (By the way, I was wearing this guy on day 1 of Quilt Market.)

Seamwork Jane in Blake Knit . Carolyn Friedlander

Seamwork Jane in Blake Knit . Carolyn Friedlander

I think this type of shirt would be perfect for some fun appliqué or other personalization and detailing. Seamwork did a good job of showing some of those possibilities off.

Seamwork Jane in Blake Knit . Carolyn Friedlander

We can’t talk about t-shirts without talking about Grainline’s Linden, which I know, is a sweatshirt…but in the right weight, it is also the perfect t-shirt.

This one (seen in the Blake Lookbook) is View B of the pattern which features short sleeves, shorter bodice length and no sleeve or bodice bindings. It’s really great.

Linden shirt in Blake knit

Linden shirt in Blake knit

A long-sleeved version is pretty great too.

Linden sweatshirt in Blake knit

I love a jersey-weight Linden because it’s perfect for layering. I have several others that I wear often, so it’ll be good to get this one in the rotation.

Linden sweatshirt in Blake knit

Also in the Grainline family is Lark. I don’t have one (yet) in blake, but I’m sure it’ll happen at some point. Lark is fabulous basic t-shirt with tons of handy adaptations available for you with different sleeve lengths, neck lines, cardigan variations, etc.

Oh, and the Hemlock tee by Grainline too! It’s actually a free pattern if you sign up for their newsletter. It’s single-sized–so heads up on that. You’ll maybe need to make some fit adjustments. I made one, but need to take some pics. (In the meantime you can see mine here and here posted by JanieLou.) I LOVE this top and have already been wearing it a lot. As for the fit, I did have to tinker around a bit as the one size that it comes in isn’t my size, but if you have some experience, it’s not too tricky. And knit is forgiving.

Next up is the Wanderlust Tee by Fancy Tiger Crafts. (You can actually watch how to make this on CreativeBug here. Even though I’ve sewn knits many times before, I learned a lot watching this video and others by Fancy Tiger.)

Wanderlust Tee in Blake Knit

This t-shirt is comfy, and I like the style. It features a slightly dropped sleeve (which is a little easier to install if you are fearful of sewing in sleeves) and a curved hem. The version is drafted to be kind of cropped, so I’ve lengthened all versions that I’ve made. This version in blake is maybe the 3rd that I’ve made so far…clearly, I’m a fan of this pattern.

Wanderlust Tee in Blake Knit

What’s nice about any t-shirt is that you can switch up the collar and/or pocket with another fabric for a nice little change of pace. Here’s another Wanderlust Tee doing just that.

Wanderlust Tee in Blake Knit

Wanderlust Tee in Blake Knit

Hopefully this list isn’t too overwhelming for you. I know that there is a lot out there, which is why I thought it would be useful to report in on some of my findings. Plus, the sheer amount represented here is a testament to how speedy knits can be to sew up. With knit stuff, it’s not uncommon for me to cut out and sew up multiples at once.

Do you have any favorite t-shirt patterns? Please feel free to leave a comment and share!

Comments: 5 | Leave a comment


Tee: The Knit Quilt Primer and why I love making quilts with knits.

With my first knit collection, Blake, coming out, there was never a plan to make a knit quilt, because why would you? It sounds like a terrible idea, right? Knit stretches, it’s a garment fabric, etc etc, and if you’ve ever made a t-shirt quilt–at least in the popular way which uses interfacing–you know that it’s not the most fun experience. But after working with the knits, I couldn’t get the idea of a knit quilt out of my head. I decided that making a knit quilt wasn’t a bad idea, but instead a very good one, and therefore a new pattern outlining the process was worth pursuing. My Tee quilt pattern is for doing just that–sewing up a knit quilt.

Tee quilt pattern . Carolyn Friedlander

But first, I’ll bet that you have some questions.

Blake Knit Cotton Jersey . Carolyn Friedlander

First, why make a knit quilt?

  1. They’re soft. So damn soft. We love wearing knit for a reason–it feels great–so why not apply that softness to a quilt?
  2. Knit scraps happen. If you’re both a garment sewer and a quilter, I’m sure you’ve felt challenged by the what-to-do-with-those-knit-scraps situation. The desire to make use of our leftovers is real.
  3. T-Shirt quilts, there must be a better way! The interfaced approach to t-shirt quilting isn’t my idea of a fun time, but no judgment if you’re into it! A goal of that method aims to make knits behave more like wovens…which I get, but what’s the point when knits are so wonderful (see point #1) as they are. Plus, the interfacing makes everything super heavy and not-fun to work with, while also requiring an extra step and supply to incorporate it. Neh.
  4. I love a good crossover. To say that I’ve learned a lot about quilting from making garments and vice versa is an understatement. Having a project that acts as a stepping stone for quilters wanting to move into making garments (and garment sewers wanting to make quilts) is a worthwhile opportunity–one that I’m all too eager to support.

If that is all true, then what’s the hold up on knits?

Fear. There’s definitely some fear around knits. (Hence my desire to create a knit resource page for my site.) To be honest, I’m not sure why, and I wonder if there’s some history with woven manufacturers planting seeds of doubt and fear around knits…that’d be pretty juicy, wouldn’t it? (JK on knit conspiracy theories!) But to be serious, there are many qualities with knits that make them different than wovens, and I’ll bet that’s where much of this fear originates.

Let’s start with stretch. It’s probably why most people are scared of sewing with knits, but you shouldn’t be. The stretch is totally manageable and…forgiving. Yes, unlike woven fabrics, knits will bounce back, and knowing this means you can anticipate it and start using it to your advantage. Knit win.

The other fear that I get asked often has to do with raveling. I’m not sure why this is often a concern, because in general knits don’t ravel. The use of a serger or overlock machine is less to prevent raveling and more for providing a seam that will allow for stretch, because in most cases knits are being used in situations requiring that, i.e. a t-shirt or anything that you’re going to want to be moving around in. For this reason, it’s a) not necessary to use a serger for making a knit quilt (although I personally find it super fun to sit behind a serger), and b) not a concern that your seams will do any raveling. In fact, they’ll probably look cleaner than your seams with woven projects! Knit win.

With those thoughts in mind, let’s get back to the quilts and my new pattern, Tee.

Tee Quilt in Blake Knit . Version A . Carolyn Friedlander

There are 3 versions in this pattern, each building on skills and complexity, and all written for use with either a conventional sewing machine or a serger.

Tee Quilt in Blake Knit . Version A . Carolyn Friedlander

Version A features squares. There’s a lot you can do with knits that you can’t do with wovens, and this first version explores some of those things which are highlighted and explored in the pattern. Plus, it’s never a bad idea to start with something basic to get a feel for it.

Tee Quilt in Blake Knit . Version A . Carolyn Friedlander

There are 3 size options for this version, and this one is the baby size. Have I mentioned how soft knit quilts are? They are.

Tee Quilt in Blake Knit . Version A . Carolyn Friedlander

You’ll notice that I rounded the corners, which is outlined in the pattern. I liked the round reference back to a t-shirt, and also how it adds another layer of shape play and interest.

Tee Quilt in Blake Knit . Version A . Carolyn Friedlander

I used knits from blake entirely for the top, some friedlander lawn for the binding and friedlander (quilting cotton) for the backing.

Tee Quilt in Blake Knit . Version A . Carolyn Friedlander

Tee Quilt in Blake Knit . Version A . Carolyn Friedlander

Version B adds in a curve, well 3 of them to be precise.

Tee Quilt in Blake Knit . Version B . Carolyn Friedlander

This version touches on that crossover project idea in that it can help develop the skills to help you cross over.

Tee Quilt in Blake Knit . Version B . Carolyn Friedlander

For quilters, learning to conquer sewing an inset circle like this can be a helpful step in conquering inset sleeves. For garment sewers, this works in reverse–your familiarity with sewing in a sleeve will make sewing in this curve feel like you’re still doing the same thing, but in this case you’re working toward a flat result instead of the 3-d sleeve cap. Adding a new twist to something that you’re already familiar with is a perfect way to expand your skills.

Tee Quilt in Blake Knit . Version B . Carolyn Friedlander

And bonus, because knit stretches, these inset curves are some of the easiest ways to take them on if you’ve never done one before. A great experiment is to try it out using knit and then try it out with a woven.

Tee Quilt in Blake Knit . Version B . Carolyn Friedlander

This version also has 3 size options included, and this is the largest, which is a throw.

Tee Quilt in Blake Knit . Version B . Carolyn Friedlander

Tee Quilt in Blake Knit . Version B . Carolyn Friedlander

Tee Quilt in Blake Knit . Version B . Carolyn Friedlander

Tee Quilt in Blake Knit . Version B . Carolyn Friedlander

Blake is used entirely for the top, and friedlander lawn is used for both the binding and the backing. This is the softest version ever.

Tee Quilt in Blake Knit . Version B . Carolyn Friedlander

Version C combines both ideas–rectilinear shapes and curves, giving you lots of options for mixing it up. This is super helpful if a) you like a mix, and especially if b) you’re making a t-shirt quilt…which is a big (not-too-secret) agenda of this pattern also. I have big plans for t-shirt quilts using this pattern in my future…

Tee Quilt in Blake Knit . Version C . Carolyn Friedlander

There are 3 size options to this version as well, and this is the smallest, a wall hanging.

Tee Quilt in Blake Knit . Version C . Carolyn Friedlander

This top fabrics are all blake, and the binding and backing are both quilting cottons.

Tee Quilt in Blake Knit . Version C . Carolyn Friedlander

Tee Quilt in Blake Knit . Version C . Carolyn Friedlander

Tee Quilt in Blake Knit . Version C . Carolyn Friedlander

Tee Quilt in Blake Knit . Version C . Carolyn Friedlander

In case you’re wondering, because I know that you probably are, and I was…knit quilts are long-armmable. I’ve done some testing with this idea, including a few mins experimenting on my friend’s longarm.

Blake knit quilting on a longarm . Carolyn Friedlander

Despite my amateur longarm skills, this was fun and problem free! It’s also still pretty soft, which I was curious about.

Blake knit quilting on a longarm . Carolyn Friedlander

Yay for knit quilts! This was an incredible amount of fun, and I’m eager to see what you make. As I mentioned, I have plans for a t-shirt quilt for myself next, and I’m also teaching a t-shirt/knit quilt class at QuiltCon in 2018. I’m beyond stoked for this class and will be challenging my students to bring in some fun stuff to work with. We’ll not only cover the technical specifics of knit-quilt sewing, but we’ll also get in to the design aspect of working with different sized pieces and motifs. It’ll be fun.

Tee Quilts in Blake Knit . Carolyn Friedlander

Tee is a booklet-style pattern that is popping up in physical form in stores (like Hawthorne Threads, Jones & Vandermeer, i love fabric), or you can find the digital version in my shop here.

Comments: 2 | Leave a comment


Eads Quilt Pattern and Quilt Along.

My Eads quilt pattern is one of my newbies. I showed it at Quilt Market in St Louis, and I’m excited to share it with you here now. It’s a lot of fun, but I’m also biased, because I don’t make things that aren’t fun.

Eads Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

I’d been wanting to do a big, graphic, paper-pieced project for a while now, and this spring presented a great opportunity. Eads is a project where lots of fabric and color can play together in new and interesting ways–my favorite type of project.

Eads quilt fabric . Carolyn Friedlander

After nailing down the design, I pulled fabric from many places–friedlander, friedlander lawn, euclid, kona cotton, essex linen… I wanted a big mix of prints, solids and textures to play with and to use to highlight the design in a variety of ways.

(By the way, Robert Kaufman put together a little kit, which you could ask your local shop about. Otherwise, all of the fabrics are also listed here.)

Eads quilt fabric . Carolyn Friedlander

The design works with fat quarters, which makes the fabric gathering pretty easy. After that, the instructions work from strips which then makes it easy to start mapping out your blocks.

Eads quilt fabric . Carolyn Friedlander

I love this way of working–first gathering a bunch of inspiring pieces, breaking them down into smaller chunks, and then having the ability to react along the way as you work through the project. I find this to be a massively engaging, creative process and big reason why projects like this are so much fun. Grab your fabric, start making some blocks, throw them up on the design wall, assess, make more blocks and continue to grow your composition.

Eads Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

In the end, my project doesn’t follow a perfect color gradation–although that could be a lovely path to take! But instead, I liked finding new and different relationships between the colors and shapes as I worked. By just shuffling around some fabric, I discovered new color friendships and new ways to expose or conceal the motif itself. So much fun.

Eads Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

I’m often asked about overcoming creative blocks, and this project is a perfect example of how I keep myself creatively charged. My wheels were turning so much while making this guy, that I couldn’t help but think about other ways to explore the project, things to do with fabric and other things to make in general. I find that creative satisfaction in one place can overflow into many others.

Eads Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

I had such a good time making this project, that I couldn’t help but think about other versions to make while I was making it–always a good sign in my book. Because of that, I thought it’d be fun to do a little quilt along this summer. You interested in joining me?

Eads quilt along . Carolyn Friedlander

The plan is to keep it mostly informal, but I do have a structure in mind that I’ll at least be holding myself to. To make this size, which is a good-sized throw, there are 120 blocks, which at 12 weeks (3 months) is 10 blocks a week. I think that 10 blocks will be a perfect amount of creative cardio to schedule in each week. There are also 48 fabrics in this version, which breaks down to 4 fabrics/week if you want to set goals for that too. Personally, I’m not sure I’ll partake in that way…but it’s a helpful number to consider.

Eads Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

The quilt along will start next week, June 15. Expect weekly blog posts, including the first next week to kick things off. You can also follow along on my Instagram for weekly visuals, as well as in my newsletter (see “subscribe to the newsletter” at the top right corner on this site) for recaps and updates.

Eads Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

And for you, please join in! I’ll be checking in on anyone else’s makings by scouring the #eadsQAL hashtag on instagram. Since there are so many ways for this project to pan out, it’ll be fun to see where your projects take you. My bet is that we’ll all start to inspire each other, and it’ll be quite merry.

Eads Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

Plus, I’ve got some prizes planned. To be eligible to win, you’ll need to be posting to the hashtag on IG. Sound good?

Eads Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

To start, you’ll need a copy of the pattern. Hard copies are starting to appear in shops (like Hawthorne, Fabric Bubb, Etsy Studio, Jones & Vandermeer, I Love Fabric, etc), and the PDF version is available here too. Then start thinking about fabric…fat quarters are perfect.

Eads Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

Oh, and make sure to keep your scraps! I’ve got plans for those, but it’s a surprise to be uncovered towards the end, so stay tuned.

Eads quilt fabric . Carolyn Friedlander

Looking forward to sewing with you!

Comments: 13 | Leave a comment


Site by Spunmonkey.