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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!

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Scout Tank and Top in Friedlander Fabric

When I was in Australia, I picked up a great top at a local clothing store. (It’s not pictured on their site, but I found some shots here and here). I just love the shape and style and have been wearing it often. Because of that, I thought it’d be fun to try to recreate it so I’d have a few more.

Scout Tee in Friedlander Lawn . Carolyn Friedlander

Lucky for me, the Scout tee by Grainline is a great starting point. It’s a project that I’ve made many times (one version is here), and each time I make it, I tweak things here and there to customize fit and/or style. That’s the beauty of finding a good pattern. It can give you much freedom to try new things!

Scout Tee in Friedlander Lawn . Carolyn Friedlander

This first version stays pretty true to the Australian inspiration in that it has a wider collar, curved hem and some billowing fullness dropping down at the sides.

Scout Tee in Friedlander Lawn . Carolyn Friedlander

To make these changes, I added width to the sides–both to the front and back tapering out from the bust. I also added length to the hem so that I could curve it, and then the neck band was a relatively easy add. I roughly went off the thickness of the inspiration piece, cut a new band on the bias and installed it.

Scout Tee in Friedlander Lawn . Carolyn Friedlander

The Australian original is made from a sturdier cotton, but this version is much lighter. Lawn tops are pretty great (I might be obsessed), and I’d been wanting to make a top out of this green print from my latest collection. The result drapes nicely and will be perfectly cool and appropriate for the summer.

Scout Tee in Friedlander Lawn . Carolyn Friedlander

The original also has some neat seams by the shoulders that I had a fun time drafting into the Scout. Using this particular fabric doesn’t make it very pronounced, but I could see playing with more contrast in a future version if the mood should strike.

Scout Tee in Friedlander Lawn . Carolyn Friedlander

The next version has a few other design tweaks.

Scout Tank in Friedlander Fabric . Carolyn Friedlander

And I’ll admit, this was kind of a compulsive sew. I was eager to make a shirt with the big tree stripe from my latest collection, using the stripe as a fun element in the bodice.

Scout Tee . Friedlander fabric . Carolyn Friedlander

I also decided to make it right before leaving for QuiltCon this past February. (There’s nothing more fun than being able to pack a new garment for a trip!)

Scout Tank in Friedlander Fabric . Carolyn Friedlander

Again, I started with the Scout tee, making the adjustments to the side seems and length. When it came time for sleeves, I decided to omit them. Sleeveless is perfect for Florida, and it’s also easy to layer with a cardigan.

Scout Tank in Friedlander Fabric . Carolyn Friedlander

After some debate, I decided to not do the collar on this one. I liked the idea of the print being front, center and unencumbered by much else.

Scout Tank in Friedlander Fabric . Carolyn Friedlander

Scout Tank in Friedlander Fabric . Carolyn Friedlander

The hem, arm and neck openings are finished with bias tape. When I make bias tape, I often make more than I need so that I always have some on hand. Here I used some from my stash, and it worked perfectly.

Scout Tee . Friedlander fabric . Carolyn Friedlander

I kept the additional shoulder seam and played just a bit with the part of the print that I used. It’s a subtle detail that adds that little extra something.

Scout Tee . Friedlander fabric . Carolyn Friedlander

Scout Tee . Friedlander fabric . Carolyn Friedlander

Inspiration : This shirt from Vic and Bert, via my travels in Australia

Pattern (with some adjustments) : Scout Tee by Grainline

Fabric : Sleeved version is made from my Friedlander Lawn collection, and the sleeveless version features a print from my Friedlander collection with bias tape made from Cambridge Lawn in Nude by Robert Kaufman

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Sewing with Friedlander Lawn.

Friedlander Lawn Garments . Carolyn Friedlander

Sewing with Friedlander Lawn is an easy given. Lawn works really well for garments because of it’s fine-ness, softness and beautiful drape. Here are some things I’ve made (/been wearing constantly). Apologies in advance for throwing so many projects in to one post! I’m hoping it is handy to have many of the projects all in one place.

Friedlander Lawn Archer Popover . Carolyn Friedlander

Because of its weight and wearability, lawn is perfectly suited for blouses and tops, and the Archer by Grainline is one of my favorites. It’s awesome in just about every way. The directions are well-written, the pieces are well-drafted, and there is a ton of support for making it in terms of sew-alongs, etc. If you’ve never made a button-up (or even a garment), this is the way to go, because you’re in good hands with Grainline–they have your back!

Friedlander Lawn Archer Popover . Carolyn Friedlander

This is the popover variation, which does require a special pattern pack. The main difference between this one and the regular one is that the popover version doesn’t button all the way down. There’s also an alternate option for the sleeve plackets in this version too. I always like to learn new tricks and alternatives, which makes this route a fun one. If you’ve already made the regular Archer a few times, the popover version is a fun way to change things up.

Friedlander Lawn Archer Popover . Carolyn Friedlander

Friedlander Lawn Archer Popover . Carolyn Friedlander

One thing to note about the pieces in the Friedlander Lawn group is that there are no color-palette repeats with the quilting cotton group. I’m not one for redundancy, and so if the same designs will be used on a different substrate, I see that as an opportunity to explore more color options. And I did.

Friedlander Lawn Archer Popover . Carolyn Friedlander

Like I said, button-ups and lawn go hand-in-hand, so this Archer hasn’t been (and won’t be) the only button-up so far. I also tried out a new pattern by Named, their Helmi Trench Blouse. (Take note that this pattern also features a dress option. I’m totally into that too and plan to make one soon!)

Friedlander Lawn Helmi . Carolyn Friedlander

The detailing on this button-up is really interesting and what made me want to make it. There are front and back flaps reminiscent of a trench coat.

Friedlander Lawn Helmi . Carolyn Friedlander

Plus there is a rounded collar that is very adorable.

Friedlander Lawn Helmi . Carolyn Friedlander

There is also a gathered sleeve cuff, although I decided against that and instead went with a regular buttoned cuff and placket. Actually, I used the placket and cuff pieces from the Archer Popover, but narrowed the cuff because it felt like a more appropriate proportion for this style blouse. The split hem is also a nice touch.

Friedlander Lawn Helmi . Carolyn Friedlander

I wasn’t sure how the fit would work out, but it’s perfect for me without many adjustments. This was surprising, because the standard Named fit is for someone quite a bit taller than I am. I’m about 5’4″ and the only adjustment I made was to shorten the sleeves just a bit, which had to be done anyway with the changes I made to the cuff. I made no changes to the overall length or width otherwise.

Friedlander Lawn Helmi . Carolyn Friedlander

Next up is another button-up, yes, I’m really into lawn button-ups, it’s just too good of a fit for both the fabric and what I like wearing on a daily basis. This time it’s the Alder Shirtdress, another Grainline favorite.

Friedlander Lawn Alder Shirtdress . Carolyn Friedlander

A sleeveless shirtdress is a personal favorite because of how versatile it is. I’ve already worn this as-is, layered with tights and a sweater, over jeans and with a cardigan. Sweet stuff.

Friedlander Lawn Alder Shirtdress . Carolyn Friedlander

The only thing that I kick myself about is that I didn’t add side pockets. Note to self: on ALL future versions, there will be side pockets.

Friedlander Lawn Alder Shirtdress . Carolyn Friedlander

This print in the collection reminds me of old shirtings, which is why I was quick to make a shirt with it.

Friedlander Lawn Alder Shirtdress . Carolyn Friedlander

When I audition buttons, I always try out these gingham ones first. A friend gave me a bag of them in assorted colors, and I love when they work so well with a project.

The Ruffle-Front Blouse (from Happy Homemade: Sew Chic by Yoshiko Tsukiori) is one I’ve made before and wear often. My previous version was made out of quilting cotton, which wears well, but I knew a lawn version could be even better.

Friedlander Lawn Ruffle-Front Blouse . Carolyn Friedlander

By the way, this book is one of the Japanese sewing books that has been translated into English. If you’re wanting to dive into some Japanese sewing, a translated option is a great place to start.

Friedlander Lawn Ruffle-Front Blouse . Carolyn Friedlander

Friedlander Lawn Ruffle-Front Blouse . Carolyn Friedlander

From another Japanese sewing book–Check & Stripe, title otherwise unknown because this one isn’t translated into English (heads up!)–is this lovely dress that I’d been eyeing ever since getting the book. (It’s the project featured on the cover.)

Friedlander Lawn Check and Stripe Dress . Carolyn Friedlander

The detailing is so pretty between the rounded and split collar and then the pleated sleeve cuffs.

Friedlander Lawn Check and Stripe Dress . Carolyn Friedlander

Friedlander Lawn Check and Stripe Dress . Carolyn Friedlander

Plus, it does have pockets. Yay for that.

Friedlander Lawn Check and Stripe Dress . Carolyn Friedlander

Have you heard of Peppermint Magazine? I hadn’t until seeing someone post a finished garment from their free pattern collection. It turns out that Peppermint is a really thoughtful and well-done magazine out of Australia that conveniently (and generously) releases a free garment pattern with each issue. Win win. I have several of the patterns on my to-make list, but here’s the Peplum Top from Issue 31.

Friedlander Lawn Peplum Top . Carolyn Friedlander

Friedlander Lawn Peplum Top . Carolyn Friedlander

There’s a little spot at the shoulder where you can slip in a bit of another print, which I did.

Friedlander Lawn Peplum Top . Carolyn Friedlander

Alteration-wise, I did reduce some of the ruffle by not cutting the strip as long as it suggests. If I remember correctly, I think I made it short enough to work with the width of fabric, because that seemed like enough for me and an efficient way to cut it. In future versions, I’d add a little more length to the bodice as this one hits me just a smidge higher than I like. Easy future fix.

Friedlander Lawn Peplum Top . Carolyn Friedlander

There’s also Sointu Kimono Tee by Named. This pattern is intended for a knit, which I didn’t realize until I was about to make it. (Ha!) While a knit would be nice, I figured lawn would probably work pretty well too. I didn’t have to make any adjustments, because there was enough ease built-in to work with using a woven. (On a side note, if you’d like to read up on swapping out wovens for knits, Christine Haynes wrote a great article for Seamwork, here.)

Friedlander Lawn Sointu top . Carolyn Friedlander

Because I was using a woven instead of a knit I cut the sleeves on the bias to give them a little more softness and movement.

Friedlander Lawn Sointu top . Carolyn Friedlander

Friedlander Lawn Sointu top . Carolyn Friedlander

I think it also works without the belt.

Friedlander Lawn Sointu top . Carolyn Friedlander

Gotta love the versatility.

Friedlander Lawn Sointu top . Carolyn Friedlander

Ok, last up is a little tunic that I made for my niece. I have lots of kid stuff planned–including some button-ups for my nephews, but the Ryka tunic by Whitney Deal was too easy and cute to throw together. I need to get a picture of her in it!

Friedlander Lawn Ryka tunic . Carolyn Friedlander

Thanks for following along with me! I hope that you’re having fun with the lawn too!

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