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Ever since December, when I finished sewing a mini capsule wardrobe (basically) for my mom, I really wanted to get a few knit t-shirts made for myself. Since it’s been cold, I stocked up on Cheyenne Tunics and Lane Raglans, but now that it’s started to warm up in SoCal, I figure it is a very good time to make a few more t-shirts.
I sew a lot of dresses, and they are what I dream about in my sleep. But guys — I am not fancy. I’m a stay at home mom, and most days my #momiform is t-shirt and jeans, or sweats if I don’t plan on going anywhere. I have made my fair share of t-shirts in the few years that I’ve been sewing, and there are 3 that I keep making over and over again. I love all of these patterns pretty equally, so they aren’t in any particular order, but I thought it would be fun to share since I wear these weekly now.
UNION ST TEE by HEY JUNE
This pattern was the very FIRST indie pattern I ever made, and the best thing I did was to start indie pattern sewing with one of Adrianna’s patterns. I made a perfect v-neck when I had never sewn one before, and those things are darn tricky! I don’t have the shirt anymore because I didn’t pick very good fabric and I didn’t lengthen it at all, so it was a bit shorter than I preferred. But I have learned where to add length and one of these days I will brave the v-neck again!
My second time making this pattern (a couple years ago) I added too much length (*face palm*). I haven’t made the Union St Tee again until now, but I finally got it right! I added 1.5″ of length at the waistline and sized down 2 sizes since this is a really stretchy ribbed knit. This is the perfect t-shirt pattern, and with 3 neckline options, you could literally have a whole closet full of them.
BASIC TEE by SEAMLY
Oh boy. The things I have learned from sewing. The first time I made this shirt, I was a couple of months pregnant and I didn’t really want people to be able to tell that I was pregnant in the photos, so I sized up to the XL and the shirt was huge (plus I chose bad fabric *eye roll*). I saw the pattern on others and wanted so much for the pattern to look like that on me, because it’s so dang cute! I made a size medium muslin version (with more bad fabric) and it was a little tight through the bust area, so I’ve settled on the large since my measurements are between the medium and large size.
I made two of these for my mom, and I have made three more for myself. I made my 2nd and 3rd out of ponte, and they both pilled a lot. I cannot stress enough how much fabric makes a difference! I finally got it just right with this one. I’m pretty sure that this fabric is a cotton/poly t-shirt fabric, like the shirts you buy in stores. (Why is it so dang hard to find that kind of fabric??)
I love that it has a little bit of a swing at the hips because it’s really flattering, and the neckline is different than most t-shirts. It’s already a really long t-shirt pattern, so I only added 1″ to the waistline.
PANAMA TEE by ALINA DESIGN CO.
It has been love at first sight with this pattern since the very beginning. I know I’m not the only one who fawns over all of the RTW t-shirt dresses on the planet, but it hurts my [husband’s] wallet a little when I know I could make something so easily. The Panama Tee [Dress] made me jump for joy when it was released.
I was about 7 months pregnant when it was released, but that didn’t stop me from making one! I made it and had my Mom try it on when she visited after I had Braden, and she was *all the heart eyes*. I don’t think I had seen my mom like something so much until that point, and it was priceless. So, I have made this pattern over a DOZEN times for me, my mom, and my sisters. It’s a good one. Trust me.
I’m not sure the fiber content of this fabric but it feels a little bit like a wool/poly blend, or something. For this shirt I added 1.5″ to the waistline and did the half sleeve option.
AGAIN. I cannot stress enough that the fabric you use plays a huge role in how much you are going to love or hate something you make. These patterns are all fabulous, but as you just read, I had more than just a couple of times to figure it out and finally get the fabric choice right. I don’t know if I can really explain or tell you the perfect fabric, because half of the time I don’t know to the fiber content of the fabric (during my early sewing, I didn’t even pay attention when I was buying the fabric). It takes some time to learn, and it feels so good when you are finally really happy with what is hanging in your closet.
After getting rid of 90% of RTW things in my closet, I have learned that I don’t wear things that have a lot of color (dresses are the exception). The shirts in my closet consist of gray, black, blue, maroon — with small accents of other colors, so these shirts fit right in! I hope to try a few more knit t-shirt patterns, but for now, I’m really happy with these 3.
What t-shirt patterns are tried-n-true for you? Do you get excited when you see what’s hanging in your closet?
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7 thoughts on “My 3 Favorite Knit T-Shirt Patterns”
I have only tried the Union St Tee, but I love it! It is such a great pattern with a great fit. I have adapted it for maternity and made it into dresses. I have never tried the v neck though, but I definitely need to because I love a good v neck.
The Union St Tee is definitely the best basic one with the most variety in how to make it, so it’s a good pattern to have! I really want to make a v neck t-shirt dress, but I really should practice on a shirt first. I love a good v neck too!
I have the Union pattern and am anxious to try it out. I agree that fabric choice can make or break the outcome of garments. I am new to buying fabric on line – the independent fabric store in my town closed and I’m left with the chain stores that frankly don’t carry quality fabrics. Any suggestions for sites or ideas for on line fabric purchases?
I enjoy reading your blog and am inspired by your creations. Thanks
Hi Robina! I have always gotten good things from Style Maker Fabrics. Other stores I haven’t purchased from yet but are very popular in the sewing community are Harts Fabric, LA Finch Fabric, Blackbird Fabrics, and Imagine Gnats. There was a conversation on Instagram that I read and it was that stores don’t sell cotton/poly that most RTW shirts are made of. But Imagine Gnats and Fabric Dot Com both have a fabric called ‘Dana knit’ and it’s a cotton/modal blend that is really similar. I have yet to try some, but I really want to soon! I hope this helps. 🙂
What is the stripe fabric you’re wearing in the top photo? I have never been able to find the perfect black and white striped tee so I want to make my own! And that fabric is exactly what I need!
Hi Jael! I got my fabric at an overstock fabric store in San Francisco (called Fabrix), but that was about a year ago. Sometimes I see fabric stores carry this fabric. There are a couple on Fabric.com if you look through their ribbed knit section. Mine is a 4×2 ribbed knit and the stripes are 1/4″ wide. I think the white stripes are technically ivory or cream colored because they aren’t completely white. I hope that helps! 🙂
Nice patterns! These t-shirts look so cute and comfy and you are looking stunning with them. I wish to add them in my wardrobe. Thanks and keep sharing.