I’ve sewn a lot of dresses over the years, and they are what I dream about in my sleep. But to be honest — I am not fancy. I’m a stay at home mom and my daily outfit is a t-shirt and sweats. These are the three t-shirt patterns that I make over and over again. These patterns might not work for everyone, but there are SO many t-shirt patterns out there. So, do your research, and if these work for you too, then that’s awesome!
Sizes between: 29-47″ high bust + 32-48″ hip
This pattern was the very FIRST indie pattern I ever made, and the best decision I made was to start sewing indie patterns 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 first shirt anymore because I didn’t pick very good fabric and I didn’t lengthen it at all (big whoops).
One thing I learned about making this pattern is to just make my usual size (aside from adding length). If you look at the first two photos in the black and white stripes, you’ll notice that the fit is really close. This is an example of what *not* to do (I went down 2 sizes, and it just wasn’t right). If you are looking for a more fitted pattern, this isn’t it (but keep scrolling for a more fitted pattern that I like).
The Union St Tee is the perfect loose fitting t-shirt pattern, and with 3 neckline options, you could literally have a whole closet full of them — as you can see by all of the ones I’ve made, and I literally just washed two of them today (as I’m updating this in February 2021).
Another similar loose fitting t-shirt pattern is the Pixie Tee by Chalk and Notch. It has a little bit of a dropped shoulder, but has a the nice loose fit. This pattern is more inclusive, with sizes up to 58″ bust and 59″ waist. I haven’t made this pattern yet, but I have made other Chalk and Notch patterns, and they are really good.
Sizes between: 32-44.5″ bust + 34-46.5″ hip
It has been love since sight with this pattern. The Panama Tee [Dress] made me jump for joy when it was released, and I have made it probably 2 dozen times now (I’m serious). I’ve made it for my mom, sisters, friends, and more times for myself than the pictures above show (in the shirt AND dress versions)
This is my go-to fitted t-shirt pattern. I fall between the 12-14 in this pattern, so I actually trace the pattern from a 12 at the top, and then grade out to a 14 at the waist and hips. I think I used to grade from a 10-12, but after having 2 babies and realizing that the 10 was a little too fitted for me, I’ve gone up a size. So, if you fall between sizes, my recommendation is to size up. It won’t be all that much bigger, and if you want it tighter, you can take it in, or just try a size down the next time you make it.
Another fitted t-shirt pattern that I haven’t made yet, but is really similar to this one, is the Rio Ringer Tee by True Bias. The fit is really similar to the Panama, and the sizing for this pattern is more inclusive (sizes up to 57.5″ bust + 59.5″ hips). I love every True Bias pattern I have made, and I know that this pattern would be great.
BASIC TEE by SEAMLY (currently unavailable, but an alternative below!)
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 on me. I’ve made this shirt 7 times now (5 for myself, 2 for my mom), but I’m only showing my most recent 2 because the others were all made with terrible fabric (fabric choice is important!).
I fall between the medium and large, but I’ve settled on liking the way the large fits better. You can actually see the difference in my two examples above: 1st shirt in stripes is the large, and 2nd shirt in green/teal is a medium (with the neckline raised 1″). The sizes do feel pretty different, so it might take a couple tries in the different sizes if you’re like me and fall between sizes.
This pattern isn’t available at the moment (when it comes available again, I will add the link), but the Plantain T-shirt by Deer and Doe (sizes between: 31.5-46″ bust + 33.75-48″ hip) has a very similar look, and it’s free! I have not made it, but it seems a really good alternative if you are looking for a shirt in this style. If you’ve made the Plantain T-shirt, let me know what you think!
I have tried a lot of different knit fabrics over the years, and found a few that I really like for t-shirts. If you’re interested in what those are check out this blog post that has all of the details about my favorite t-shirt knits.
During my early sewing, I didn’t even pay attention to fabric content, and it took some time (and money) to learn what I liked and what worked. So I hope something here will helped you skip some of the frustrations I went through when choosing patterns and fabric. It feels so good when you are finally really happy with the t-shirts hanging in your closet.
Happy t-shirt sewing!
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