Tank and Tee in Cotton/Spandex

It’s been a minute since I’ve made a knit t-shirt! I used to have a shirt I loved that was a cinnamon color, but it got a little too small on me. So, when I ordered this cotton/spandex fabric, I was hoping it would be a little bit browner and closer to cinnamon, but the color is “rust” so it’s definitely more orange. I decided to go for it anyways and make a couple of things, including testing out a new pattern that I bought.

Lorna Tee Shirt by Bertina Paris | The Sewing Things Blog
Lorna Tee Shirt by Bertina Paris | The Sewing Things Blog
Lorna Tee Shirt by Bertina Paris | The Sewing Things Blog

First up, I made the Lorna Tee Shirt (which is more of a tank top) by Bertina Paris. The major downside of this pattern is that it only goes up to 41″ bust/43.3″ hips. I made the largest size, and it was still more snug than I was expecting, but I can’t go up anymore sizes. I also lengthened the pattern by 2″.

If I decide to make something like this again, I’ll probably try comparing it to a different t-shirt pattern to make it a little bit larger. Another option would be to make the dress version since it angles out a little bit more at the side seams, and that would make it more of a swing style top.

Since Bertina Paris patterns are in French, I always use DeepL to translate the instructions to English. They also have video tutorials of their patterns on Youtube.

*Update: My friend Cathy from the online sewing community mentioned that the Tabitha Tank by Anna Zoe Patterns is a FREE pattern when you sign up for Anya’s newsletter (scroll to the bottom of the website)! It has a much better size range (33-62″ bust!) and looks like it fits really nicely! I’m looking forward to making that in the near future.

Union St Tee by Hey June Handmade | The Sewing Things Blog
Union St Tee by Hey June Handmade | The Sewing Things Blog
Union St Tee by Hey June Handmade | The Sewing Things Blog

The second thing that I made was my tried-and-true Union St. Tee by Hey June. I usually make the size large, but I’m closer to the x-large size now, so that’s what size I made. In the past, I have usually lengthened, but I’ve decided that the original length is good. The Union St Tee is a very relaxed pattern and I find myself wearing them a lot, so this one shouldn’t be any different.

One thing I have never ever done in my 9 years of garment sewing is calculate the length of a neckband. I usually just go with whatever length the pattern piece is and don’t mess with it. Since cotton/spandex doesn’t have as much stretch as other knit fabrics, I decided to try it since I really didn’t want the necklines all puckered and then end up hating both of these tops. The Lorna pattern also explained how to calculate it, which was even better.

First, I measured the neckline for both the front and back pattern pieces. Then I took the total measurement and multiplied it by .85 + .5. Don’t ask me how the math works – I have no idea. The pattern said that for knits with more stretch you can multiply by .7, and for less stretch multiply by .8. But when I multiplied by .8, it didn’t seem like quite enough since it was too close the original neckband pattern piece length. (I did try basting the original neckband pattern piece in to check and it was still puckering too much.) I did the same method to calculate the length of the armbands of the Lorna.

Lorna Tee Shirt by Bertina Paris | The Sewing Things Blog
Union St Tee by Hey June Handmade | The Sewing Things Blog

I’m very happy I decided to experiment with recalculating the neckband and armband length because these both turned out much better than they would have. I don’t know what has taken me so long to try this …maybe lack of patience. I had to take multiple breaks during the day so that I didn’t get angry/impatient and just plow forward. And now that I figured it out, I hopefully won’t have to recalculate if I buy this fabric in other colors!

The last thing I did differently this time was, I traded the left needle thread on my serger for thread that matched the shirt. I was going to just use white serger thread, but I was nervous that it would show through a little bit, and I didn’t want that. So, it was an easy fix to replace the left needle thread with matching orange thread, and then re-thread my serger. It worked really well!

I’m excited to add these to my wardrobe and wear them all summer! Do you have a knit tee shirt or tank top pattern that you love? I would love to know.

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Thank you for reading and happy sewing! xoxo

2 thoughts on “Tank and Tee in Cotton/Spandex”

  1. They look great, and I love the colour. I always admire people who can calculate modifications. I donโ€™t dare, as Iโ€™m absolute rubbish at maths.

    1. Thank you, Ann! I’ve always been really nervous to also, but luckily it was extra easy with the calculator.

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