V-Neck T-Shirt | Self-Drafted Pattern

 My little boy while I try to blog. 

My little boy while I try to blog. 

My little pooch had surgery a month ago to biopsy a lump he has on his left arm, but after they opened his arm up, they couldn't get underneath the muscle to do the biopsy (where the lump is).  So they sewed him up and sent him home. *sadface*.  So, two weeks ago, we went back to the vet to get his stitches off.  What we have decided to do is to just monitor his lump and see if it bothers him in the future.  If it does, then we'll have to go to a specialist surgeon.  My poor little boy was so scared when I picked him up after surgery that I don't want to make him go through that again, if we don't need to, or anytime in the near future.  So, if he's ok - we're ok.  

Taking off the stitches was super quick and the nurse said he was such a brave boy, he stood still and let them snip and take off the stitches with no fuzz.  They were done with the procedure in less than 10 mins!  Which means, my afternoon just opened up!  You were probably wondering why am I writing about my little boy when this is supposed to be a post about a v-neck t-shirt.  I guess I am writing the long story *hahaha*.  So yes, my afternoon was wide open, and we were near Clement Street that I decided to stop by real quick at FabrixSF to see what wonders they had this time.  They always have fun fabrics to look, touch and of course, buy.  And if you like something, buy as much as you can, because once they're gone - they're GONE. 

 Cutting my pattern on the fold

Cutting my pattern on the fold

This time I went in with "find fabric for a t-shirt" - but once I went in, my eyes started wondering everywhere and thinking of all kinds of stuff to make with the items I was staring at.  I had to really tell myself - "t-shirt, t-shirt" and soon enough found myself in the knit section.  My eyes widen up even more when I saw that their knits were mostly all ~$3/yard!!! And then they had a section on sale for $1.50/yard!  Why haven't I been coming here more often?  This was the perfect place to pick up knit fabric for my first t-shirt ever.  If I messed up, then I didn't spend too much money on the fabric.  The fabric was super nice and soft too.  Ended up getting gray and white terry knits and leaving there spending less than 10 bucks (I ended up buying some other fabric and tons of black cord for some baby pants). 

I was so happy when I got home and then realized that I didn't have a t-shirt pattern.  How am I going to make my first t-shirt if I don't have a pattern?  Hmmm...what about taking an old t-shirt that has seen better days and I no longer wear?  Surely that works.  I took the old t-shirt and cut out the seams as close as possible to get the pattern pieces as close to original.  Once I got that, I traced the t-shirt pieces on the tracing paper and cut the paper.   Then took the paper pieces over to the fabric and cut with the rotary cutter.  See in the picture that I cut on the fold.  I did this with the pattern to make sure that both sides were equal, since I traced out of a cut t-shirt and wanted it to be as symmetrical as possible.   If I had to count how long this whole process took me, I would say 3 hours.  But I did it in a span of days because I'm aloof so do one thing, then wonder elsewhere and end up doing something else. 

Now that I had all the pieces together, here comes the fun part - the actual sewing!  I knew that the seams on my old t-shirt were 1/4" so I could use the "elastic overlock stitch" on my Brother sewing machine and have it set to 5 spacing.  So here are the steps I took: 

ONE: Stitch the shoulders.  This was pretty simple, just used the overlock stitch and joined both sides on the shoulders (right sides together). 

TWO: Stitch the V-neck.  Yes, I just said V-neck.  I didn't realize that when I selected my old t-shirt, it was a v-neck! How the heck do I sew a v-neck if I've never even sewed a round neck??? Yikes!!! Off I went on the internet and found this kick ass Alina Design's V-Neck tutorial.  Her tutorial shows a 1/2" bias, but I had already cut mine and mine was 1/4" so I winged it and went for it.  I should have listened and stayed with the larger bias.  The frustration I ran into! It took me 3 times to get the "V" part right.  And even from the pictures, you can tell it's not a super sharp "V", more like a "U".  But I'm happy with it anyway.  With the V-Neck, you start at the V part, sew around and end again at the V part.  Then, where the two ends meet (the V part - again) you need to make sure that you catch the t-shirt front fabric, otherwise you end up with this whole underneath.  This is where I found the most struggle with the 1/4" wide bias.  I am sure it would have been easier with the wider fabric, since there's more room to maneuver. 

 V-Neck Success!

V-Neck Success!

THREE: Sew the sleeves.  Just like in the basic t-shirt tutorial by Made Everyday step 4, follow those steps and you're golden. 

FOUR: Sew the sides.  Easy straight forward sew from the opening of the sleeves all the way to the end of the t-shirt, on each side. 

FIVE: Sew hem s.  For the sleeves, I originally folded 1/4" inwards and then another 1/4", pressed and zig zag stitched around.  But it came out a bit bulky and didn't like the results.   See comparison on the pictures provided.  Then I remembered that I did this knit hemming using knit stay tape on a pair of lounge pants and they came out great so I undid the double-fold hem and finished using the stay tape hem (surely this style has a name, I just don't know what it's called).  I love to use this sewkeyes-e knit stay tape for knit hemming because it keeps a smooth finish.  I have the 1/2" wide tape that I got from Britex here in SF.  But I think they sell it in all fabric stores (if not this brand, surely another brand).   If you're using the knit stay tape, don't worry about the raw edges, knit fabric doesn't fray, so you don't have to worry about it unraveling. 

hemtypes.png

And that's it! I had my first handmade t-shirt in front of me.  I tried the shirt and it fits just like the old t-shirt did, but with better fabric.  And although the thinner bias in the neckline gave me struggles, I kind of like the look of it - looks a bit more delicate in my opinion. 

 Final look! 

Final look! 

So, what did I learn?  

  • Making a simple t-shirt is not as challenging as I thought.  There's no reason to dread sewing one up! 
  • Using old t-shirts to make new patterns totally works. 
  • Next time I should remember that I can make edits to the patterns.  For this particular one, next time I'll bring up the neckline a bit since this one is pretty low cut. 
  • It's ok to wing it from time to time.  Be creative and do your own thing.  But if you don't know where to start, that's ok too - just grab a pattern or a t-shirt and give it your own twist. 
  • Finally, I learned that there will soon be many more handmade t-shirts in my wardrobe! 

Have you made your own t-shirt?  What were your biggest challenges? What suggestions do you give readers?  Feel free to share in the comments section!