GBSB’s Simple T-Shirt

I know, I know, I know. There’s a bit of a gap between this post and the previous one. It’s been a while and I could bore you with the reasons but frankly I’d rather write about fun sewing adventures so let’s get back into that.

It’s fair to say that my first attempts at making jersey t-shirts weren’t without trial. Though I must say that most of the problems weren’t my fault. I was just a bit unlucky with the patterns and not yet in the habit of measuring every pattern before getting down to business. I am now also googling every pattern before I start working on it because there are so many sewers out there whose feedback, had I bothered to read it beforehand, could have saved me a few frustrations.

First was the Simple T-Shirt from the book accompanying the second series of The Great British Sewing Bee. picture by Quadrille Publishing

I got the book from my local library and decided the t-shirt would be the quickest and easiest project to start with. (Patience is not one of my strengths it seems.) I already had some lovely jersey fabric that I had actually ordered to make Tilly’s Agnes top, however, when it arrived in the post, I realised that it wasn’t nearly stretchy enough for Aggie. The GBSB pattern didn’t call for stretchy jersey – it actually suggested woven fabric – so it seemed like a great opportunity to use my cream with grey spots purchase, which I do actually love a lot.

GBSB Simple T-Shirt - simple in theory

It all started well. Sewing together the two pattern pieces (yup, only two) was a piece of cake and finishing the sleeves, neckline and hem with bias binding was nice and easy too and made the whole thing look very neat. GBSB Not so Simple T-Shirt_bias binding_June 2015

But there was one tiny problem: The neckline was so big that the t-shirt wouldn’t stay on my shoulders. Call me prudish – and actually I’m not, I usually don’t mind showing a bit of skin – but the thing was basically not safe to wear in public. Unless I stood very still:

GBSB Not so Simple T-Shirt_June 2015_d

As soon as I moved, this happened:

GBSB Not so Simple T-Shirt_June 2015_c

Bending over would have left me indecently exposed and what use is a t-shirt you can’t wear to go grocery shopping? Exactly.

Now, I know that I have a smaller build than most and maybe I should have cut a different size because the whole shirt is a bit on the wide side anyway but, in my defense, an internet search revealed that a lot of other people seem to have had the same result. Looking at these photos now I wonder if the pattern only works for women with broad shoulders. Mine are a little narrow hence the problem I had. So, this is how I learned that measuring a pattern before you get cracking with the project is tedious but very useful indeed.

I got a bit cross and stuffed the t-shirt into the wardrobe where I didn’t have to look at it. It stayed in there for most of the summer, which is a shame because months later I thought of a very simple fix for it and now I would love to wear it every day but the English summer is kinda over. Never mind, I’m still relieved that I found a solution to the gaping neckline issue. Here it is:

The fix: Added shoulder straps that hold the t-shirt in place.
The fix: Added shoulder straps that hold the t-shirt in place.

So simple, so effective and not unattractive. I basically made some straps the width of my bra strap and attached them to the t-shirt at the points where the exposed bra straps were sitting. Problem solved and I have added a pretty little feature to a plain t-shirt. And that’s something that does put a smile on my face.

Finally, a wearable t-shirt!
Finally, a wearable t-shirt!

Sometimes spending some more time on a project pays off. OK, it almost always does!

This was “A lesson in patience” by Meike The Impatient. Thanks for reading and come back soon to find out how the rest of the t-shirts turned out!


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