The perfect tee

sam_7499The tonic tee from SBCC is my first finished make from my #makenine list and it’s my new TNT t-shirt pattern. I was after a classic fitted tee and this free downloadable pattern is THE ONE. The bodice has the right amount of ease, it’s finished with turned up hems and the neckline hits at the right spot. I find the scoop of the Plantain tee too low and the neckline of the Renfrew a bit high. I sewed a size M and just had to shorten the bodice by 2 cms.


For my first iteration I used a green stripe knit from the Cloth House. This had a high elastane content and was super stretchy. The cut edges had a tendency to curl, even after pressing. I used a lightning stitch to sew the seams and then finished the seam allowances using my overlocker. The neckband is sewn flat with one shoulder seam open which was a new to me technique. I found the neckband too long and the diagram implies you need to chop off the excess. There weren’t many markings on the neckband so it was difficult to know how to distribute the fabric evenly around neckline. The finished neckband sits fine at the front but gapes at the back so it could have done with more tension in this section. There were no instructions to stabilize the shoulder seams but I did this anyway with a bit of stay tape.


I used a twin needle to finish the hems and put woolly nylon in the bobbin. I’d heard good things about this stuff and I can report that it works. Being a bit stretchy it has the necessary give to stop the ridge effect you often get when using a twin needle. I’ll be using this stuff a lot more in future. I used wonder tape to keep my hem in place when sewing it up. This worked much better than pins on my curly fabric.

For my second iteration, I used a gorgeous mustard stripe jersey bought in Marseille. It was super cheap, 3 euros for 1 metre. This time I sewed the neckband after finishing both shoulder seams. I measured the neckline and took about 1.5”off the length of the neck band. I quartered both the neckband and neckline and used these markers when sewing in the neckband. This worked much better than the previous method and the neckband sits nice and flat.


To achieve a super neat finish I stuck the hem down with hemming tape before using my twin needle and woolly nylon. I think this gives more stability to the jersey and prevents channelling. I’m so pleased with the fit and finish of this tee. All the stripes match at the side seams and the sleeves look symmetrical. One of my goals was to perfect how I finish knits and I’ve nailed it with this tee. I don’t think I’ll be buying RTW tees anytime soon.

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9 Responses to The perfect tee

  1. Kathryn says:

    These both look great!! I love that mustard stripe. As I started reading your post I was all ready to suggest halving & quartering the neckband, like you I’ve found this to be the most effective way to get a good fitted neck band. Wooly nylon really does help doesn’t it?!

  2. Thimberlina says:

    Well done, they look fab, I’ve just discovered the stay tape for hemming knits and can’t believe I’ve managed this long without it 😀

  3. Louise Perry says:

    These look great. That mustard stripe is gorgeous. I stick down hems too before Sewing, gives great results.

  4. Julie says:

    Two great fitting t shirts, I especially love the yellow/mustard stripe. Great tips too, so thanks.

  5. Pingback: Sew now magazine pinafore dress | Pootle and make

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