I know a lot of people turn to RTW garments when it comes down to ‘The Basics’, and I get that, it makes sense when you only have so much time, you can’t always make everything. I for one also never really thought there was all that difference between T-shirts anyway, but how wrong am I!
Last summer I really wanted to go on the hunt for my ‘Dream T-Shirt’. I feel like there is something luxurious about being able to make the ideal ‘basic/staple’ garment, so I reached out to people through my Instagram stories for their T-Shirt pattern recommendations. I thought it was about time I compiled a handy little comparison guide.
So first of all I wanted to create a quick comparison chart of all the T-shirt pattern recommendations I received. This is not an exclusive list of patterns as I’ve since seen several others, but I think it is a good selection of what is out there.
From the recommendations I narrowed it down to 8 patterns that I fancied trying for myself, and I’ve been slowly chipping away at the list. I have made the patterns in different types of jersey, some are in a bamboo which gives a slight drapey look, and the others are in cotton jerseys.
My measurements currently are 41” bust, 37.5” wait and 44” hip. I’ve taken all the photos on the same day in hope it gives you the clearest comparison.
The Ruska from the Named clothing Breaking the Pattern book has got to be a favourite of mine. I love the simplicity of the detail given by the centre front seam, this is optional so I would leave it out if sewing with a patterned fabric. It has a loose fit and I’ve made it using a bamboo jersey.
I like that the Nora comes with several views, and can be sewn as a t-shirt or jumper, there is also a hack to turn this top into a cardigan, so versatile! I went with the stepped hem. Tilly has also recently expanded her size ranges so the patterns are more inclusive. I have made mine in a cotton jersey.
The Nikko is a favourite of mine, I have a RTW top that is similar that I love to wear. I like the close fit, waist shaping and the high neckline. I have made mine in a bamboo jersey.
I’ve made the Elliot the most out of all the patterns, I think the raglan sleeve is perfect for colour blocking, and I love that the top comes with so many different variations. I have also used this pattern for pyjama tops and jumpers. I have made this one in cotton jerseys.
The Basic Instinct tee is a great free pattern, it is a classic fit, unfortunately the size range is very limited, I have sewn the largest size in a bamboo jersey.
The Stellan Tee is another great free pattern, unfortunately again it comes in a very limited size range and I have again made the largest size. I like the slight shaping to the hemline of this top, it is made in a cotton jersey.
I really like the boxy oversized style of the Tyra Tee, I have made it in a cotton jersey.
I managed to squeeze all of the T-shirts I have made out of 1 metre of fabric, except for the nikko with long sleeves which used 1.5m. I think that t-shirts make for a satisfying sew as they use little fabric and are quick and simple to make (especially if using an overlocker!). I know a lot of people get put off by the idea of using a twin needle for hemming, I like to use a zig zag with a length of 4 and width of 3, personally I think this gives just as neat a finish and is a lot less hassle than a twin needle.
Lamazi has so many great collections of jersey fabrics that would be perfect for t-shirt making, and each range has a great selection of different colours.
The essential chic jerseys are an excellent range for t-shirts, there are so many colour choices and you can also find colour bundles that have already been put together ready for purchasing.
I really love working with the Bamboo as it is so soft and gentle on the skin, it has a fair amount of drape to it. If you are looking for something equally as soft but that doesn’t have as much drape then the Eco Chic jersey cotton and bamboo mix are ideal.
The Allure jerseys are a beautiful range, I have some in my stash ready for another Nikko top, they are buttery soft with rich colours.
Ribbed jerseys are particularly good for the Nikko by True Bias. From left to right - Cosy wide width ribbed jerseys, Meet Milk derby ribbed jerseys and the Meet Milk fine rib jerseys.
The Mind the maker organic cottons come in an incredible selection of colours, I particularly love the earth tones.
Pure Linen Jerseys are great for simple summer tops, I haven't used linen jersey before but there is a great blog post by Susan Young.
Last but not least there are the Meet Milk Tencel Stretch jerseys, which yet again come in an incredible range of colours.
So after my deep dive into T-shirts I dont think I’ll be underestimating a ‘basic’ garment again.