14 things to do with our basic t-shirt patterns

T-shirts are so quick and easy to make. Once you understand the basics, some of which I covered in this tutorial but which are covered in much greater detail in our T-shirt pattern instructions, you’ll be off and running! After you’ve made a few of them you might start to think about interesting ways you can switch them up a bit and customize them.

Here are a few ideas for you to use on the School Bus and Men’s and Women’s Metro T-Shirt patterns.

1. Use our color blocking tutorial to add a second fabric. I love the idea of combining a floral printed knit with a solid, like this:


2. Color block to add a faux raglan sleeve. I love using several tonal colors in one shirt.


3. Add a simple shoulder detail with applique or just top-stitch the raw edges of another knit fabric at the shoulders.

t-shirt-shoulder-detail Continue reading →

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sign up now for our first in-studio weekend workshop!

Update: This workshop has already filled up, and we’ve created a waiting list. Thanks so much for your interest, everyone. I would imagine we’ll hold more workshops in the future, so stay tuned.

I’ve always said I wouldn’t do this, but after many, many requests I’ve finally been persuaded to try it: the first ever weekend workshop at our studio in Brooklyn NY, May 31-June 1, 2014 !

This will be a very intimate affair, which is how I prefer to do things. We’ll be opening enrollment to just six people. And what a weekend it will be! We’ll spend Saturday and Sunday, May 31-June 1, learning to make a muslin and to fit patterns and anything else we feel like doing. (With just six people we’ll have the flexibility to do pretty much whatever we want, right?) The small size of the group will give us a chance to really get to know each other and spend time together, and you’ll have lots of time to work on developing a muslin that works well for you while learning lots of tips and techniques in the process.




Here are the details: Bring a pattern you’ve been wanting to sew for yourself and I’ll help you with it. By the end of the weekend you’ll have a better understanding of fit and you’ll feel more confident in making clothing for yourself. We’ll practice fitting on each other so you’ll understand how to make changes, and you’ll see those alterations in action. I’ve found that this method really helps everyone to learn more and to return home at the end of the weekend with many new skills.

You’ll be responsible for your own lodging and most meals, but I can direct you toward a few great hotels that are convenient to the studio. On Saturday evening we’ll adjourn to my apartment for drinks, and then anyone who is interested can continue on to have dinner together at a favorite neighborhood restaurant.

The fee includes the workshop as well as patternmaking supplies, pattern paper, muslin, and lunch for two days. A non-refundable deposit is required at sign-up. Enrollment is first come, first served. Update: the class has been filled.

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introducing t-shirt patterns for the whole family

A few months ago I mentioned that we were working on a basic T-shirt pattern, since we’ve never done one and so many of you have asked for it. When the spring patterns came out last month, quite a few of you wondered where it was. Well, as we were working on the kids’ T-shirt we started thinking that it might be nice to have a women’s T-shirt as well. Which made us think that a men’s T-shirt might also be a good idea. And before we knew it we had a whole family of T-shirt patterns: women, men, big kids, and small kids.




So here they are: four new digital T-Shirt patterns. We named the kids’ patterns the School Bus T-Shirt, and since grown ups don’t usually ride the school bus we chose another method of mass transportation and called theirs the Men’s Metro T-Shirt and the Women’s Metro T-Shirt.




These are the basic T-shirts you reach for, day in and day out. The women’s T-shirt has a slim, flattering fit with a neckline that’s not too high and not too low. The men’s T-shirt isn’t too loose or too tight. And the men’s and women’s patterns include both short and long sleeve options.




The kids get even more options for their T-shirt pattern. In addition to classic unisex short and long sleeves, we’ve also added a more feminine short capped sleeve version that has a narrower neckband for the girls. So the kids get three views, lucky them!








If you’ve never sewn with knits before, this is a great pattern to get you started. Knits are much easier to sew than you might think, and you honestly don’t need a serger to get good results. These patterns (like all our knit patterns) explain how to sew knits using both a regular sewing machine and a serger, and we give lots of tips and tricks to help you along, from the very start to the finishing details.




And if you’re wondering about where to buy knit fabrics, which are notoriously difficult to find in many fabric stores, we have lots of good resources for you! Stay tuned for all the options. We’ve got the scoop on quite a few exciting new collections and choices for you.

Since we have T-shirt patterns for everyone, we thought it might be nice to offer a family pack of patterns. Of course you can purchase each of the T-shirt individually, but we’ve also put together a package that includes all four patterns for a special price that’s a significant savings over purchasing all the individual patterns. Call it the economy pack if you like.




I know you’re going to get a lot of use out of these patterns. I’ll be showing you all sorts of things you can do with them, much as we did for the Raglan T-Shirt pattern, as well as lots of ideas for styling your T-shirts for extra versatility. Because in addition to being really comfortable, we love T-shirts because they can be worn so many ways. That’s why they’re considered basics, right?

P.S. Many thanks to our models: our own S and our little friend N as well as our friends and studio neighbors, Brian and Payton of Flat Vernacular, who make some really fantastic wallpapers and home furnishings. We just used one of their fabulous prints for a wall in our apartment. I’ll show that to you soon.

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inspiration: easter dresses

Easter is next weekend already. How did that happen so fast?  It’s always fun to sew up a pretty dress for my little girl for Easter, so I thought I’d share some inspiration with you today to get those wheels turning.

easter dress inspiration

This lovely dress by Tea Collection is almost the spitting image of our new Hide And Seek pattern!  Sew it up in some Michael Miller Cotton Couture and create your own textured fabric on the yoke (browse the trim section of the fabric store, or maybe add a little handstitching?).  Check out this tutorial to add ruffle sleeves, and your little one will have a unique and special Easter dress that transitions nicely to playtime, too.

Continue reading →

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narrow hem with ban-rol

When we were sewing silk and rayon samples of the Cappuccino Dress + Tunic for the photo shoot I wanted to find a method of hemming that would be easy and fast. I often hand-sew silk hems because I like the finish and I don’t mind spending extra time. But the Cappuccino is a relatively casual style that can handle a machine-sewn hem, so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to try a few machine hemming techniques.

If you spend any time on Pinterest, you may have seen this fantastic tutorial for sewing a baby hem using Ban-Rol.

ban-rol-roll prepared Ban-Rol

I’ve never used Ban-Rol and was eager to give this idea a try because it looks so easy and neat. But I didn’t want a baby hem, just a narrow hem about 1/4″ wide. Still, I thought the same technique would work, and it did! Here’s what I did.

Continue reading →

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feature friday: smocked garden party dress by darcy struble

Liesl mentioned this gorgeous smocked version of the Garden Party Dress the other day in her spring pattern round-up part 2, but it’s just so perfect I think it deserves its own feature, don’t you?


smocked garden party dress by darjeena


Let’s all collectively oooooo and aaaahhh at how pretty it is….


smocked garden party dress by darjeena


Our newest spring dresses can go in many different directions style-wise, and this Garden Party takes on a decidedly vintage feel in peach fabric with scallop hand smocking.  It was sewn by Darcy Struble, darjeena on Flickr.  Darcy references this tutorial for the pleating and Liesl’s Smocked Necklace workshop on Creativebug as well.

Beautiful work, Darcy!

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