introducing the liesl + co. chai tee sewing pattern

Sometimes the easiest way to get dressed in the morning is just to pull on jeans and a t-shirt, isn’t it? I do it frequently enough myself. Of course, this also means that often the easiest way to dress up a little is to go a bit fancier with the top, right? Nothing crazy, just a little bit of an upgrade.

If this describes you how dress some mornings too, I think you’ll be interested in this new pattern.

That idea–an upgraded t-shirt–is how the Chai Tee sewing pattern came to be. I wanted to give you options for staying just as comfortable as when you wear your favorite t-shirt, but with a little more everyday elegance.

The Chai Tee is a riff on the basic tee, dressed up a little bit. It has a relaxed fit, not snug at all, but also with a feminine shape. The details include a shoulder yoke and pleats to allow room for the bust. The neckline is a bit more open and is finished with binding instead of the basic T-shirt neckband. The cute little sleeves can be cuffed or un-cuffed and, since I know you love this option, the pattern includes pieces for A/B, C, and D cup sizes to help you get a flattering fit–even though it’s a t-shirt.

This is the t-shirt you can wear to work and still look totally professional. It’s a great wardrobe basic. Layer it under a blazer or cardigan in cooler weather, or wear it alone in the warmer months. It accessorizes well (because of that open neckline), and it looks great with skirts and trousers as well. I sewed this pattern with just the sewing machine, so you absolutely don’t need a serger to make it.

Let’s talk about fabric, shall we? For best results that look the most like the photos on the pattern cover, I recommend a lightweight cotton jersey. I used Robert Kaufman’s classic Laguna cotton jersey as well as the newer Dana cotton/modal knit and loved the results with both fabrics. Some of our testers used slightly more dense cotton jersey and had equally great results.

You can also use drapier fabrics like rayon and linen jersey, but I would recommend that you drop down a size for a slimmer fit. But here’s the interesting thing, and it’s the reason I left 1/2″ seam allowances for this style: you can also use a drapey woven fabric for this pattern. If you choose to use a woven fabric, you’ll probably want to go up a size (or even two) since you won’t have the stretch of the knit. As soon as I have time, I’m going to sew one in a double gauze I’ve been saving. I suspect it will quickly become one of my favorite tops.

The Chai Tee will be available later this week, and you can get it in both paper and digital formats. Visit the product pages now to check the countdown clock to see how long until it’s ready to ship. If you like, you can leave your email address, and we’ll notify you once it’s available.

I hope you’ll tag it #lieslandco and #chaitee on Instagram. (By the way, I can’t account for the number of tagged posts that should be #chaitea instead of #chaitee over on Instagram, but I just have to let that go….)  I hope you’ll add your photos to the Liesl + Co. Flickr group as well. And don’t forget our Liesl + Co. Friends Facebook group where you can share your makes, ask questions, and see what everyone else is making with the pattern.




  1. Love this pattern!!

  2. Colleen Patterson

    I do love a tee with some upscale detail-definitely a wardrobe builder!

  3. Kelly

    So excited for this!! Clever name too!

  4. Susie

    Very nice!
    Are there sleeve length options?
    …and I do love the name!

    1. Susie, the shirt comes with two sleeve options, but both of them are short-sleeved styles. In the photos, the yellow version of the shirt shows the shorter of the two while the blue shirt shows the longer.

  5. Amy Bishop

    Love, love, love!

  6. Lynn

    Oh my goodness!! Love this, please do notify me when it’s available, I think I’ll spurge on the print version too 🙂 If there is any way to give it long sleeves for winter I’d be curious but it doesn’t look to me like that would work, eh?

  7. Elizabeth

    I second the sleeve options! 3/4 sleeves are more flattering at my stage of life

  8. Very snappy and oh my goodness, your daughter has grown up so much!

  9. Thank you for posting what fabric you used, and the suggestions about sizing up and down! The model really doesn’t look like it’s a jersey knit to me – it seems much smoother.

  10. JR

    I do wish I could see it on a model who wears a larger size; that would be helpful.

    1. Lynn

      I’m small and slim and I too find the model over-the-top thin. There’s thin and then there’s too thin.

      1. Lynn, let me share a little bit about our process. We don’t use professional models for our product photos. We always use friends and acquaintances–“real people.” The model for this photograph is an acquaintance of ours here in Madrid. She is an intelligent, healthy, and well adjusted young woman. Yes, she is very slim. But that is her natural body type. She happens to have a frame that is similar to our daughter’s, and we have received similar comments in the past when we have shown photos of our daughter modeling garments. As I’ve mentioned before in response to those comments, in her case that’s the way she is and the way she has always been. From the day she was born up until now, she has fallen at the 5th percentile for weight. There’s nothing any more wrong with that than someone who has a body frame that happens to land them at the 50th percentile or the 95th percentile of the growth curve. Bodies come in all shapes and sizes. The beauty of sewing is that you are able to make garments that fit well for all body shapes, sizes, and types. To give people a sense of what the style looks like on women with other shapes and sizes, we will be sharing photos of others wearing this style in coming days.

    2. JR, we have some blog posts in the works that will show other people wearing shirts they have made from the pattern as well.

  11. I indeed recognized myself on that first paragraph. I wear my Bento and Maritime tees almost daily and I am sure yhe same will happen with the Chai. Congrats on a great new pattern!

  12. Annette

    My daughters friend was having trouble with healthcare professionals when she brought her two little girls for their check-ups. They were considered underweight. Then her tall skinny husband accompanied them for the next appointment and the nurse just said, ok it’s genetic!

  13. Kathy

    Oooh, I’m excited about seeing it in a woven! I love rayon challis, and this seems like it would be wonderful.

  14. Erin

    Have been looking for a top just like this! So excited to make this one ASAP!

    (PS The reason there are so many “#chaitee” posts on Instagram is that “Tee” is the German word for tea.)

  15. Addie

    This style has a flattering shape and nice details. I am planning on purchasing it for next Summer. I REALLY appreciate you including the various bust sizes as that will really help me with fitting it. I see myself getting a lot of use out of this pattern. I like seeing the tester versions on various body shapes too.

  16. Kate Metzler

    Todd, I found your response about the model’s size to be disingenuous at best. Being in fashion, you surely must have considered how using such a thin model could be seen as perpetuating and condoning unhealthy standards of beauty, even if the particular model you used is “naturally” that thin. If your goal is to showcase naturally healthy models, where are your plus size friends? There are plenty of women on the opposite end of your size range who are healthy and well-adjusted in their size 18 tees, but I don’t see them on your pattern covers.
    I too was disappointed not to see the shirt modeled on at least an additional model who might give me a better sense of how the shirt might actually end up looking, if I sewed it in my size. The few examples I’ve been able to find on Instagram (especially difficult given the ill-considered hash tag) have a very strange look where the pleats open up over fuller bustlines. Maybe that is what explains the model choice? Anyway, as a long time customer you’ve lost me on this one. Very disappointed!

    1. Kate, please see Liesl’s blog post on this topic here:

      And you can see many more photos of this style worn by women of different shapes and sizes in this post:

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