Terrible Tent or Trendy Tee??

Remember that sew slowing from March?  Yeah, I might be rethinking that now!  There are so many things I need to make, patterns to try and fabric to convert into pretty clothes that that idea might have to wait a while.  I still don’t want to race ahead with the self drafted trousers, they need to be right.  In the meantime though I have stuff to make and time to catch up on.

While I was not sewing I was re-stocking my pattern and fabric stash.  One of the pieces of fabric was a gorgeous blue and beige Ikat type print I bought on Etsy from Heather from Handmade By Heather B.  The fabric is gorgeous, I love the print and the colour blue is perfect.  The jersey itself is soft, has a fabulous handle and drapes beautifully. I thought I’d pair it with a new pattern purchase, the Shirt Tail Tee from HotPatterns.

The Shirt Tail Tee by HotPatterns
The Shirt Tail Tee by HotPatterns

The pattern was a PDF purchase, no copy shop version, so I was in for a bit of cutting and taping.  Once printed, I noticed there were no borders on the pages, I thought initially that the sizing was incorrect.  It turned out the printing went right to the edges of the paper, I just needed to line the pages up right next to each other.  There are two versions of the front of the tee, a solid front or a front made of 3 pieces all cut on different grainlines.  I went with the solid.  Falling between the 18 & 20 I opted for the smaller size because I figured there would be plenty of ease.

Instructions are pretty simple, sew shoulder seams, fold neckband in half lengthways, attach to neckline, sew centre back seam, hem shirt, sew side seams, sew sleevebands, insert sleeves.  The toile was quick, I used a lightweight jersey from the stash for the job. I was fairly happy with the result, it was baggier than I really wanted, and definitely too long, I decided to shorten it by 5cm but left the rest, I thought as the blue jersey was drapy-er that it would flow better around the body. So I went ahead and cut & sewed.

But this is where it all went wrong.  The instructions do not call for stabilisation of any seams.  I should have listened to my questioning self and added some, but I didn’t.  The jersey I used was so soft and drapey that it stretched while I was working with it, not noticably but enough.  Suffice to say that once I’d finished everything and put the tee on, it was a good 3-4 sizes bigger than the toile!!  AARRGGHH

Fast & Fabulous Shirt Tail Tee by HotPatterns
Fast & Fabulous Shirt Tail Tee by HotPatterns

It’s horrible!  A huge tent/sack that’s so unflattering it’s just not even funny.  The neckline is massive, the little sleeves hang far too low.  I hate it!  So I took to Instagram to see if anyone had ideas for me to rescue the thing and there were some good responses.  But I was too despondent, I’d just wasted all that lovely fabric!!! I put it aside to sort the next day, but on getting into my PJ’s that night had a bit of an epihany.  My PJs are handmade, remember Karen’s Pyjama Party? I made a couple of pairs then that have been in rotation, and I realised the top I’d made is the perfect style of tee for me.  It has a scooped neck, it’s floppy, not fitted, has a cap sleeve….  Eureka! So the next morning I cut what was left of Heather’s fabric and made a new tee.  Using style 113 from Burdastyle magazine 12/2008 this is what I have now!  Tah-dah…


The colours are perfect for me, I tend to have a rather monochrome wardrobe, greys and blacks in the winter, blues and creams/beiges in the summer.

DSC00041-1The pattern itself is quick and easy to sew, it consists of the front and back, raglan sleeves in two pieces and a neckband.  I lengthened the tee by 2cm, just because I could!  To combat this fabric’s desire to stretch I stabilsed everything!!  Using Vilene bias tape I fused the neckline on all pieces, the raglan seams and the centre sleeve seams.  The only seams that don’t have a liberal application of bias tape are the side seams.  And it’s worked!  The fabric drapes and flows beautifully, and I don’t have to worry that the neckline is going to end up below my boobs 🙂  I’ve decided I may need to make another, there’s a new piece of jersey on my cutting table that I got from Fabric Godmother in my latest splurge and I think it’ll look fab in this pattern.

Neckline detail, 3 small pleats either side of the CF.
Neckline detail, 3 small pleats either side of the CF.

Soooo much better!!  It drapes, it swooshes and I love it! 🙂  What to do with the tent?  Maybe that’ll be a pj top.  But for now I’ve put it aside, I will have a think, it will either be recut or used to sleep in on the hot summer nights.  If we get any…

Author: Anne W

I love fabric, and sewing. And I could do nothing else but sew, all day, every day, if I could!

14 thoughts on “Terrible Tent or Trendy Tee??”

  1. How infuriating! I have a Hot Patterns tee printed and taped. I was so cross with it once I’d done the taping (their PDF’s are not remotely intuitive) that it’s sitting in a corner waiting for me to forgive it! The Burda tee is gorgeous. You have to reuse the fabric from the naughty top…it’s so very beautiful.

    1. Oh dear!! I do find their patterns to be surprisingly “naive” in layout, content and look. Which pattern did you buy? I’m wondering if it’s any good in giving this pattern another shot, but with a much less drapey fabric!

      1. “naive”! Love it! It’s such a shame they don’t put more effort into the PDF patterns. Their whole range is really quite pricey, and shipping is ridiculous, so the PDFs are the only way I’ll really buy these. But they aren’t fun to use, so I’m not enthused to spend my money with them. I bought the Blouse Back Tee. One day, when I’m less cross, I will sew it up!

      2. Aah, yes, I looked at that when it first came out, then thought I should probably draft one! Pity I forgot that when this pattern was released ☺

  2. What an improvement! I keep being surprised how a simple garment such as a T-shirt can end up being so complicated. But that Burda top surely is a winner. Couldn’t you try and cut a from and back of the Burda top from the wadder, maybe with contrast sleeves? Kinda two for the price of one?

  3. Your 2nd tee is wonderful. What a pretty pattern with those neckline pleats which showcase that beautiful fabric so well! I have never used HotPatterns, although I have one shirt pattern of theirs in my stash. I hope you can salvage some of the over-sized Hot mess for something that you like.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Making and Books

I like making, and I like books.

The Insouciant Stitcher

Creativity beats Insanity

Fabric Engineering

Creating a well-fitting wardrobe, piece by piece

Yet Another Unfinished Project

Crafting better mental health by sewing myself happy. Slow fashion, conscious consuming and an effort to live a more ethical life.

A Tailored View

The thinking behind a project


a lot of cake and a little frosting

Sew Everything Blog

Always sewing. Sewing Everything. Sharing the Sewing with Everyone

Your Stitches May Vary

sewing, making, and mental health.

The Easy Blues

craft, diy, natural dyeing

Creating in the Gap

Forever sewing

Love, Lucie

Where hands and minds are rarely still


Adventures of a plus size renegade seamstress


Create beautiful bags with confidence!

tales of the sewing city

slow sewing, creativity, and a fabric obsession


Be your own luxury brand !

Marsha Style

PDF sewing patterns & sewing blog

Buttons and Trims

Sewing - Learning - Making

Designed By Danita

"Seams" like I've been sewing forever!

the curious kiwi

Happily immersed in sewing nerdyness…

KJ Sews

Sewing and more


Faith, family and creativity

Sew My Style

Forever sewing


A refashion and sewing blog

Tailored by Kate

My sewing record

The Notions Tin

Forever sewing

Girls in the Garden

Forever sewing

The Savvy Sartorialist

Fashion, Lifestyle & Travel by Trish O'Sullivan


Sewing lessons in Lindfield, West Sussex

Just another blog

Permanently sleep deprived. Trying to make a lot of stuff.

jess sews clothes

blogging my homemade wardrobe


Forever sewing

The German Edge

Forever sewing

Make&Wear - sewing-knitting-making

An Irish sewing, knitting and making Blog

%d bloggers like this: