Wardrobe Basics with the Anything but Basic Tee

Hello friends! The New Year is a time for change and fresh opportunities. From what I’ve seen a lot of other sewists are using this time to set new sewing goals, or pick their patterns for the months to come. I’m doing something similar by continuing the theme of pattern of the month, but adding in a seasonal flavour whereby I’ll be picking holes in my wardrobe each season and sewing for those! And since it’s now so hot and I’m disinclined to pull on a button-up blouse, I knew I had to make some basic T-shirts. I managed to find some stretch fabric on sale and once again sat down to learn more about this kind of sewing, using the the Anything but Basic Tee pattern.

I honestly cannot praise this pattern enough. I scrolled through pages and pages of free T-shirt patterns without finding one that appealed to me. Mostly because of their more modern designs, which doesn’t mesh well with what I sew and wear on the regular. But as soon as I saw that this had a high-crew neck variation I was keen to give it a go. I was taken aback at how detailed the instructions were and that the pattern included the option to remove layers so as to only print the exact size, or sizes, I wanted. The instruction booklet includes a wealth of information about grading the pattern which was also useful, given I have such a short torso and needed to take several inches out of the length.

I settled on a straight size 4 and removed two inches from the bodice. Although I felt like I could take another inch and it still wouldn’t be too short for me, given I prefer to tuck tops in. However, I had enough of the fabric for making other variations and I was keen to get at least one more long-sleeved top into my wardrobe despite it being the wrong season, so I batch cut two out of the same fabric and took them both to sew at once. I decided against sewing them on the overlocker, and instead settled for using the overlocker to finish the seams once I’d finished. I discovered that the fabric had much better stretch over the hems and sleeves when the edges were left raw, but were more constricted if I tried to finish them with the overlocker. I did get a bit of waviness along the hems, but I’m not too bothered as I know I could likely remove that issue when I eventually invest in a walking foot.

But I have to admit that these two were not the first attempt I made at this pattern. I had in fact scored some cotton-spandex on a sale a little while ago and decided to test the pattern, adding in contrasting ribbing on the collar using a scrap of orange ribbing I found at the op-shops which happened to match. I loved the look but felt that the orange neckband alone felt a little out of place, and so remedied this through drafting and adding two more bands to the sleeves to round it out. But no sooner had I done this then I realised it looked like sleepwear rather than an actual T-shirt I could wear out and about. I laughed about it, and have since completed the look through some matching shorts in the same fabric!

Overall I think this pattern is an absolute gem. It was quick and simple to make, and it didn’t require all that much alteration. Although I think if I were to do it again in the long-sleeved variation I would decrease the seam allowance in the bicep area for comfort.

Final Thoughts

Pattern Made: The Anything but Basic Tee by the Do It Yourself Better Club

Views Made: The high-crew neck, in a long and short sleeve.

Sizes Made: Size 4

Alterations Made: I shortened the bodice by 2 inches.

Ease of Construction: I found this pattern quite simple to put together. The only bit that required a lot of concentration was getting the collar attached without stretching the neck out, but even that wasn’t too difficult once it was pinned in several places.

Recommended Level: I would call this a beginner pattern, as I feel it has some great techniques for learning to sew with stretch fabric and the instructions are very detailed and supportive.

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