T shirts a-plenty

Getting ready for a big overseas trip can be exhausting. Firstly there’s the self imposed deadline to sew ALL THE THINGS. As departure day creeps ever nearer anxiety levels rise, what if I don’t get it all done. Then I don’t get it all done, the plane takes off and my world didn’t fall in a heap, sound familiar?

This time I happened to get a bee in my bonnet about T shirts. I had some excellent merino knit jersey, Spotlight cutesy print and some nice plain knits to magik into wearable items.

Tee #1, destined for sleepwear if it didn't pass muster. Surprisingly I like this one!
Tee #1, destined for sleepwear if it didn’t pass muster. Surprisingly I like this one!

The raglan shape seems to suit me. Princess reckons it makes shoulders look wider, but I argue  it cuts the shoulder line – I’d be interested in your opinion? Wider or narrower?

Raglans tend to fit me better across the upper chest and arms I think. I didn’t draft this rendition from scratch though; I started with the same chart used to make the raglan doiley top. Knowing there’d be a bit of tweaking, I started with a knit fabric I wasn’t in love with. It took about 3 renditions before I was happy with the fit. Completely scientific I tell ya! Pin the baggy bit out, sew the pinned bit out, rinse and repeat till the fit is suitable. Of course its important to ‘track changes’ on your pattern as you do this. Otherwise you’ll get to the end of the process and have to start again!


Amy Herzog is a knitting guru. She whispers hand knitted garments into fit submission, so I listened when she said “raglans allow for greater movement than set in sleeves”. Maybe thats why I like them – its the Olivia Newton John in me – getting all physical!
The white 100% cotton jersey is delicious and after being tormented in the washing machine and dryer – became even better. I recall this was hugely expensive for what it was, about $25/m I think – for white cotton jersey for goodness sake! But my long sleeved tee is lovely to wear, though I get the feeling I’d like a bit more distraction over the chesticles, perhaps a jumper? Its pretty good as a layering piece. The other thing to know about raglans is that some wrinkling is a given – yay! The inner perfectionist can step down!

favourite for layering
favourite for layering
This had been worn all day but looks like I could take some length out of the back?
This had been worn all day but looks like I could take some length out of the back?

In this version I was utterly unhappy about the centre front button bands, so I attempted a distressed yellow zig zag to hold the base in place. I really must try a collared version. Spotlight’s selection of jerseys floored me recently, cute but not cutesy whales and assorted nautical references. Good colours for summer and I can envisage a lovely mustard skirt with this whale of a tee.

Embracing the happy accident and repeat to make it look purposeful aesthetic!
Embracing the happy accident and repeat to make it look purposeful aesthetic!









Now for the disclosure part. I can just hear you asking yourself  “so what did she pack in her suitcase?” Ummm, a marle grey Gap Tee, a dark grey Bassike Tee and my white long sleeved self made Tee. I’m incorrigibly embarrassed about wearing anything remotely ‘homemade’ looking. Especially in asia where I often feel judged! It seems to be the deisgner capital of the east and yet when I see people wearing brand names splashed across their bodies, it never even occurs to me that they might be genuine – because they’re not!

This lady kindly modelled her shoes for me when I asked. Recognise the print? Its a Liberty knock off and in fact I used this Liberty fabric for the Freddie vest. I can imagine the knock offs must frustrate the heck out of designers and certainly they don’t see the returns on their copyrights. Thanks to the lovely girl and her feet though, I doubt she bought them as Liberty knock offs.





Add yours →

  1. I haven’t worn raglan since I started sewing but have a theory that you can manipulate the design and make sloping shoulders look more athletic and square shoulders look more feminine just by playing around with the position of the seams and the colours/prints of the fabrics.

    Your tees all look great. The whale fabric is sooo sweet.

  2. I *love* your home-grown tees and am inspired by them to try a raglan sleeve tee to bolster a very slim summer wardrobe. Since learning to sew (relatively recently) I am trying to make what I can – i.e. the more casual end of my clothing options. But after finishing a couple of fairly disappointing woven tops (great fabric on the roll and straightforward pattern, but really a frumpy combination when made up! – the traps of inexperience….) I am loving the idea of some additional lightweight knits. I have made – and enjoy wearing – the two wide Tessuti tops, Mandy tee and the free download pattern, but your more fitted tees are a lovely alternative. Thank you so much for the link to House of Jo, too: it’s a really interesting site.

    • Hi Jacqueline, I often fall into the trap of making clothes for my fantasy life – eschewing the humble tee. I think we can do a better job at fit by personalising a pattern and then get great value for the time spent on pattern alterations by magicking 3/4 in a row!! I love the look of that free Tessuti top but haven’t made it yet. Funny though, I’m self conscious in tight tops so enjoy wearing the flowy ones like Tessuti’s – so suitable for our hot summers. Thanks for popping by.

  3. I like Marianna’s comment. I have to think about it a bit in regard to shoulders. I could definitely see how playing with a darker or lighter colour for the sleeves could have an effect. I have always liked raglans, but have heard that they may or may not flatter a relatively larger bust (I mean relative to chest size, such as I have). I don`t know if I have an opinion either way. Do you feel bustier in a raglan than in another shoulder style? I’m not sure if I do, maybe because I tend to wear them oversized. I don’t think we need to hide the chesticles, in any case.
    If you`ve got them, flaunt them!

    As always, the finish on your work is lovely.

    Funny, too, about the knock offs. When I lived in Korea, many moons ago, I used to think the knock-offs were funny as they’d often misspell words and phrases in English. I guess you’d call that “seconds” more than knock-offs. Gianni always reminds me of the same in Italy – that most of the bags people are carrying are fake- though I’m a plain jane handbag gal anyway, buying from no-name leather artisans instead.

    • The phrases on those T shirts crack me up sometimes. Its all I can do to not photograph everyone’s clothes!! But I hear the french say the same thing about ours. Honestly I feel less chesty in raglans, but more shoulder-y, which is not such an issue… except when I see that back view. Move over Arnie!

  4. My theory for what it is worth – all one colour raglans need a lower neckline. If you are using a darker sleeve the neckline can be a bit higher.

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