Steely Seamstress

Sewing for life

Let’s twist again……T-shirt with a twist at the hem


A little while ago I was browsing Studio Faro’s website. If you’ve not taken a look at this, do have a look. In particular I love their pattern puzzles; a bunch of seriously weird-looking sewing patterns. It really is quite a puzzle to work out how these 2-d shapes can morph into a 3-d garment!

I became really obsessed with trying to bring this particular pattern to life. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any detailed instructions for creating the pattern (this is the page on Studio Faro, which doesn’t have much detail). There are also no instructions for constructing this beast either, so it took quite a bit of courage to give this one a go.

Pattern Puzzle Hip Twist Top

Pattern Puzzle Hip Twist Top

I started trying to find all similar twisted hem t-shirts on the internet to help me with this. I made this Pinterest board to store them:

Of course, I discovered there were actual patterns which had this twist feature, namely McCalls pattern M7975 or the Nottingham top from Itch to Stitch. I could have made everything so much easier for myself, but where would the fun be in that?

Itch to Stitch Nottingham Top

Itch to Stitch Nottingham Top

McCalls M7975

McCalls M7975

My next step, was to make the pattern. As my t-shirt base, I used Kwik Sew K4208, which I’ve sewn numerous times, but it did differ from the Studio Faro t-shirt sloper because it has grown on sleeves. I hesitated for a while (weeks in fact), but finally the Easter weekend saw me finally sorting myself out and making this one.

T-shirt with twist detail

T-shirt with twist detail

Pattern drafting:

Step 1. The back pattern piece is the same as the back piece for a standard t-shirt

Step 2. Retrace the front pattern piece.

Step 3. Draw on the front pattern piece, the lines as shown in the Studio Faro picture below.

  • Start by marking the centre front.
  • Decide on a position for the knot (slightly below the waist and off-centre to the right of the centre front)
  • Above the knot: draw 3 lines from the knot position to the shoulder / armhole, spacing them (as shown in the picture below) on the right front and on the left front
  • Below the knot: draw 3 lines from the knot position to the side seam, spacing them (as shown in the picture below) on the right front and on the left front


Studio Faro (twist hem) drawing

Studio Faro (twist hem) drawing

Step 4. Number each of the segments of the pattern (I numbered mine clockwise from top left from 1 -13, so I didn’t get confused when the pattern had been cut into pieces.

Step 5. Cut along the lines on the pattern.

Step 6. Lay the pattern pieces on a large sheet of tracing paper.

Step 7. Spread the pattern pieces so that you get an arrangement as shown below:

Cutting out the twist t-shirt

Cutting out the twist t-shirt

Next, cut out the front and back pattern pieces from the fabric.


Step 1. Sew the shoulder seams (inserting clear elastic to prevent them stretching out with wear.

Step 2. Stitch the hem at the front until about two centimetres from the side seam.

Step 3. Make the twist: fold the right lower segments over the left lower segments and pin back in place at the waist seams

Step 4. Stitch the twist in place, first use the sewing machine to stitch close into the knot for a centimetre or two (safer than using the overlocker to prevent cutting the knot accidentally).

Step 5. Using the overlocker, stitch the twist fully in place at the waist seam.

Step 6. Stitch the side seams

Step 7. Complete the front hem and the back hem.

Step 8. Stitch the sleeve hems.

Step 9. Sew a band and attach it at the neckline.

I found this excellent You Tube video which is a step-by step guide to sewing McCalls M7975. I must confess I watched it after I had made my t-shirt and I discovered that these instructions suggest sewing the front hem before constructing the twist, just like I did.

Close-up of side twist in my t-shirt


Star T-shirt front view

Star T-shirt front view

Final thoughts:

I think I made the hole for the knot a little too big and could’ve got away with a smaller hole for the gathered fabric. It isn’t visible from the outside anyway, so it doesn’t matter much. Making a smaller hole would have made the front hem stage more difficult, of course (see the McCalls video above and you’ll see that!) I wonder whether it might be better to cut off the left dangly bit (can’t think of a different name for this) and use it as separate pattern piece. After all, the seam that would be needed to attach it again, after hemming the front, would be hidden by the knot. This t-shirt uses that approach.

T-shirt with twist back view

T-shirt with twist back view

The pattern seems to work regardless of the grown-on sleeves. I think there is quite a lot of volume around the shoulders, but that is probably no bad thing for a summer t-shirt. I chose a cotton-elastane blend jersey from Like Sew Amazing. It’s beautifully soft, but I worried if it had enough drape. But looking at the photo, the front seems to drape well.

Finally, here’s a side view (just for Gillian at Crafting a Rainbow)

T-shirt with a twist side view

T-shirt with a twist side view


Author: steelyseamstress

Sewing a new wardrobe

2 thoughts on “Let’s twist again……T-shirt with a twist at the hem

  1. It looks great!! Wow, it starts so strange and ends up so wearable!

  2. Pingback: Me Made May 2020: Week 3 – Less stripes, more sun | Steely Seamstress

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