I decided to make this t-shirt after buying the Concord t-shirt pattern with the discount from the Sewing Weekender. I thought this pattern might help me for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I would really like to get a great fitting t-shirt, and secondly, this t-shirt pattern had various options with different necklines and sleeve and hem lengths, so once I had perfected the fit I could revisited it time and time again just changing the neckline or the sleeve length. Couldn’t help thinking that Concord should have an “e” at the end of it, and have to check myself each time I write the word and remind myself I’m not writing about the plane!
The fit adjustments
After choosing my size (see this post), I selected the mid-length sleeve, hip length and scoop neckline. I then traced out the pattern and compared it to an existing pattern I have used before. I chose to compare my tracing to a t-shirt that I know fits well across the shoulders. I was rather perturbed by the result. It was obvious that the shoulder was way too narrow. (Looking online I found that this reviewer had also mentioned this.) This wasn’t surprising as this is a standard adjustment I make on patterns. The other thing that struck me as interesting was how “scooped” the armscye is on this pattern. I wondered about why this might be the case. Could it be that because the drafting is for the curvy market? I decided to widen the shoulders and then make the armscye less scooped. Better to leave in more fabric and “nibble away” at the fit if it needs adjustment.
I also needed to grade between sizes: between size 6 and size 12 from the bust to the waist, and from size 12 to size 2 from the waist to the hip. This is quite a big change and essentially makes the t-shirt very straight in shape up and down the body.
I need good basics in my wardrobe, so I chose a very neutral fabric for this t-shirt. But I didn’t go for a plain colour, I chose this Denim-look design in dark grey. It is a cotton-elastane blend. I must admit, I was a little disappointed when it arrived in the post. I had been hoping it would be a marl, yarn-dyed with grey and black. However, it is essentially a print on white jersey. It isn’t what I was expecting. But I wouldn’t call it a bad choice, because it still looks like the sort of thing I was after, something rather plain and grey-ish.
The Concord’s instructions are nice and simple with very clear illustrations. I particularly liked the tip for basting (tacking) the neckline bands closed before attaching them to the t-shirt. The neckband is probably one of the most even I have ever done and I will keep using this technique, even if it takes a little longer.
My second disappointment with this project came in the form of the sleeve tabs. How I wish I had read the instructions in full before I started! I didn’t notice that these are designed as fake sleeve tabs and that they are not functional. You sew through all the layers and fix the buttons and the sleeve tabs in place permanently. If I had known this I would have made mine functional by adding a button-hole to the sleeve tab. However, I didn’t want to make a bad job of this and felt that the fabric, being light-weight, needed some interfacing in it for the button-holes. I thought it best to leave well alone and not try to take the sleeve tabs off, potentially ruining the sleeves, or indeed make nasty button-holes.
This also lead to a mistake, which was to add the mid-length cuffs to the t-shirt, rather than simply hem the sleeves as directed when making the version with the sleeve tabs. Actually, as this turned out fine, misreading the instructions and adding the cuffs wasn’t really a problem. I think though this is exactly how the t-shirt should be made if those sleeve tabs were functional.
Let’s look at the fit:
- The shoulder width appears to be fine, but this was only after my adjustment.
- I probably was too cautious about the armscyes and should have left them scooped. There is a little bagginess at the front shoulder and something to correct in the next version.
- The extra I added to the armscye on the back shoulder is probably just about fine.
- The bust fit is great. I don’t have any excess fabric or overly stretched fabric.
- The fit around the waist is generous, but I had to grade between several sizes (between size 6 and size 12 from the bust to the waist, and from size 12 to size 2 from the waist to the hip). I also don’t think the waist and bust necessarily hit at quite the right height in this pattern for my body, which might explain why this was off.
- The scoop neck surprisingly is spot on for me. Usually scoops are way too low for my body, so I was surprise that I used the pattern without altering this.
- The arms aren’t too tight or loose. I have skinny arms so others might find these a problem area.
I do like the way the sleeves look with sleeve tabs. Alas, this would be even better if the sleeve tabs were functional.
As far as comfort is concerned I have worn my t-shirt all day and hardly noticed I was wearing it, so it definitely passes the comfort test. I do think I made it a little too large, but I will re-evaluate this later in the year. I may decide this is a better t-shirt for the colder months if it works better with a layer underneath.
Overall, I would say this is a great t-shirt pattern with a good range of options for the neckline, sleeve length and hem length. I’m not convinced that I managed to make a t-shirt that was the perfect fit, but it is closer than some of my t-shirts. Perhaps I need to go right back to the beginning and actually made a block for knits from scratch, just like I did for woven bodices.