I was tempted not to bother writing this post, because the make I am sharing is just another Concord t-shirt. What more can I have to say about this t-shirt pattern that could possibly be worth me writing another post? On the other hand, I am very pleased with this new t-shirt and when I hit that sweet spot with a make, why wouldn’t I share?
The fabric is from Like Sew Amazing. It is basically a navy cotton-elastane blend jersey, but with speckles in white and turquoise. If I remember right, it is called “galaxy”. Essentially, the fabric was just the sort of thing I was looking for; it fits in with the palette of my wardrobe, isn’t too plain and isn’t too exciting either. I can see that this t-shirt is going to get a lot of wears.
I plumped for making the long-sleeved version of the Concord t-shirt this time. With my long-established tessellation skills and a bit of a nibble on the overall length of the t-shirt, I managed to squeeze out a long-sleeved t-shirt from just 1 metre. This long-sleeved version uses bands to finish the sleeves and I selected the crew neckline.
My intention with this t-shirt was to create a long-sleeved version that could be used as a layering item in winter. For me, this means that not only should it wearable under a jumper or cardigan, but it should be wearable over a camisole/ vest and under another t-shirt, a shirt, and then a jumper and coat. Layering is definitely a considerable when I’ve just read articles about three-hour winter power cuts.
I wore the t-shirt for working from home yesterday. It wasn’t a particularly warm day and I appreciated the deliberately-overlong sleeves and the high neck line. It isn’t quite time for full-layering yet, but I could see that the t-shirt was close-fitting enough that it could easily cope with more layers on top, but had enough stretch to accommodate warmer underwear underneath. Mission accomplished!
I have always admired anyone who can pair two (or more) fabrics together and make it look chic. I have quite few left over scraps, usually enough for a t-shirt front, or two t-shirt arms, but never seem to be able to pair anything together that looks good.
A couple of weekends ago, I was in Like Sew Amazing looking at the remnants and I spotted a reasonably sized piece of cotton-elastane jersey that I knew would make a short-sleeved t-shirt. Great, lovely – I need more t-shirts. When I got home I happened to be looking through my scraps and noted I still had a small amount of this violet jersey. It was a match made in heaven! Just look how brilliant these two fabrics look together!
The pattern I used was the Cashmerette concord t-shirt. I made a previous version here and noted the excess fabric at the front shoulders. I made a small adjustment here to try to lose some of the excess . I think it is a mild improvement. I’m not sure whether this is the perfect fit yet?
This t-shirt is a little short, an awkward length really that just about tucks in, but doesn’t fulfil the untucked look either. I was limited by the amount of fabric I had available (as I was using a remnant) and did consider using some of the purple jersey as a hem band. But that would have compromised the sleeves and the neckband, and I was keen that those should be prioritised.
Do you ever find you have an unexpected talent in life that really isn’t that useful. Well, mine is that I can match buttons and thread, with only a memory of the fabric. I really do get this so spot on I shock myself with this ability. Handy if I forget to go to a fabric shop without a swatch of fabric, but other than this what possible use is this weird talent? I would instantly trade it for better sea legs or a remotely average sense of direction!
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.
Lately I have been trying to improve the fit of my clothes. Nothing major, it isn’t as if I have massive fit problems with my clothes, but I’m just getting ultra fussy and I’m intrigued to see if starting from scratch will yield improvements.
The first fit improvements I made were to sleeveless tops. I did suffer from gaping armhole problems here. I drafted a custom bodice and when I made a new top, used the improvement armhole and dart size and positioning to get a much better fitting top.
More recently, I have wanted to tackle the fit of my t-shirts. I have used various patterns and some fit better than others. During the sewing weekender I tuned in to Jenny from Cashmerette and was interested in her thoughts on fit. I must admit I have never used a Cashmerette pattern and have generally thought of it as a pattern company aimed at the curvy market. My body is the opposite, being very straight, with hardly any difference between bust, waist and hip. But, on discovering that I needed to make essentially a full bust alteration on my custom bodice, I thought that perhaps looking at the sizing Cashmerette offers might be interesting.
To find out what size you are, Cashmerette offers a sizing calculator. So I made the four measurements it calls for; High Bust, Full Bust, Waist and Hip.
The one measurement I had real problems with was the High Bust. After showing Mister Steely my armpit several times, we concluded that ‘measuring tape over the top of your bust and underneath your armpits’ is not a very diagonal measurement for me. Is that significant? I don’t know. I tried and my measurements ranged from 82-84 cm for the High Bust, so I decided to enter both of these into the calculator.
The two resulting calculations are below:
Those calculations are using the cup size though that I used to buy in the shops. However, when I measured my cup size for the Simplicity 8229 bra I calculated that I was a C cup. However, this uses a Chest measurement (under the bust), rather than the High Bust measurement. So, I tried this out on the calculator and got these results:
At least it wasn’t too inconsistent, despite my difficulties with pinning down one of the measurements:
Size 4 C/ D for the bust
Size 12 for the waist
Size 2 at the hip
There will be quite a bit of grading between sizes as I expected, and I won’t be doing that small bust adjustment.
Luckily, the Sewing Weekender armed me with a discount for Cashmerette patterns. The Concord t-shirt (I keep thinking it should be spelled with the extra e, like the Concorde plane) was just what I was looking for – a good basic t-shirt with several variations in length, sleeve-length and neckline.
I have chosen some not terribly exciting jersey for this pattern, but I fully intend to make some boring workhorse t-shirts.