Drafting a T-shirt block

Self-drafted T-shirt block on squared paper
My new t-shirt block, ready to toile

My second pair of Thurlows is still under the needle, so here’s a look at something else I’ve been up to.

After trousers, the next thing on my ‘gaps in my wardrobe’ list is some well fitting T-shirts. I’ve been eyeing up both the Sewaholic Renfrew and Grainline Lark patterns, but I was worried that they’d need a lot of fitting adjustments. I have terrible trouble getting RTW T-shirts to fit. I thought I’d probably need to lengthen the bodice and sleeves, raise the bustline, do an (undarted) FBA somehow and potentially also a swayback adjustment. That seems like a lot of adjustments to make to what’s actually a pretty simple three-piece pattern. I should know how to construct a T-shirt because I made the Colette Moneta earlier this year (one version of which is basically a T-shirt top attached to a gathered skirt).

Then I remembered that one of my resolutions for 2015 was to draft a bodice block from my own measurements, and I realised this week that if I just got on and did a block for knit fabrics rather than the one I’d been planning for wovens I could probably get some T-shirts and vest tops completed this side of Christmas. And I can also spend the £13 I would have spent on either pattern on some fabulous knit fabric. That’s the theory, anyway.

So I dug out my copy of Winifred Aldrich’s Metric Pattern Cutting for Womenswear and rifled through it for a T-shirt block. It looked a lot simpler than the darted block for wovens, so I knuckled down and, Nike-style, just did it.

Pattern grading square, tape measure, french curve and pencil
You don’t need much in the way of equipment.
Close-up of sleeve head
The sleeve block was quick to do, too.

I already had a list of my measurements and some ready-squared paper so it only took an hour to get the block drafted. Now to add seam allowances and sew up a rough toile to see if it fits…

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