Here’s how to make a tee to your own measurements and your own design (courtesy of Miss P.) Blogger Miss P. has developed and refined a kimono tee that you can draft to your own measurements. Her clear instructions on how to do this are at http://portialawrie.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/draft-simple-kimono-tee-old-project.html. What bliss!- a garment with only one pattern piece. You can see from the photographs of her finished result that the tee can look both elegant and casual, could be worn to the office, slung over a bikini for the beach or dressed up with accessories for the evening.
It is also a wonderful blank canvas so you can create your own unique garment. This was the pattern I turned to when I wanted something quick and easy for summer wear. The top does not take much fabric, I had a metre of cotton poplin and used 70 cm of 150 cm wide for the main body and then cut into the remainder for bias binding and the belt backing plus oddments for the cuffs and outer side of the belt. My bust measurement is 84 cm and thus I could place both front and back of the pattern on the same width of fabric. If you have narrower fabric or more generous curves then you'll need a longer length but you will be able to figure out your fabric requirements once you have drafted the pattern to the size and length you want.
Here is my first effort. The only addition I made to the pattern was to extend the sleeves and to add a simple belt fastened with a button to ring the changes
This is also an ideal pattern to use up leftover fabric from other projects. As to the type of fabric to use, something with some drape, not too thick is best. You definitely need some softness in the sleeve area but you could get away with a thicker central panel. Personally I would not want to use anything stiffer than the cotton poplin that I used. There are no darts so the shape relies on how the fabric hangs on your body.
I've sketched some ideas (sorry, I'm no artist).
1.Parti-coloured tee. Simply adapt your pattern by adding a seam allowance to the centre back and centre front as you will need to sew the right and left sides of the front and back together before proceeding to sew the front to the back.
2. Tee with a panel. Got a bit of fabric that you really want to use but there is not much of it? Then this is the answer. Depending upon how much fabric you have , you can have a panel both font and back, just a panel on one side or different fabric panels on each side.. Remember to cut your pattern where you want the panel to be and add a seam allowance to both sides of the cut.
3.Your addition of a different fabric doesn't have to be straight down or across. Try going asymmetrical, a chevron or undulating wave ( this latter is trickier and probably best done as an applique).
4. Trim the neckline, hem and sleeves with a different fabric. You can make your own bias binding for the neckline, see Miss P's technique here. That's how I cut my binding to trim the neckline of my tee.
Alternatively you can cut facings for your hem, neckline and sleeves in your alternative colour fabric. Stitch them to the relevant edges with the right side of the facing against the wrong side of the fabric of the body. Trim the seam and, if necessary, clip around curves. Do not press seam open but press toward the tee body. Then flip the facings over to the right side of the garment, press the neckline (or hem or sleeve) edge on to the right side of the garment. Press or pin a hem of about 1 cm on to the wrong side of the facing around the outer edge of the facing and then pin or tack the facing to the tee preparatory to topstitching around the outer edge of the facing to secure it. The advantage of this is that you have no raw edge to hem.
5. If you have quite a bit of fabric you can make a dress of any length, short, knee length or maxi. I made a dress for my second effort, just adding the extra length to the pattern that I had created and leaving the cuffs off (see photo below). If you wish you can gather it in at the waist or under the bust, as in sketch 5, by running some elastic through a casing sewn around the inside of the dress at the relevant point.
Necklines. As Miss P. says, you can cut the neckline into a lower curve. You don't have to make the neckline the same at the back as the front, just adjust the pattern according to your desire. Remember though that you need to make it wide enough to get your head through. If you want it to be closer to the neck then you will need to make an opening, such as the keyhole neckline in my sketch no. 4 which is closed with a button and loop. An opening could be placed at the back instead of the front.
Hems. The simplest and quickest is just to turn up a straight hem at the bottom and machine along it. The example from Miss P's blog has a hem curving up at the sides ( you can use a plate to draw this for your pattern, this is what I used for the blue tee). You can follow the current fashion for hems lower at the back than the front, have an asymmetrical hem (sketch 3) scalloped...and so on! For my dress I left a small slit at the side seams to allow for more walking ease.
Embellishment. Here you can go to town if you want something truly unique- lace, ribbon, sequins,ruffles, pockets, pleats, pintucks, buttons, beads, fringing-- the opportunities are endless. To my dress I added an old lace collar (detachable) and a slim belt to give a 1940's tea dress feeling. See how it changes the effect.
Why not join in our sewalong and create your own unique version? See the details here http://www.meetup.com/dressmakers/events/196657002/