Category Archives: 2006/2-01 Basic T

Otto 5/2013 #1

I’m always looking for variations on the classics, the Vintage Blouse and Basic T. These are GoTo garments in my wardrobe so easy changes absolutely thrill me and spark my sewing mojo.  I compared this pattern with Otto’s Basic T and decided that it had a

  • Slightly wider and maybe a little deeper neckline
  • Breast pocket
  • 3/4 sleeve length
  • Curved lower hem.

Easy peasy says I.

I chose a cranberry slinky purchased late winter last year. So late it was early spring.  While slinky is wearable in summer, I had purchased enough for long sleeve tops so I washed and put it in the stash. Speaking of the wash,,,,  This was advertised as “sparkly”. To my surprised it was (operative word being “was”) heavily glittered.  In the wash, most of the glitter detached and was captured by the lint filter. However, an astonishing amount simply fell free and lightly attached itself to the other fabrics.  From there it dropped off onto the floor, wherever I carried it.  Looked like the pixies had visited my sewing rooms. I’m quite sure I’ll be finding glitter for years. I could criticize the vendor and manufacturer. Vendor for not adequately describing the fabric, manufacturer for not using a better quality glue. But truth is, I prefer the fabric in its de-glittered state.  What remained was a printed floral pattern in an old-gold color and a sprinkling of sparkle. Slinky is famous for, among other things, having no wrong side.  This is wonderfully true. As I have both a plain and patterned cranberry side for creative use.

As for the pattern, I didn’t even pop the master pattern from the 5/2013 issue.  I smoothed out Otto 2/2006 #1 (whose pieces are now covered with fusible interfacing for longevity) and placed it upon the folded slinky.  I did have to trim the slinky’s selvages. They tended to draw up the fabric, or maybe the interior was freer to drape. Whatever, the fabric did not lay smoothly until I trimmed the selvage.   Sigh, my T’s are beginning to feel a little snug – the result of eating  but not exercising well this past year. However, for slinky I prefer Zero ease. Otherwise the garment just appears to be too large. With all things considered, I placed my basic pattern without alterations on the fabric and cut the pieces.

I folded up the tissue and starting making the alterations.  I trimmed the neckline 1″ wider (both sides, both front and back and scooped it about 1/2″ deeper (also front and back).    I skipped the pocket. I prefer a modest front and pockets seem to be to draw attention to the area I most prefer to be modest.  I also kept the long sleeve. I do like 3/4 sleeves. It’s just that in the cold weather I prefer to wear long sleeves. You would too if your DH drove with the air conditioning on max while in the middle of a prairie blizzard.  To curve the hem, I measured 1″ up on the side seams and used my french curve to chalk the new hemlines. I used the rotary cutter to trim and cut all. Slinking tends to want to spread. The rotary cutter minimizes that issue.

I stabilized the shoulders and back neckline with black bias tape, then serged front and back together along the shoulders.  I’ve sewn with lots of slinky. Lots.  This is a fabric I love. It travels well. Washes in the sink (if laundering facilities are not available) and looks good even if you spend all day in the airport.   But this slinky wanted to creep out from underneath the serger foot. I ended up serging and then stitching the shoulders.  This is something I never do. A 4-thread serger creates the perfect stretch seam for knits. But I’m telling you, this slinky was uncooperative and required extra handling

I didn’t dare try to use the cover stitch for binding.  I basted the neckband into place at the Ruby, who BTW never missed a beat. Ruby handled this slinky like a pro.  So anyway, I basted the neckband into place and checked to be sure I like it. The binding.  Several years back I discovered I could make perfect binding every time, with very little fuss or ripping if I would baste, check and adjust before permanently serging the neckline. So that’s what I did here.  Then I pressed the binding up and over so that it wrapped the neckline.  I top stitched using the cover stitch machine using Maxilock Stretch in the looper and polyester embroidery thread in the needles.

I thought the neckline would be so cool especially since I used the plain side to contrast with the printed fabric.  But when it was done, I was just, meh, about it.  It’s ok but not really that great. Certainly not worth the extra effort.

I hemmed it 1″ first.  I have learned that a curved hemline is impossible (for me) to get right after the sides seams are done.  I used 1/2″ fusible web to turn the hem and hold it in place.  Then I stitched two lines at the Ruby. Oh I tried the CS. Even though I had tested before even beginning to stitch and even though I had just finished the neckband, the hem would not stitch properly.  I had 3″ of stretched, knotted, ugly hem.  The most time I spent on this garment was ripping out that hem during which I ripped a small hole. Fortunately, the hole was in a place that could be covered with a little knit interfacing, turned up and be invisible.

I pre-pressed the sleeve hems, then serged the side seams and finally stitched the sleeve hems.  I didn’t even try the CS.  Since this slinky behaved at Ruby, I stitched two lines of hemming on my Designer Ruby.

The end result?  Oh gorgeous.

I know I’ll enjoy wearing this for the life of the garment.


A Top for Yesterday’s Pants


I’m not really wild about these pants:

..but I’ve finished them and I may as well wear them. Except I don’t like any of my tops when paired with these pants.  The only combination of fabric and color that I liked was a plain white. I don’t wear white. Well I do when I want the doctor to believe that I’m sick but otherwise, I steer clear of clear, bright white.  I wear a cream color or off white. Anything but color draining white next to my face.

I dislike white for another reason: I can’t keep it clean. No kidding, most white garments are in and out of the closet within two wearings. My last mostly white top   turned grey in the first laundry. I tried removing the grey a couple of ways and finally said “hope this fabric wasn’t expensive” and cycled it to the rag bag. I’m switching to tan underwear for the same reason. Within a few cycles my white undies are a disgusting grey.  Generally though I can’t keep white clean. I’m a messy eater. At home I use hand towels for napkins.  I avoid eating in the car. There just is nothing I want to eat in the car which can’t drip something somehow onto my clothing.  Then there are the stains I don’t know how I accumulated. Yeeeeeeeeeesh

Verdict-stay clear of white. In my stash I have only 2 cuts of pure white. One is a crinkled polyester that I plan to use as a summer blouse and the other is the white, cotton double-knit in today’s knit top (which I have no idea why I purchased).

I’m using the basic Otto T shirt pattern published in 2/2006 Style #1.  I did want to attempt coordinating with the brown pin stripe and chose to embroider the neckline. When I cut the fabric, I cut straight across from shoulder to shoulder and marked the neckline with purple disappearing pen. (You’ll see purple dots all over the top as it hasn’t been laundered.)  I also wanted to work on that beautiful neckline finish of the Waterfall top (Otto 2/2009).  It’s such a simple, elegant finish and I can’t understand why I can’t duplicate the effect on other patterns.

Click for larger view


The embroidery required only two colors, chocolate brown (matching the pin stripe pants) and a gold matching the vest for the Brown 6PAC  When Ruby (sewing machine) finished my embroidery, I cut a facing to match the top portion and then stitched about 1/4″ away from the embroidery; trimmed, pressed and turned to form a beautiful shaped neckline.

I then concentrated on the back neckline. Carefully following the instructions, I added the back facing  to the neck and then stitched the shoulders.  The first time, my neckline didn’t finish smoothly at the shoulders.  I think I know what when wrong and more importantly a small thing I can do so that I can always finish the neckline perfectly. The only change is don’t under-stitch before the shoulders are finished. That’s it. If the facing is under stitched, it’s a bear to rip out and correct the sewing of the neckline. The back neckline must be adjusted to be exactly equal to the front neckline–even if that means stitching the neckline 1-2mm wider. Almost doesn’t work.


Something I particularly like about this finish is that by top stitching the back facing, especially at the cover stitch machine, I can create the look of different back yokes.  I was surprised when my hem fluted. It didn’t flute along the back facing; didn’t flute along the sleeve hems, but did at the hem.  I adjusted the differential feed as soon as I realized the fluting was happening and I’m hoping that the first laundry will make everything OK. But if not, ripping out a cover stitch hem is no biggie.  What perplexes me is how to foretell this will happen. The fluting didn’t occur over 8″(sleeve hems)  or over 14 ” (neckline facing) but did over 20″ (half the bottom hem).  I never make samples that big. Just never. Presently, I’ve left the differential cranked up half a notch.

For My 2013 Spring Black 6PAC

I have both bottoms completed for this 6PAC and  am beginning the tops. I’m crazy for Ottobre patterns (at least right now) and so I spent time thumbing through my Otto magazines looking at the tops I’ve made and the ones I want to make. But in the end I decided that to create a really successful 6PAC in black, I need basic garments. Garments that will work with everything else. I decided to use Otto’s basic Turtle Neck pattern from issue 5/2011 Style 8

I’ve used this pattern successfully already. This time I wanted long un-cuffed sleeves. I could have measured and  extended the sleeve side seams. Being lazy I decide to “borrow” the long sleeve pattern from Otto’s Basic T-shirt in Issue 2/2006 Style #1

Next I selected my fabric. My stock of black is small but varied. Keeping with the “basic— basic— basic” idea, I selected a rayon rib-knit.These are narrow ribs, *tres elegante. I was a bit concerned though when I laid out the fabric for a quick ironing.  The fabric is light weight, which I wanted for the warming, spring weather but I began to think it might be a bit transparent. My fail-safe proof is to lay the fabric single layer on the cutting table.  My cutting boards are dark green with fluorescent yellow-green lines. If the lines don’t show through –I’m safe. If I can see lines–back to the drawing board. I breathed a sigh of relief  when no lines were visible.

I cut all the pieces and then was called to dinner. (DH is the Chief Cook & Bottle Washer at our house. Ignoring his call means missing a good meal.)  But the interruption was a good thing.  Overnight, I realized that a turtleneck garment, even a light-weight garment probably wasn’t the best choice for a spring garment. Springs here (SD USA) are not the same as the spring weather of my youth.  Yes the temperatures are rising, but they are rising from lows of -7 F ( without wind chill factor and many winters reach much lower).  Temperatures seem to rise in a wave-like motion. I mean they rise every day by a degree or two and then the cold returns and pushes the temps back down. Like a wave of ocean water which advances upon the beach and then retreats. But in spring the cold is never pushed as far back one week as it was the previous week and the highs are higher each succeeding week.  Nonetheless, in my little corner of the world, it will be the end of May before we reach the upper 70’s.  (BTW I feel cold until the temperature reaches 70F.) My point is, a turtleneck will be comfortable now, end of winter, when the daytime temp is 17F. When the daytime temp is 65F, I’ll be sweating.  With that in mind, I made the on-the-fly decision to chuck the turtle neck and cut a deep front scoop neckline which I bound at the cover-stitch with self-fabric. Oy vey! I could have used just the basic Otto T-shirt.

But what’s done is done. I proceeded to stitch this together. My only issue was at the cover stitch machine. For the first time I had problems.  Ever since I brought it home, I’ve used this machine like a trusted pick-up truck. Every time possible, the cover-stitch was put into motion.  Never had a moment’s trouble regardless of thread or material. Suddenly with this fabric, my hems are fluting. It’s  like I’m straight-stitching knits at the sewing machine with a fabric selection of light woven. What’s up with that?  I honestly thought the issue was  too much pressure on the pressor foot. What’s more interesting is the issue didn’t seem to occur on the sleeve hems only on the longer bottom hem. I adjusted the pressor foot several times and finished the long hem. But it was yucky. Not only was it fluting but my stitching line was waving and not attractive at all. Nice thing about a cover stitch, once you get it to start unraveling, it comes undone quick. (‘Course that is a disadvantage at times.) But I was convinced that the pressure was not the problem or solution and decided to try adjusting the differential feed.  Since the issue didn’t show up on the short test piece, or the sleeve hems, I had no choice but to test on a long section, the bottom hem.  I ripped out the hem twice more. Each time about 18″ sections, but then “third times the charm” I got it perfect.

I’m wondering, for those of you who can only machine stitch hems at a sewing machine, what happens if you use your even-feed foot??? With single needle? With twin needle?   Love to have you give it a go and provide feedback.

This would have been a very quick garment and now that I know better, it will be a very quick fix in the future.  So onto the pictures, which can’t show very much

I didn’t see the point of modeling these myself. The pattern fits well. You can see that in my multiple, previous posts.  The white portion, is the cover on Mimie, my dressform.

I probably could have lightened the pictures, but again what’s the point? This is the essential long-sleeve, scoop-neck, T-shirt in basic black with one exception. Most T-shirts are slightly dropped sleeve and blocky. The Otto pattern shoulder ends right at my out-most shoulder point and is slightly shaped to flatter my figure. (OK your figure is flatter too.)  I mean, this pattern could be the basis for the $500 (or more) T-shirt. A beautifully fitting top, plus elegant fabric is worth the $$$ or in my case the time and effort.

2013 Spring BLACK 6PAC Status:

Pants #1 DONE 

Pants #2 DONE

Top1 (Matching)  DONE

Top 2 (Print or contrasting) NEEDED

Top 3 Vest NEEDED



I’m happy.


*I don’t know how to add those accent marks.

PJ’s from Otto’s Basic T-Shirt

I really want pajamas that don’t look like worn out long johns, so I attempted PJ’s again using Otto #1 issue 2/2006 and KS 3661. My previous PJ’s weren’t satisfactory because of a pattern/fabric mismatch. I.E. I chose  patterns for knits with more stretch than my fabric possessed. This time I made sure to stretch these fabrics and note that each had 50% stretch.

The light blue in the shirt is a cotton double-knit. The darker blue in the pants is a cotton/poly blend.  I chose two different colors because I was trying to honor my promise to use older fabric.  Also, I’ve been cutting down the yardage lengths for quite some time.  It’s been at least 10 years since I bought 4 yard lengths. In that time, I have sewn many of the fabrics which would have been suitable for PJ’s.  Matching top and bottom was out of the questions, but coordinating? Yes.

I created the neckline embroidery from 3 different digitized designs in my embroidery design stash. Within Embird Manager,  I arranged the design on the Ruby Royal Hoop.  I intended to save each separately for stitch out on the MC9500. Then I realized I needed to do ironing so why not let the Ruby stitch while I ironed? After all I couldn’t use her while I was ironing.  Even with Ruby doing the stitch out there were roughly 15,000 stitches. Ruby completed in about 30 minutes. Yes she is so much faster than the MC9500.  The 9500 would have needed 5 hoopings and at least an hour to create the same effect.

I once again used facings for the neckline. This time I used facings front and back; applied before stitching the shoulders.  I really don’t like this procedure.  The last time I applied a binding to the back neckline and had problems creating a smooth shoulder join.  I had the same issue with two facings.  I do believe this will be my last attempt. I spent a lot of time with the seam ripper and doing the basting-check-repeat dance.   It’s much easier to sew together at the shoulder and then stitch the neckline.

I finished the edges of the front facing before applying it.

I’m guilty of keeping a basic color thread in the cover stitch looper.

The back facing I planned to secure in place at the coverstitch.  Finishing was limited to a few strips of SAS to hold the edges in place.  I did draw a line where the facing ended on the public side of the back.  Actually what I did was to feel along the edge and make a chalk mark.  I then lined up the right needle so it fell just to the right side of the mark.


Not shown well, but I caught the facings in the armcye when I inserted the sleeves.

All the hems were finished at the cover stitch.  I’m really loving my 900cpx and wishing I had purchased it much sooner.  The cover stitch hem is quick, looks good and stretches with the knit fabric.  Much better than any other hemming method. Because the 900cpx is already sitting out, I use cover stitching more often.  I do change the needle threads to match the garment color, but I leave a basic color in the looper.  Not that it’s hard to change thread in the looper, I’m just that lazy.


KS3661 (show inside out) is a super legging pattern –just be sure the knit has enough stretch.  It could be completely finished at the serger.  I prefer to add a buttonhole, secure the waistband and then insert the waistband elastic.  All elastics are not created the same. Rather than pre-test, I create the waistband, insert the elastic through the buttonhole, adjust the elastic to fit my girth and then secure elastic ends and close the buttonhole.  I’ve had the experience of serging elastic to the waistband and then having to rip out the stitching because the elastic was too loose or too tight. No thank you.  I’d rather do it my way, because my way is done once and done forever.

I didn’t correctly line up the cover stitching on the waistband. I started to remove the first pass but decided I wanted to see how it would look if I over lapped two passes.  Well, I’m pleased.  I created a 3-row look which I love. My second thoughts about not buying a 3-needle cover stitch have been abated. Decoratively, I can achieve the same effect with little effort.  My only other thought is that a 3-needle cover stitch could be used to create narrower pin-tucks.  Still not a deal-breaker for me, because a 3-needle cover stitch gives me only 2 width choices.  I much prefer the many choices provided by my stash of twin-needles designed for my sewing machine.

They went directly into the wash to remove all the marks and stabilizer. They did fit and feel nicely prior to that. So here’s hoping these are not too warm to wear. I never know really how a garment is going to wear…. until I wear it.

5 Minute PJ’s

I made a promise to myself last year, in conjunction with SG’s Stash Busting Thread.  Up front, I have to say that I’m not interested in eliminating my collection of fabrics. I live miles from a fabric store. Even there the limited selection doesn’t compare to the JC Penny’s of my childhood .  (At the top of the escalators, nearly the entire mezzanine was filled with fabric.)  I often return home empty-handed.  A few years back, I started buying on-line.  Both possibilities involve transportation costs ($60 to the fabric store;  $8+ or more on-line) so when I buy I like to make the transportation costs worthwhile.  Having a personal selection of fabrics makes sense for me. But I admit that sometimes my  home selection gets a little large and a little old. The topic at SG made me realize that I also sew knits more often than my beautiful woven fabrics.  So I made a promise to myself last year that for every knit, I would sew one woven fabric and one old fabric.

The choice for this pair of PJ’s was an old medium-weight double-knit purchased from Walmart at least a decade ago.  I didn’t do the burn test. I think it may be a rayon blend.  One side is shiny, the other a wonderfully soft matt.  It’s an odd color.  Not quite tan, not quite pink but definitely pastel. In the early days I would purchase 5 yards of any dollar fabric I liked the looks of.  I vaguely remember making this into a T-shirt and being dissatisfied with the color against my skin.  It seems to wash me out whereas most pinks and peaches bring a healthy flush to my skin.  I was sure that’s why the fabric hadn’t been previously consumed.

Chosen now because I really need winter PJ’s.  I made a pair of green PJ’s late last year (can’t believe I didn’t share) of a heavy double-knit fabric (also a Walmart find).  The green pj’s fit fine but are way too hot.  I wake up every morning sweating (bedroom temperature is set at 55 deg F). They needed to be replaced.

Like most women, I’m not that particular about the clothes I wear for sleeping.  I’m guilty of wearing DH’s T-shirts and a pair of long johns way past their prime.  I did want this to look just a little bit better and chose to add an embroidery design to the front neckline and just above the sleeve hems.  I thought these designs:

were from a favorite designer.  The designs have his look but not his digitizing skill.  I didn’t realize that until I was stitching out the designs.  If these had come from my favorite there would have been no jumps. As it was I spent lots of time clipping threads. Argghhhh!  If I’d realized there were so many jumps I would have either chosen a different design or moved into Embird Studio and created joins.  I choose different colors.  My colors create more of a tone-on-tone effect.


Although I like bright colors, this softer, more feminine version is more truly in keeping with my personality.

I used KS 3661 to cut the bottoms and Otto’s Basic T  for the top.  I embroidered the design on the top and then applied a facing instead of the bindings the pattern calls for.  I made a large facing so that I could stitch down the center of the neckline design and open it up


The bottom edge was finished at the serger before applying the facing to the front of the T.

While front and back were still separate pieces, I applied a binding to the back neckline.


It a very simple strip of fabric stitched to the neckline, then flipped, pressed and top stitched.  No serging, no cover-stitch needed.  Front and back were then stitched together along the shoulder seam.

I’ve seen this finish on RTW but worried how clean the neck edge would be.  I was right to worry.  I spent a good deal of time pressing and stitching the edges together to achieve a smooth necked edge.  This would not be my first choice of finish ever again.

I then serged in the sleeves catching and holding the large front facing into the sleeve seam.

Both top and bottoms were hemmed at the cover-stitch machine.  I do think cover-stitching is a wonderful hem.  I folded the hems up, pressed them and applied  strips of Steam A Seam to hold the hems into place. The cover-stitch beautifully finishes both top and bottom of any hem.


Now about the 5 Minute title.  Truth is sewing (from cutting to hems) took about 6 hours.  I wore these for only 5 minutes.  I used patterns designed for knit fabrics because this was a knit fabric. I didn’t stop to check the inherent stretch. Big Mistake.  When I put these on I had to take them off very quickly.  They were too tight to wear and did not stretch as far as I could tell.  Thus after 5 minutes they became Goodwill donations and will forever more known as My 5 Minute PJs.

Otto 5/2012 011

It was only a matter of time before I worked around to creating a garment from a current issue of Ottobre.  Funny thing though, the pattern pieces for this style

are exactly the same as the Basic T Shirt Issue 2/2006 #1. Well almost. I compared my Basic T tissue to the pattern sheet and found that the differences were limited to the marks indicating where pleats should be formed on the front.   I didn’t form pleats. Nope I marked the front and then applied clear elastic on the inside.  I stretch a 4″ length to about 6″.  Then I cut a 1.75″ strip and turned it into a tube.   I stitched the tube over the gathers which developed on the front from the elastic popping back into place.

I did miss one step.The neckline binding should be stitched to form a V.

I didn’t do that. Not that I didn’t want to; I just forgot. Oh well it gives me another option for future versions.
I do think that I made my gathering too long. 3″ and maybe the inch right below the neckline should not have been gathers. Ah well options for another time. Right?

My fabric is an interesting matelasse formed of two light-weight knit fabrics.  I’d wear neither of these on their own but together they form a medium-weight warm fabric.  The matelasse appears as little holes on the top layer of the knit. Very interesting.  When I first purchased it, I was thinking summer and purchased 1.5 yards.  I realized while handling the fabric that I would be too warm.  By being very careful I was able to eek out this long sleeve T.  This fabric, despite being knit, does not have as much stretch. So in all honesty I can say, I should have added a bit more ease and would have if there had been more that 1.5 yards of fabric.  I don’t think the back

or side view

is all that terrible. It’s just that it could be better.

I’m really pleased about the pattern itself.  I”m really pleased that Otto took the basic pattern and added a change which makes a huge difference in the final appearance.  Kudos Otto.  Keep doing this kind of thing.

Finished Otto Classic T-Shirt

Originally published Oct 15, 2012

Apologize that the are not of the finished garment on me.  I know that when I’m looking, I prefer to see the garment on a real body.  It tells me so much more than hanger or even dressform shot.  But Mimie volunteered for photos today as my back is killing me and having required allergy medicine, I just feel like crap.

Ripping out was pretty easy because I had stitched the sides together with water-soluble thread.  I knew the back-waist length needed to be corrected. It’s a matter of making sure the waist and hip shaping correspond to my own.  On the front I stitched three  1/4-inch-tucks about 4″ below the armscye.

Believe me, this is much easier to do on the flat piece than after the garment is even partially assembled. I futzed about getting a straight line for the first tuck. I’m not sure it’s truly straight, but it’s good and enough for this time.  Across the back

I did a single 1″ tuck on the inside. Actually I did 2 tucks but I ripped out the first when it didn’t match up with any of the front tucks.  When finished I wanted an empire line not a fixed-your-problem look.

Then I ripped out the sleeve heads and cut 2″ strips.

I stitched a single tuck in the center of each strip before cutting the sleeves vertically in half and inserting the strips–kind of like the heirloom insertion technique except I serged those babies into place.  I thought the tuck would echo the tucks on front and give it a more cohesive or planned look instead again that FIXED YOU appearance.

I hemmed the sleeves and bottom, finished the neck and took pictures.  Looking at the side view now

I wished I had made side vents.  Mimie is not and probably will not wear a belt where I nearly always buckle up my pants.  Mimie therefore doesn’t have the hilarious pokey that I did at the first fitting.  Mental note to self:  always tuck this T-shirt and wear a vest.

To the tissue pattern, I added 1″ in the center of the sleeve. Just split the sleeve vertically and inserted fresh tissue paper. I’ll nearly always serge the sleeve head into place. So a larger sleeve head won’t be an issue sewing into place and from the picture, I think the extra looks good.  I made my 1″ BWL in the front and back, but didn’t add any more ease to the front or back.  I did make a note that more ease might be required.  Part of the issue is with the fabric I choose.  I said it was cotton. Nope I looked on the tag and it is Rayon knit.  It did stretch 25% but I wouldn’t want to wear this particular fabric at it’s maximum stretch. Stretching to the maximum obviously distorted the printed pattern as well as the grain/rib of the fabric in a bad way. I also changed the armscye.  On this version I traced as size 38 across neckline, shoulder and armscye. The armscye is just a bit snug.  I think most people would prefer this snug fit. I like a little more ease. So on the tissue I traced the size 40 armscye on both the front and back.

Want to know the thing I love the most about this pattern?  I know have a good baseline to compare with other knit patterns. As is, it has my minimum personal tolerable ease. I can use this to quickly see how any other knit top pattern varies from my personal standards.  This is especially good, because all my TNT’s have to be redone. My weight has changed vastly and none of the patterns I’ve fit and made in the previous years are tolerable.  I feel good that having completed this blouse I have 4 new TNT’s

The Vintage Blouse – classic blouse styling for all my wovens

The Classic T-shirt- (this post) used in all my knits

TJ906 – my favorite jean

The Classic Non-stretch Jean 

All my vests still fit me. So it’s not necessary to trace and refit those patterns.  I feel like with the fit of this pattern, the Classic T-Shirt, that I can now sew a winter wardrobe for me.

Otto 2006-2 Style 001

Originally published Oct 14, 2012
If you haven’t noticed, I’ve gotten very enthused about Ottobre Magazine.  So far I’ve fit the Vintage Blouse and the Non-Stretch Classic Jean. Both are wonderful basics that I will wear, will make again and will use to adapt other patterns to my figure.  My interest in Otto coincided with the need to refit all my TNT’s.   It shouldn’t be surprising that the next pattern I chose to fit was the Ottobre Basic T-shirt Style 1 and 2  in the 2006-2 issue.

I’m not sure why two style numbers were assigned other than the fact that the size ranges are not all together on the pattern sheet.  Sizes 34-42 are on Sheet A and sizes 44-52 are on sheet B. Wouldn’t you know, my measurements cross the dividing line.  The 38 shoulder and upper chest fit so well on the Vintage Blouse that I want to retain that sizing. I was unsure about the combined  42 bust 44 waist + fudge factor (i.e. extra wide seam allowances which are cut off when the garment is finished). That’s where my measurements correspond to the sizing chart. But side seam of  the final garment seemed  to tilt a bit  under the arm. Wearable, probably not noticeable by most people.  I saw it in the pictures but can’t feel it when wearing the finished blouse.  To cross sizes I traced the size 46 from Sheet B. Then I aligned the underarm and grain line with size 38 and traced the size 38 neckline, shoulder and armscye.  The pattern pieces do look a curious.  The upper portion is noticeably shorter while the curve to the underarm seems very deep both in comparison to what you normally see on a pattern.   I did not make an adjustment to the back waist length. The shortness of the upper portions was so pronounced that I decided to wait and see how the blouse fit.


My fabric is a printed single-knit.  I’ve forgotten the fiber content and haven’t given it a burn test.  I did test the stretch and recovery.  It has about a 25% stretch and recovers well however I wouldn’t want to wear it stretched that far.  The 25% stretch definitely distorts the print and rib lines. Otto specifies a “stretch single knit jersey” but does not say how much stretch. To be honest, I think this top would have been wonderful in a slinky knit. My jersey not so perfect.

The front looks moderately well. The sleeves are too tight for this fabrics.  After hemming, they will be the maximum length that I will wear. I taped the shoulders and since I anticipated several fittings, I also applied fusible bias to the neckline.  I really like how the shirt looks from neck to upper bust. It does feel a trifle tight.  Either my knit does not have enough stretch or I need a size 40 in the armscye. Oops, checking my notes I see that for the Vintage Blouse I traced a size 40 on the front armscye and size 42 on the back. I need to correct this right away. I see a bit of drag seeming to come off my tummy which makes me wonder if I really did need the back-waist length adjustment.  However the side view

All pics are clickable for larger views.

tells me that the belt buckle here is my real issue; and so the question becomes do I add more ease to the front piece in case I ever wear a long sleeve T without a vest or do I start tucking my T-shrits?  If I tucked the shirts, I’d also want to shorten the over all length.   Happily, the side seam retains its perpendicular angle from hem to armscye. Also from the side I don’t see the normal drag lines you expect from a garment without bust darts. Nor are there drag lines visible on the back.  A size 46, no matter how it pricks my ego, is obviously the right size for me.   Until you look at the back:

which has just a few perplexing  lines. The sleeve here too shows that it is too tight.   The hem is bowed upwards, confirming my thought that I should have applied the 1″ BWL as usual; as I did on the Vintage Blouse. That probably would have taken care of all issues from the waist down. The top is smooth across the shoulders and upper back but then shows lumps, like bra lines.  Do I have a fitting issue or is it time for new bras?

Over all I’m pleased with this first iteration.  I will finish it and wear it.  I had the foresight to add just a little to the seam allowances. So it is possible for me to add a little more ease.  I used WST (water-soluble thread which is even now dissolving  prior to my final serging.   Since I did not make the BWL, I think a couple of decorative tucks are in order and then normal hemming.  T-shirts are marvelously quick to sew.

Pattern changes:

Sleeve: check to be sure I traced the right size.  It’s all too easy to copy the wrong line.  If I traced the right size then copy the next size larger.

Front:  Add 1″ BWL; Add belt buckle room.

Front armscye:  change to size 42

Back:  Add 1″ BWL; Buy new bras.

Back armscye” change to size 42