January 6, 2014 by Janna Roznos
I recently completed the Pattern Review on-line class Fit to a Tee, which is taught by Jennifer Sterns.
This is on-line sewing class, which consists of seven video lessons on how to customize the fit of a t-shirt to cutting it out and construction of the t-shirt completely on a serger. There is a bonus video on how to sew the t-shirt on a sewing machine, too, which I didn’t view. I took this class because I want to learn more about how to sew garments on my new serger that I recently purchased:
I turned 50 years old last month and I bought this new serger as a present to myself.
The class, Fit to a Tee, is based upon the Stern Design Tee pattern no. 0041, which is not included in the price of the class, but I purchased it anyway because the class is structured around this pattern. This pattern comes on heavy paper so I traced the size I needed. It also has what looks like very comprehensive instructions although I didn’t even look at them since I signed up for the on-line class and just used the instructional videos instead.
Now, first off, I must warn you, I have taken several classes by Jennifer Sterns and I think she is a great teacher; I even took a class from her at the American Sewing Guild Conference when it was here in Los Angeles several years ago. So, perhaps I may be a bit bias in my review. Also, I should let you know that I am not affiliated with Jennifer Sterns or Pattern Review.
Okay, so now that’s out of the way.
Rather than just being a plain style t-shirt with a bust darts or ease for the bust, the t-shirt is design to fit in the shoulders and the armscye and then provide fullness for the bust area (if needed).
I have narrow shoulders so this pattern is perfect for me. I am much thicker in the waist area than the pattern and in the video lessons Jennifer Sterns shows how to relax the fit of the waist area. ‘Relax the fit’ is nice way of saying widen the area for sewists like me that are thick in the middle region.
The technique she demonstrates works great and doesn’t alter the style of the t-shirt unlike just added several inches to the side seams would. This technique would work (I think) in other garments, too, although I haven’t tried it yet.
I did lengthen the sleeves in this pattern since I wanted long sleeve T-shirt.
This was my first t-shirt. I think I sewed three different muslins to get to the final t-shirt in the fashion fabric. One aspect about knits that always confounds me is that all knits stretch a bit differently and so when I sew a knit I need to always take in consideration the stretchiness of the knit. Something I don’t have to think about when I am sewing woven fabric.
After sewing up this t-shirt (the fabric is from JoAnn’s) I decided I wanted to try a color blocked t-shirt. I did draw out a few designs:
The beige/taupe knit fabric I used, I had in my stash and the black fabric was another purchase from JoAnn’s.
I did straighten the hem on this t-shirt (vs. the shirt tail hem on the first one) but I still don’t have enough width in the hip area and my ‘spare tire’ bulges under the beige/taupe fabric. Even so, I do like this t-shirt and do wear it quite a bit since I sewed it. A few changes I will make for my next one will be to add a smidgen more room in the waist area and lengthen it just a bit more, too. I think I would like to try some different color blocking but that would necessitate a trip to the fabric store.
Oh no? Oh yes – Road trip!
The local JoAnn’s, does have good selection of fashion fabric, but it is nothing compare to Michael Levine’s in the LA District Fashion. So I may be taking a little road trip soon.
Ultimately, even with the pattern alterations that I made, I would recommend this pattern. It has a unique style and fit. Watching the on-line video class was a huge help in constructing the t-shirt and the 83 pages of the Message Board about the class – Yes! I did read through the 83 pages – was helpful and informative. I will note that unlike some of the other Pattern Review classes that I have taken, there are no PDF’s for this class – it is only video instruction. All in all it is great t-shirt and I dod have plans to serge a few more.