Tag Archives: t-shirt patterns

How Do You Get Your Sew-Jo Back?

Has your enthusiasm for sewing ever left you temporarily? I think this is a perfectly normal phenomenon, but how do you get it back? After working 60 hour weeks to write my new book whilst keeping the rest of my business going for the last 9 months, mine was on the wane.

Although I do a lot of sewing that’s not necessarily just for me, such as making samples for my books and developing new patterns, I still enjoy it. Most sewing I do is enjoyable, I stopped doing the things I don’t enjoy (making wedding outfits for other people and doing alterations) years ago.

So I decided the way out of my sew-jo doldrums was to make something purely just for me using someone else’s pattern, so that I could just wallow in the joy of making the damn thing!

And here’s what I decided to do: big comfy knickers!! (Note for readers outside the UK – I will use the terms knickers and pants interchangeably and I know a lot of you will call what I refer to as trousers, pants. I’m sure we’re still all on the same wavelength though, yes?!)


  1. I wouldn’t have to spend a lot of money on loads of fabric and could even use up some of my leftover jersey fabrics (of which I have rather a lot…)
  2. I needed some new pants and always buy them slightly begrudgingly from M&S, resenting the rubbish fabric and cheap scratchy trims.
  3. The ones I buy never fit 100% as I’d like them too.
  4. It’s a quick project which suits me as I didn’t allow myself much “playtime”.

Here is my first wearable toile:

big knickers

I know, I know, they don’t look all that, but I decided to suck it up and brave some pics of them on, as honestly, they’re the most comfortable pants I have ever donned. So, look away now if the sight of me in my pants is likely to offend…..

scrundlewear boy shorts

Let’s pretend they’re bikini bottoms right? Then it’s not so weird.

I really enjoyed making them, they took maybe an hour tops (as I was fiddling around with different ideas and techniques) and they are super easy. I reckon even a beginner could have a go at these, I made this pair without my overlocker as I was just toiling and trying things out as I went along.

The fabric is a bamboo / lycra jersey from Raystitch and it’s dreamy fabric to use for pants – cool, soft and comfortable to wear next to the skin.

The pattern is the Boy Short pattern from Stitch Upon a Time’s Scrundlewear pattern. Strange name, but don’t let that put you off!! There are 3 different styles of pant in the pattern, numerous finishing methods and 7 sizes.

I have to thank Kerry Green for bringing the pattern into my radar.  She’s made a few of them now and look what she made most recently…..


…a gorgeous PJ set using the Scrundlewear pants and my t-shirt from Beginner’s Guide to Dressmaking. That looks like a match made in comfort heaven to me!

So, back to the original question:

How have you got your sew-jo back? 

I’d love to know and I’m planning to write about this in my Love Sewing column, so I might just feature your story (with permission of course)!

How to Sew T-Shirts

Have you been watching the Celebrity version of the Great British Sewing Bee this week? What do you think? Anything that gets more people interested in sewing is a good thing in my book and even better, making t-shirts! If you know me or my blog you will know how I like to evangelise about sewing with stretch knit fabrics, so I was very happy to hear this was to be included in the show.

If you are feeling inspired to start whipping up your own t-shirts, read on for patterns, tips and guides to help you on your way, all tried and tested by my eager sewing students at MIY Workshop, so you can be sure they all work.

T-shirt Patterns

easy t-shirt sewing pattern

Here is the T-shirt sewing pattern from my book (“The Beginner’s Guide to Dressmaking”).  It’s a really quick and easy make for beginner dressmakers.

If you have done a bit of sewing already, are dabbling with pattern hacking* and fancy something a bit more than a plain version, the book comes complete with a whole chapter packed with ideas for how to modify the basic patterns to create more styles:

beginners guide to dressmaking t-shirt make it your own

*Newbie sewers – pattern hacking = modifying an existing pattern to adapt it into a new version of the style.  Something of which I highly approve as it’s creative and empowering to start with a simple version of a pattern and be able to change it a bit to create a new style.

If you don’t want to invest in a whole book and want a t-shirt pattern to just get on with, here’s one from my pattern range, MIY Collection:

easy t-shirt vest dress sewing pattern

Available as a print pattern for £15 or a PDF download for £7, another easy one for beginners and infinitely adaptable for pattern hacking.

Here are just a few of the versions made by my sewing students:

easy t-shirt vest dress sewing pattern

How to Sew T-Shirt Fabric & Where to Buy

Here are some links to some of my most popular posts about sewing with stretch knit t-shirt fabrics:

How to Customise a Plain T-shirt

So, once you’ve started you might want to move on from a plain t-shirt to a bit of pattern hacking, customising and embellishment.

t-shirt customising

Here’s a piece I wrote last year for Sewing World magazine which includes 2 easy ways to customise t-shirts: stencil printing (like on the vest above) and using shirring elastic to change the shape of the t-shirt.


I hope that’s inspired you to go and get busy!  If so, why not sign-up for my newsletter to get regular sewing advice and tips: http://eepurl.com/EVEYj