Sewing Leftovers: Basic Instinct T- Shirt and update

Sunday, September 09, 2018

I never thought I could have so much to say about a t-shirt pattern. In fact, I never thought I'd be here writing about making a t-shirt, because I've never had a great deal of room for basics in my sewing or my wardrobe. The Secondo Piano Basic InstincT t-shirt might just be the perfect basic that everyone should have in their life, and considering the pattern is both FREE and a total Sewing Leftovers win, there's little reason not to! Proof that leftovers don't always have to be patch-worked or mindbending-ly jigsawed together to make something new. The simplest makes can be a great way to showcase (and practice) your skills, as I've found with my Basic Instinct Tee.

Basic InstincT in leftovers!
Worn with Lander Pants and favourite accessories
Fabric: Cotton-viscose mix jersey from the B&M Fabrics shop on the side of Leeds Kirkgate Market

Original garment made: Simplicity 8609 crop top (view B)

Leftover fabric amount: 1m. I had originally bought a larger amount of the fabric and it was earmarked for a turtleneck, but chose to make the crop top instead.

Sewing Leftovers make: Sasha of Secondo Piano's Basic InstincT T-Shirt (a free pattern in exchange for signing up to Sasha's blog)

Leftovers-wise what did I learn?: Sometimes you create your own leftovers, as I did in this case by changing my mind with the original make. I made the crop top without really giving the leftovers much thought at the time and while I'm glad I managed to squeeze a Basic Instinct Tee out of them, it could have been pretty wasteful if I couldn't. It has made me think a bit more about effective use, planning and reallocation of fabric.

About the make:

For those of you who prefer your tops untucked, it's a great length!
This is a seriously good pattern. It offers plenty of advice and guidance for anyone who isn't so confident with knits, whilst giving the option to step it up, with instructions on how to make adjustments to achieve the perfect stripe match. The stripe-match hack is something I've never seen before with other patterns and I'm really curious to give it a go - will report back!

The pattern requirements state that you need 1.1 - 1.3m of 150cm wide fabric, but I definitely squeezed mine out of much less. I've since made a second version using 1m of newly purchased fabric, which was just fine! I made a medium and like the relaxed but not oversized fit - the shoulder width is ideal - but if you wanted a more snug fit I'd recommend downsizing. 

Neckline detail
With t-shirts I've made in the past (the main culprit being the Kyoto Tee) I've found a lot of necklines sit too wide, or that neckbands can stick up. The neckline of the Basic Instinct is perfect in fit and depth. The accompanying illustrations show the twin needle topstitching running either side of the seam where the neckband meets the t-shirt. It might just be me, but I always thought both lines of topstitching were meant to run below the seam. I'm so glad my eyes have been opened to this much better/more professional way to finish a neckband!

As well as being good for leftovers, I can see it as the perfect quick-to-make basic that will give other handmade pieces a bit of a lift. I'm planning another few in a range of colours (pale pink, black, brown or rust) to throw into circulation - a rust one would definitely encourage me to wear these orange cords more often! It's rare to find such good jersey, so I went back to B&M and already bought a metre each of pale pink and black - they had loads of good colours in at £8p/m, so those of you coming to Sew Up North, get ready!

And a little #sewingleftovers update...

I've been quite quiet on the Sewing Leftovers front myself, but only because I've been adopting more of the 'make your stash' approach, as encouraged by Pilar and Kate. I think both challenges/initiatives sit so well together in working towards more thoughtful sewing/purchases. Out of my more recent makes, the Honeycomb Dress, vintage pattern lilac trousers and M7661 culottes were all made using fabric that I'd been storing for some time. I've reduced my stash, made some garments I really love and as a bonus, I've saved money too!

Not far from 1000 tags! :)
We're not far off reaching 1000 posts shared using #sewingleftovers now, which is just phenomenal. There's everything from patchwork and pocket linings, to full on garments, fashion forward accessories and even fashion for cats(!!) on there! Thank you everyone for joining in - I hope other makers are noticing the similar positive impact it can have on their sewing, shopping and wardrobe cohesion! 

I'll do another round up soon, but in the meantime, you can see the last one here and browse the hashtag for inspiration!

Stay in touch!

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  1. Nice tee! I've got a thing for that B&M jersey too!

    1. Thanks Essian! I can't believe how good it is. The perfect t-shirt, and only £8 for a metre :)

  2. great make and nice tip about the topstitch - thank you

    1. Thanks Eimear, I can't help but wonder if I've been doing it wrong all this time...? But glad to have been introduced to doing it this way!

  3. I agree your tee is a great fit & I'm definitely going to try that top stitching tip and align my needles on each side of the seam (I have a coverstitch so it will be interesting to see how that works!) Thank you for another great post.

    1. Thanks Kathleen! I can't help but feel like I've been doing it wrong up until now. I'm very unfamiliar with a cover stitch, but I'm sure it's capable of way way more than my set up with jersey! Good luck :)

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