Self Assembly Required

DIY dressmaking + crafts with Emily

On the path to the perfect t-shirt… The Basic InstincT Tee

A t-shirt seems like such a simple thing. But a perfectly fitted one? Now that’s a more elusive thing to find.

I’ve realised recently that I’ve never really had a t-shirt that I’ve loved – that’s including both shop bought ones and hand made. There’s always something a little off, from being too tight or loose, a wrong neckline or body shape. Sometimes they’re comfortable but look really awful. There’s just so many problems! So I’ve decided my new mission is to find one that works for a curvy petite person looking for that balance between comfort and style.

So what are my criteria for a “perfect” tee?

Well that’s a tough first question. If I knew what I wanted then I probably wouldn’t have this problem!

I can’t never quite tell if I want something loose and boxy or something more form fitting, though I think there’s space for both types in my wardrobe.

I figured the best way to learn would be to try making a few!

So first up on my list is the… Basic InstincT tee from the Secondo Piano blog.

(Sasha has made this PDF pattern available for free on her blog so you can get your copy here if you’re interested).

This is a simple semi fitted crew neck t-shirt, finished with a neck band. The pattern and instructions also come with loads of tips and markings to allow for perfect stripe matching if that’s something you struggle with.

All sounds good so far, right?

My main concern with this tee is that Sasha has obviously designed it to fit her and her needs. And she’s a tall slim Italian lady whose body does not look like mine in the slightest… It leaves a lot of room for error.

But it seemed a simple enough pattern that I thought it was worth a go!

I used some bamboo jersey I had in my stash (I got it from Discovery Knitting) for this make. The fabric is very soft and feels lovely with a lot of stretch and drape to it.

And here we are!

I’m wearing it with the sleeves rolled up because, well, that’s just how I roll!

I’ve already adorned it with some Cricut love. I designed and made these iron on vinyl Girl Gang decals which I am totally in love with. (The vinyl I used is specialist stuff for stretchy knit fabrics from Happy Fabrics UK which they sent to me to try out).

So is it a perfect t-shirt? Not for me. Not that that’s going to stop me from wearing it either but it means I’m still on the hunt.

Though I wonder if part of my problem is the jersey that I’ve used. It’s very non-traditional compared to a ready-to-wear cotton tee. Don’t get me wrong, it feels great on but next time I’d like it in a slightly firmer/ heavier knit.

Next up on the t-shirt list – the Equinox tee from Pattern Fantastique. Keep and eye out for that one soon!

About Me

Related Posts


  1. I have 2 that I love – one is the Concord Tee by Cashmerette which I wear all the time and the other is the Tee pattern by Jalie and to be honest Jalie fits me so well it’s perfect. I’d recommend you try Jalie especially. I bet you’d be really happy with theirs 🙂

    1. I’ve never tried a Jalie pattern but I hear they’re great for knits. I’ll definitely have to check them out! ☺️

  2. Greenstyle Creations has a free tee pattern I’ve been wanting to try and Love Notions and Chalk and Notch are both coming out with free tees in the next week or so. Figured that would be helpful if you’re planning to try a bunch. My go to is the Itch to Stitch Idyllwild tee (she has a really great fitting block and AWESOME instructions) but I’d really like to try a v neck so I’m going to give either the Greenstyle or Love Notions a go next.

    1. Ooo! Thanks for the tip! I’ve heard a lot of talk about the itch to stitch one so I think I’ll have to add it to the list!

  3. I’m a fan of the Idyllwild tee pattern too. I’ve tried a few different tee patterns and I find the fit on that the best. i did tweak the neckline though. Good luck with the search!

  4. I love this, especially the print that you’ve added. I think it looks great on you and look forward to hearing more about your perfect t-shirt quest. I like the look of the next one, I think it’ll suit you better. I like the tonic tee from SBCC patterns and it’s the closest I’ve found to the perfect tee.

    1. I have high hopes for the equinox tee too. I just hope the jersey I plan on using will suit!
      Thanks! I’ll check that SBCC pattern out!

  5. The more basic a tee is, the harder it is to find a good one! My next try is going to be the Chai Tee from Liesl & Co.–it comes with separate fronts for A/B, C and D bra cups.

  6. this is 6 months old, but if you haven’t already found your perfect tee…SBCC patterns drafts for petites, and they have a free tee called the Tonic Tee.
    I tried a bunch and found that a slightly modified deer & doe plantain is my goldilocks tee!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.