The RhapsoTee pattern was developed in the spirit of the Floozy Doozys, where we have drafted out several sizes and included several landmarks on the pattern with body measurements. Our goal was to create a t-shirt pattern/drafting guide that would allow people of all shapes and sizes to get a well fitting knit t-shirt.
One of the biggest problems or challenges we see in t-shirt making or even in trying to fit ready to wear (RTW) garments is shoulder width or fitting this upper most part of the t-shirt. This trouble usually steams in trying to fit the proportion between bust/chest circumference and shoulder width. Sometimes our proportions do not fit within the given pattern or RTW options.
How Are T-shirts Drafted
Mallory used the “Metric Pattern Cutting for Women” pattern drafting book by Winifred Aldrich as a reference guide. She said it’s like a text book and she found it really interesting. She talks a bit about how she used the book in our Rhapsotee instructional video guide series found here if you want to learn more.
T-shirts are generally drafted from the bust down as is the block in the above textbook Mal referenced. So you get a bust measurement and the rest of the t-shirt plot points all come from this – armscye, shoulder, and lower waist and hips which gives the shirt a very T shape. This is where the name T-shirt comes from. Zede says the name t-shirt is a bit of a misnomer nowadays because we generally call most knit tops a t-shirt when most of them technically are not.
When Zede thinks of that she considers a t-shirt she thinks of a man’s palin white undershirt. When we talk about t-shirts, traditionally it was an undergarment so it was rather close fitting. As an undergarment you probably aren’t too concerned with the subtly of fit, just how it’s protecting your outer garments or adding warmth.
This very T shaped shirt and how they are drafted leads to a lot of dissatisfaction from wearers. Many people are not t shaped and wear these as outer shirts not under other shirts. If the bust of the shirt is the biggest measurement and the hem/hip area of the shirt is the same size this usually does’t leave much movement room down there. The hips are not the same body part as the chest. Hips move and twist and bend and shirts can get hung up if there is not extra circumference.
A t-shirt only has 1 or 2 places for you to adjust the fit, the two side seams. This is why this type of shirt is not and can not really be a tailored garment. So if you are wanting something super fitted you may want a pattern with more seam options like a princess seam style. This is how Zede drafts her leotards, princess seams work for her when she wants a really nice body hugging garment.
How is the RhapsoTee Pattern Different?
With the RhapsoTee we have you choose the top 1/3 of the shirt (parts above the bust) based on your back width measurement. We have you take this measurement by standing straight up and placing a flat 6″ wide gridded ruler (think quilt style cutting ruler) under each armscye, armpit, axilla, whatever you like to call it and put your arms straight down holding the rulers in place. a thin book or magazine work well too, nothing too wide. Stand erect but at ease. You don’t want to pinch your shoulder blades together or hunch forward. Measure between the inside of the two rulers. Make sure your rulers or whatever you are using under your arms stay perpendicular to your body.
Measure carefully because this will define your whole top portion of the shirt. Mal believes when following t-shirt drafting tutorials people have the most trouble with the armscye and sleeve cap. She wanted to make sure with her pattern that part was taken care of.
The RhapsoTee has a defined armscye. The neck width is defined too but you can change that. Zede says neck width and depth can always be changed on a pattern.
RhapsoTee Waist and Hip Drafting
We move on but we skip drafting the bust point and draft the waist instead. We have you measure your waist and find your measurement number on the pattern. There is 10% positive ease worked into the pattern at this point. It’s not a ton but it allows the shirt to skim over this area. This may not be everyone’s preference but it’s a good place to start.
Zede emphasizes that the first garment from a draft or pattern is always your muslin – your test. From this you get a feel for the pattern and can make notes and adjustments about what you like and want to change. This is also why we suggest you trace, so you can easily change the pattern and have the original.
The RhapsoTee pattern/drafting guide is for use with knit fabrics. There are a lot of knit fabrics out there with tons of different contents and spandex percentages. What do you choose? Mal says when she is making something she is trying on the garment at each stage. Because each fabric is so different and depending on preference she may take something in or need to let something out or recut. Try on and test, it’s really the only way to make sure the fit is good thorough the process.
The hips are drafted similarly to the waist. The hips also include a built in 10% positive ease. You can always take away or add here based on your fit preference and fabrics behavior.
This weeks Podcast is brought to you by:
Shop fabulous fabrics, useful notions, and a wide range of indie patterns at their brick and mortar store in Missoula, Montana or online. The Confident Stitch has everything a modern garment stitcher could want. Through the end of November 2018 all knit fabrics are 15% off, no coupon code needed. Go to SewHere.com/confident to start browsing their collection of knits today.
How to Get the Pattern
If you are a member of SewHere.com there are a few options based on your membership level.
Straight Stitch Members – in your online SewHere membership profile there will be a large copy shop file as well as a tiled version of the pattern and drafting guide (A4 printers we got you covered too!). These PDF’s are available to you as well as instructional videos found here for drafting and sewing your shirt. If you would rather have or in addition to videos also have written directions purchase the September 2018 Sew Long and Sew Happy Zine here to get them.
Backstitch Members – in your online SewHere membership profile there will be a large copy shop file as well as a tiled version of the pattern and drafting guide (A4 printers we got you covered too!). These PDF’s are available to you as well as instructional videos found here for drafting and sewing your shirt. Additionally you receive the written instructions via the Sew Long and Sew Happy Zine, look for these in the September 2018 edition.
Zig Zag Members – in your online SewHere membership profile there is a link for the full RhapsoTee pattern including all pattern drafting PDF’s and the written instructions and these are yours forever. The instructional videos are available to you also and can be found here.
Not a SewHere Member – If you are wanting to just make a one time pattern purchase and don’t want to become a member you can get the RhapsoTee pattern and drafting guide at SewHere.com/patterns.
Plans for a raglan and princess seam something or other are future pattern plans from Zede and Mal so stayed tuned.
Once you have this pattern you have unlimited t-shirt possibilities. You can custom fit yourself or any other teen/adult. The smallest included back measurement is around 12″ so maybe not going to fit a toddler but will fit many teens.
Have you made a RhapsoTee yet? Don’t forget to share your tee in our Facebook group and tag us on instagram – we’d love to see them!
Keep in touch with us at:
Self Sewn Wardrobe Facebook Group
@sewherecom on Instagram
SewHere.com Facebook Page