Rubbing Off My Favorite Tee

I recognize this might not be the most exciting post but I don’t care! I’m excited about it and I guess that’s what matters since it’s my blog haha. I rubbed off my very favorite RTW tee shirt and it turned out near perfectly! I know, I know! It’s a tee shirt! Big whoop! But when you are a point in your life when your beloved tee shirt is about five holes past the point of belonging in the bin and you find a way to recreate it, there is at least a little cause for rejoicing. Hooray, hooray! I don’t have to kiss that shirt goodbye forever! Because I’ve immortalized in the form of a pattern that will live on!

This is that very favorite shirt, bought long ago at Old Navy and probably for not much money (because when I buy, I buy clearance). (Look how teeny my littles were!) I’m sure I bought it because it was cheap and also because that’s my favorite color. I’ve looked and never been able to find the same shirt. It’s an oversized shirt with a subtle high-low split hem. It was very forgiving and good to me as I wore it during pregnancies as well as postpartum. It started developing tiny holes but I kept wearing it anyway! Then those holes became bigger holes and I still wore it. But the last couple times I’ve gone to put it on I’ve known that it was too far gone to really wear it any more, but I just couldn’t bring myself to get rid of it.

One of my favorite features of the shirt was the fabric. It’s a variegated cotton with just a little bit of stretch. It’s a bit thicker, for a tee shirt cotton (but not quite so thick as the infamous free tee shirt jersey cotton) and not knobby in texture but whatever word is just less than that. And if we’re going for elusive descriptors I’d say it’s the kind of fabric that just begs to be sun bleached. I don’t know. I just love it. As luck would have it, I was given a gift card to Isee Fabric for my birthday and they had the fabric of my tee shirt! At least, I suspected it was the same and now that I have it I can confirm! It’s the same! It’s a 100% cotton slub jersey. It’s perfect! I used the lilac color here.

And actually, just funny to note, it’s about the same color as the leggings I made awhile ago so an accidental set was born and I will take it! I talked at length about the color in my leggings post but finally I just asked my husband what he’d call the color and he said, “dusty purple.” I’d say that’s accurate.

Anyway, I’ve not had a ton of experience in rubbing off patterns. Which, for anyone unfamiliar with the term, it just means making a pattern out of an already existing piece of clothing. Some people unpick seams and totally take their garment apart. I’ve never done this. Instead I just lay the clothing item out very, very carefully and trace around it and then add in seam allowance where applicable. I tried to pay a lot of attention to my original tee shirt so I could replicate not just the fit, but also the look.

When you are rubbing off a tee, there are bound to be some issues, which I think is why I set my expectations so low. Because I don’t unpick the whole tee shirt, I know there might be places where the tee isn’t laying as flat as it should, or where I mistrace something. I don’t have any curve tools to double check my work. Plus the first time you make any pattern, even ones that have been professionally drafted, there might be places that need tweaked. And, in my case, the original tee was far past its prime and may very well have been stretched out or warped. But with every step I took with sewing, the more impressed I got. I got excited that I might actually have something great going on with my traced pattern. So I tried to be careful and mindful and in the end it really did turn out great!

The unique design features included a seam at center back, the aforementioned high-low split hem, and a bound neckline as opposed to a neck band. I can’t recall every doing the latter two but I wasn’t worried. I definitely just winged it and they both turned out really good. In the future, I don’t think the high-low hem is totally necessary for my taste, design wise, but I do like how it turned out. Also, regarding the bound neck, I actually like it more than I thought I would! I was worried it would look bulky or wouldn’t lay completely flat. It does have some waviness but with the slub knit I don’t think it looks bad. My RTW shirt also had one breast pocket which I chose to leave out. Pockets can be so fiddly and I wasn’t feeling confident in getting it on there nicely. I do have a bit of leftover fabric so I’ll keep adding one on in mind but I probably will just leave it alone.

Oh, one adjustment I will make the next time I use this traced pattern is to do a forward shoulder adjustment. The shirt ever so slightly rides toward the back but an FSA should fix that right up!

I know tee shirts aren’t the most exciting to read about so I apologize for that but I am really happy with how this tee turned out. I don’t really announce it to anyone when I’m wearing an article of clothing that I’ve made but, oddly enough, I want to tell the whole world I made this shirt! Of all the basic things to brag about, ha! But that’s how happy I am with it! Luckily, I have more on that birthday gift card and you can bet I’m going to get a few different colors of this lovely fabric and make myself another Favorite Tee or two (or three)…

Pattern: traced from a RTW tee
Size: n/a
Adjustments: n/a
Fabric: Isee Fabric slub jersey 100% cotton
Cost: fabric $16
Will I make this pattern again?: YES!

4 thoughts on “Rubbing Off My Favorite Tee

  1. I love it–what a great result! I have a similar project in mind, but from a thrift store dolman top that is PERFECT. Same hi-lo split hem as yours, but in a steel blue heathered modal jersey. I will be using a pattern except it doesn’t have the split hem. I love everything about it, I found replacement fabric, and now I have a little push from you to get on with it.


  2. Well, I’m super impressed! I have yet to delve into the world of pattern making and am always amazed at those that do. Really, it opens up a whole world of possibilities! Seriously, how awesome to have a pattern now for your favorite tee and it looks just like the original. You are amazing!


    1. Thank you! As for pattern making, I’d love to take a class on it sometime and learn how to do it properly! For now, I just wing it and hope it works haha!


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