T-Shirt Sloper Drafting

I’m trying to make a t-shirt base pattern.

From scratch. Rather than adapting a standard sloper (intended for woven fabric) into a knits sloper, and then adapting that to a basic t-shirt pattern, I just want to start with a knit sloper using my measurements. I am of the opinion that such a feat should be relatively straightforward, seeing as how there are fewer body measurements required, no darts to argue with, and the forgiving nature of stretchy knit fabrics to consider.

I might be wrong.

I started off by drafting a personal sloper, using this glorious video for instructions:

It’s a pretty great tutorial. I mean, who doesn’t want to learn the art of pattern drafting from a robot cat with a Hawking-style voice chip? They have lots of quick video tutorials on pattern drafting, so if you’re into that kind of thing, you should take a tour around their Youtube page.

My first sloper started off promising. I cut it out without a seam allowance, curious to see if ease was added in the measuring stage. I sewed it using a scant 3/8″ seam allowance in case there wasn’t any ease. Spoiler: there wasn’t.

Skin tight:

tsh3

And I always get so confused when a shirt is both too tight in the chest/back, but with too much fabric at the armscye/shoulders. I’ve had this problem before and it blows my damn mind every time. Why can’t they just cancel each other out?!?

So I added some ease, and some seam allowance, and I carved out the armscye and shoulder and tried again.

Foolishly, I used a good bamboo blend fabric, naively confident that I’d fixed all my problems.

tsh2

Oh cool, the shoulder length has been mysteriously reduced, while the armscye stays the same.

tsh1

This black fabric didn’t have the same amount of stretch as the pink fabric, which would impact the shoulder seams, but I totally thought that my fitting issues had been solved.

Back to the drafting table.

I’m going to adapt the drafting tutorial. I want to have a t-shirt pattern drafting method that’s more straightforward than “hack it til you make it.” There’s a couple of measurements that I want to add that aren’t included in the video, and I want the sleeve pattern to be bigger.

Do you have any good tips on drafting patterns for knit fabrics? I’m all ears!

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