Wednesday 6 August 2014

Charlie Tee ~ a Refashion...

Charlie Tee... pattern review. T-shirts refashioned from pre-loved garments, using pattern by Fishsticks Designs ~ Threading My Way

It's been many years since I've sewn a t-shirt and I'd forgotten just how quick and easy they are to sew. Little Mister agree to a photo shoot wearing the first of two t-shirts I've made him, but with a limit of six photos. You can see him counting with his fingers in some of the photos... LOL!!!

Charlie Tee... pattern review. T-shirts refashioned from pre-loved garments, using pattern by Fishsticks Designs ~ Threading My Way

This t-shirt was once a boys' size 14. It was large enough to cut along the seams and use the pieces as fabric. Luckily the design wasn't too large for the front.

I used the Charlie Tee and Hoodie pattern, by Fishsticks Designs. There are three patterns, one for sizes 12 months - 5 years, a larger one for sizes 5 - 14 and one for teens- adults. This really was a quick project. Taping the pattern pieces together took longer than the actual sewing. That's not a reflection on the pattern. It just shows how little time it takes to sew the t-shirt.

Previously, I've used two Fishsticks Designs patterns; the Mud Puddle Splashers and the Katie J. Jumper. The PDF pattern pieces are very easy to tape together and the directions clear and easy to follow. The tried and true construction methods used in the patterns, make for well made garments that will last.

The Charlie Tee is also a great pattern, but there was one area I was uncertain about. The instructions said to topstitch around the neckband approximately 1/8” from the edge. From the photo, the stitching appeared to be straight, not zig zag and the instructions didn't specify. I figured that if I did straight stitching, I would lose the stretch and the neck would be too tight to easily get on and off. I felt that the stitches would also be liable to break, even if the neck did fit.

A quick Google search came up with an excellent tutorial on adding a neckband to a tee and so I used a twin needle instead of topstitching. Made by Rae's tutorial did say that topstitching with a single line of stitches also looks very nice, so maybe my reasoning is wrong. If you topstitch on t-shirts, I would value your thoughts on how you do it and whether it affects the stretch.

After finishing the t-shirt, I came across the Charlie Tee sew along, on the Fishsticks Designs blog, where there was mention of using stretchy nylon serger thread in the bobbin. I could only find reference to this on the blog and couldn't find it in the pattern. Maybe it's there and I missed it.

As well as a hoodie, there are several variations in the t-shirt pattern; basic tee, the vertical colourblock, the horizontal colourblock and the ringer tee, with the option for long or short sleeves. I chose the basic tee with short sleeves.

No way was Little Mister going to take off the clothes he was already wearing, so the t-shirt is being modelled on top of a long sleeved tee, as well as a short sleeved tee - a really layered look.

As you can see, we're up to six photos. I normally need to take heaps of photos, just to get a few good ones. I was super lucky this time that the photos I took were all usable.

Charlie Tee... pattern review. T-shirts refashioned from pre-loved garments, using pattern by Fishsticks Designs ~ Threading My Way

On another day, I took photos of the second t-shirt. No limit for this photo shoot, but Little Mister had consumed a little too much sugar and I had to snap away while he ran and bounced around the yard. I was lucky to get a few good shots of him wearing the bone coloured Mud Puddle Splashers and the second tee.

This t-shirt was once a women's skirt, which was too tight and had never been worn. Again, I just used the garment as fabric and didn't keep any of the original elements. The ribbing for the two neck bands was the only thing I needed to buy. Actually, it came from my stash, but I did once buy it.

I'm not sure why I waited so long to sew t-shirts again. They really are very easy to make!

I'm very pleased with how the t-shirts have turned out. They're a great fit. Yes, I know they look a little roomy, but that was deliberate on my part. It's still Winter here, and I want them to last through the Summer and onto Autumn.

I'm very happy with the Charlie Tee and will be using it again. In fact, I have another cut out and ready to sew.

These two t-shirts will be added to both the Children's Tops and the Sewing with Stretch Fabric ongoing link parties here at Threading My Way.

... Pam


  1. Is he giving you thumbs up or counting the photos?? I thought they were thumbs up for getting the great looking T-shirts!!

  2. haha you have reached the limit - 6! The tees are wonderful Pam. I would have never guessed they were hand made! They look so professionally made! I am afraid it might be a while before I give sewing a tee-shirt another go. I was topstitching the neckband on one a few months ago when my machine decided to munch on it. There was no way to fix it :(

  3. The layered look is a good one, and your model looks very stylin! I love that he's counting the photographs - what a hoot! And so typical of a boy :D

    I'm with Amy on using the narrow but long zigzag. You can even do that with a twin needle - just manually crank the flywheel for a couple of stitches to make sure it clears your foot :D Ask me how I learned that little trick!

  4. I have to laugh about the limit on photos as often I have the same limitations when I take photos of BK. And she carefully counts those shutter clicks!;)

    The t-shirts look great. I like the idea of using a not worn or too big shirt and re-purposing it. I do use a straight stitch for my topstitching. I lengthen the stitch to a 3 or 3.5 and as long as the head opening wasn't very snug to begin with, it has served me well.

  5. I repurpose t-shirts a lot to make sleep shorts and t-shirts for my grand kids. If I see holiday shirts on sale for $2-3 I buy the biggest ones I can get and then cut them up and make clothes for the littles. A great way to get good knit without the high cost. You did a great job.


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