I was admiring Maria Denmark’s portfolio of very useful yet stylish looking longer sleeved tees, all ready for the autumn. She’d shown them off as a group & they looked impressive: variations on a theme, great coordinating colours, the odd stripe, a boatneck . I thought how “together” & well prepared it looked for the cooling seasons, & left a comment in admiration. Before I knew it the lovely Maria had emailed me a pdf of the Birgitte Tee for me to
get my own act together give it a go myself.
Now I was very grateful as this isn’t a free download, & as you know I have been perfecting my own knit basic tee with set in sleeves- a franken BBW/Renfrew (wiggy journey of discovery here) . Did I dare to venture away & try something new & untested? Well, the answer is yes, & I think it was the lovely long looking sleeves that swayed me, that & the desire to get a thorough understanding about how knits fit. I knew it would be a quick sew. It would be printing the pattern & piecing it together which psychologically felt the largest task, so I engineered that activity to take place in front of Sunday night’s Downton
By the time my flexi-day on Monday started I could add the seam allowances to the pattern, cut out from the fabric & get set to sew. I used the same fabric that made my latest underneathies & Kimono tee shirt (Maria Denmark free download) – that’s a long sleeved top, a summer tee, a camisole & pair of knickers out of 3m of jersey (& it was at most £2 per metre I kid you not!). And I should add that there are plenty of scraps I shall be keeping for gussets (yes you heard me, gussets!) for future knicker making.
What can I say about this pattern? I suppose I was most interested in the shape & the fit. This being a “basic tee” was not going to present any construction oddities. You can make it ‘v’ or scoop necked & on Maria’s blog she also shows how to draft variations eg the boat neck.
Here’s Maria herself modelling that scrumalicious Breton inspired tee, from her blog here
There are sleeve variations as well, but you know I was aiming for long wrist-hugging sleeves. So for construction then, & being a basic tee, I followed my nose, dipping in & out to Maria’s instructions (which I’d probably got a bit out of order due to my printer spraying the printed pages out across the floor in random order). The sleeves set in nicely, neckband fitted perfectly too. Hems on sleeves & length are just narrow hems which I used that Wondertape again for (I am getting truly sold on this, the dissolve-able double-sided tape makes it so much more stable to set a narrow hem to sew without pins- & suits the twin needle too). It was all done. I finished it off with a couple of buttons at the centre front & then tried it on.
The moment of truth ….the fitting verdict…
It’s got a really nice shape to it. The pattern states that there is a degree of negative ease at the bust & this is a slim fitting top, & I mean that in a good way! Nice long snug sleeves- look at where they end. It might be subtle, but I can see there is a difference between the fit of this & the fit of my Franken BBW/Renfrew – the latter being more roomy around waist & sides. You may remember that Renfrews use clever banding to finish hems & cuffs with, which can add bulk. I think that is how I would see the differences in the patterns I’ve fitted for me (clearly I could make changes to how they fit by redrafting side seams, grading up etc): Renfrew – more casual, more roomy, less likely to be tucked in style top; Birgitte Tee – slimline, more fitted & really suits finer fabrics, a great top for tucking in too. I feel that I have two basics now & can see how they can be used differently. I shall be venturing into cardigan making territory & I shall use a Renfew/BBW base for that. The Birgitte though, is most definitely a basic long-sleeved tee shirt. I think I would favour it for making – er- basic tee shirts! Solid colours, stripes & polka dots even. It’s great, these two basics plus my Sew U Home Stretch, have completed my own portfolio of knit blocks now. Oh, & the dolman sleeved dress/ tunic (Kwik Sew 3659). Stop me buying any more!!
[Do I need to say that whilst Maria sent me a complimentary version of this pattern I was under no obligation to review it & my thoughts here are my honest views?]