Fancy That! A quick tee hack

Now I love a good basic tee as much as the next gal but sometimes ya just fancy a little fanciness. Just a smidge, nothing over the top, but enough to make things feel a bit special ya know? That was exactly my mood this morning and I ran with it a bit as I put together a little tee for my niece. Out came a sweet little buttoned and gathered back that I kinda love! There are a few changes I will make next time but overall I’m pretty pleased with the outcome so I’m jotting it all down here for you to take and make your own. It only requires altering one piece but I think it completely changes the look
and feel of the tee.
I hit the cutting table (by which I mean a mat on the floor) with a lovely Paapii jersey and my trusty Brindille&Twig Basic Tee (this hack will work with any tee pattern so just grab your favorite).

Before you cut out your tee slide the pattern piece back from the fold. I went for 2″ (a total of 4″ once unfolded) but you can adjust that number for more or less fullness. I also added a little bit of extra length to the hem to account for the slight 1/2″ I was going to lose with the modifications.

Next, determine where you want to divide your bodice piece and make a horizontal cut. I decided not to cut all the way through the armscye so as not to have to alter the sleeves but in retrospect I could have just shaved off a 1/2″ from the bottom of the armscye and not had to alter the sleeve at all. Go whichever rout you feel more comfortable with.

Once you have divided the bodice piece you’ll need to open the top section and trim it back a bit leaving about 1.5″ extending past the original pattern.

Cut your remaining pattern pieces switching out your neckband for a long 1.5″ wide strip for binding the neckline later.

To prep the placket pieces I ironed them back 3/4″ and fused them down with a little hem tape. (If you plan to use snaps instead of the buttons you will probably need to add more here in the way of stabilizer).

If you plan to fasten the neck with buttons then go ahead and add the button holes here while everything is flat and easy to maneuver. (As you can see from the partially gathered bit in the pic I learned this the hard way).

Mark out your spacing with pins or tailor’s chalk

Run a couple gathering threads along your horizontal cut (longest stitch length) and gently pull the bobbin threads to gather in the bottom section. Pin your placket together exactly as you want it to look when the top is finished and then gather the bottom bit so it lines up nicely with the top half. Set the gathers with a quick blast of steam from the iron.

Carefully fold the top section down onto the bottom like pictured below. It’s important that you line everything up very neatly so take your time.
Pin and another quick steam.

Carefully sew or serge the slit closed making a very shallow and even curve on and off the fabric. Try to sew between the two gathering threads for nice even gathers (they are there to hold the gathers in place with you sew and can removed afterwards).

(note* If you chose earlier to cut the top all the way through the armscye then just sew the top and bottom sections together in a straight line, no fading on and off needed)

Smooth open and iron again.

Don’t laugh at my buttonholes, this was the best my machine and I could manage😐

Starting to look pretty good eh? Now you can go ahead and complete the tee as usual. Your neck finishing will be a bit different since it’s no longer a closed loop but everything else will be the same. Last step, stitch on those buttons! Buttons are still done by hand around here and every time I sew one I remember how peaceful and rewarding hand stitching is and that I should do more of it! #withthebestofintentions

Happy sewing!