Friday, September 9, 2016

Neckline Extravaganza!! J Stern Designs-The Tee

Neckline shirt project. 
Goal: take a well fitting base knit shirt and play with the necklines to create a variety of Tee shirts for summer and fall. All shirts use the same pattern pieces for the upper and lower back and lower front. What was changed was neckline pieces and variety of sleeves.Sleeve decision based purely on my decision of summer or fall/winter wardrobe.  Click on any photo to see it larger.
Shirt: Jen Stern Tee pattern # 0041
You can purchase the Tee pattern and neckline workbook at

Shirt #1: Original boatneck neckline. This is a polyester ITY knit. I constructed this shirt back in early July before going to JSTern neckline workshop.

The JStern Tee with the original neckline and changes to the front and back lower pieces as seen below. These are the main pieces that are used on every shirt.
For the look I wanted on a basic Tee I needed to shorten the bodice by 2 inches and I also wanted a more swingy look. To Achieve this I used a slash and spread method.

Shirt #2 and #3: two variations on 'V' necklines. I choose to make these soft V's instead of a sharp neckline. The top shirt is made with neckline facings and the fabric is a remnant I had from a project several years ago. This is a very thin, see thru tissue knit. Perfect for hot summer days! The bottom shirt neckline was bound with a knit binding over the lace. The lace was is an Anna Sui over printed stretch lace purchased from Britex. I used an underlayer of the light blue cotton/rayon knit (shown below in high crossover neckline shirt). The back top, sleeves and upper front are all the single layer of the lace. 

The 2 versions of the V neckline versus the original boatneck pattern piece. Theses 2 V necklines were developed in a neckline workshop with Jen Stern and are included in her Tee workbook.

Shirt #4: High Crossover neckline made with separate facings. This is one of my favorite necklines although the color of the shirt is kind of blah on me. This is a more stable, very smooth, cotton/rayon knit.

High crossover pattern piece versus the original neckline. This was also developed in Jen Stern's neckline workshop and is included in her workbook.
Shirt #5: Draped neckline version 1. During the workshop my brain started ticking away with ideas and between Wendy and I we thought what about a draped neckline? 
This first draped neckline is cut with separate facings. The fabric is a soft rayon knit. I played with the direction of the print. The bottom, main pieces of the shirt are cut with the print going horizontal. and the sleeve, upper back and upper front pieces are cut on the vertical. Makes for a fun design! I won't say what online site I purchased this from... It was so off grain and I was just lucky to have had purchased 3 yards. It took all 3 yards for me to get enough on grain print to make this top! 

For this neckline I slashed and spread vertically and decided that I would make this with a facing so the main pattern piece is cut on the fold. This is my own pattern development. 
Shirt #6: draped neckline version 2. with a foldover free facing that I cut as a single layer on the bias. This is made of a thicker very soft modal knit and is a re-fashion from a dress that I no longer wore. This fabric was bought several years ago from JoAnn's and is the nicest fabric I have ever purchased from JoAnn's! It has been washed and dried at least a dozen times and the fabric was like new. I have never found it again at JoAnn's!
You can see this is developed from the first draped neckline(outline in pencil on left). I just raised the front and drew it so that the neckline would just foldover and come from the seamline at the shoulder. I also decided to cut this on the bias to play with that draping property.  I really like this one as well! Below you can see the full pattern piece.

Shirt #7: draped neckline version 3. This is also a foldover free facing design. This is made from a stiffer 100% cotton knit and has less stretch and drape than the rest of the shirts. This is a super fun fox print from Girl Charlie fabrics. This draped neckline has the largest drape. I toyed with the idea of cutting it on the bias but I didn't want the print interrupted that way. So I cut it on the cross grain. Due to the stiffer fabric you can see in the photo all the way on right that this causes a more dimensional neckline.
This neckline again was created with a slash and spread method although I used a vertical slash and spread method. Next time I use this i will cut it as a single layer on bias. 

You may be thinking what ever possessed you to make so many versions of the same shirt? Well... A couple pats backed I told you that I have been unwell. On one night, very late at night, unable to sleep and on pain medication, I decided that I really hated the regular old t-shirts in my dresser draw and that I needed to make new ones. Tee shirts that are fun, interesting and that fit well. Not being able to sleep I went down to my sewing studio and pulled a bunch of fabrics and started cutting.
Several days later and I had a bunch of new shirts! Constructed 98% on my serger all with the same thread color. I really approached this project with a lets see what happens! attitude with nothing to lose since most of these fabrics were remnants from other projects. This project also served to kick start my sanity from this nasty illness I am dealing with.

6 new necklines!
wait.. what? another shirt?
Well this is version: EPIC FAIL!
In the Jen STern Tee workbook she has directions for a couple wider necklines that are just too wide for me! Of course I had to document this silliness and of course my hubby really liked this one!! LOL!! I guess i'm just not one for the off the shoulder look.
What was interesting about this shirt was the dual sleeve. It didn't really work with this fabric combo but has potential for something in the future.
Flutter sleeve pattern that I developed on top. Just slashed and spread the original short sleeve so I would have a flutter sleeve.

Happy Sewing!!

Here are some fun outtakes of Princess Victoria. She was helping with the photo shoot!

Trying on grandma's new shirt!


  1. You have made some super tops, it's amazing how little changes makes a huge difference to the end result. The high cross over is my favourite too, the curve is so flattering. So many patterns are similar and when you know how you can recreate lots without spending out on a new pattern each time.

    1. Thank you Lynsey! This has turned out to be a great pattern with so many fun options to try.

  2. Thanks so much for showing some potentials for one of my favorite patterns. I love the swing alteration and the high crossover neckline.


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