Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Pattern Challenge: Alabama Stitch Book T-shirt Corset

I completed my first project for the pattern challenge, the T-shirt corset pattern from the Alabama Stitch Book.

Pattern Description: T-shirt corset pattern from Alabama Stitch Book
Pattern Sizing: S,M,L,XL

I usually wear a size 12, and I made an XL. My first version was too tight in the bust, so I took it apart and replaced the front pieces, increasing the bust by about 1/2".

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, but larger. ;)

Were the instructions easy to follow? The instructions were easy to follow and the shirt went together really quickly. The directions are for a completely hand-sewn garment, but I used my sewing machine for everything. This did not cause any particular problems with assembling the shirt. I may eventually do the hand sewn version, but I wasn't about to try that without testing the pattern size first.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
Likes: The shape is great and very flattering to a woman's curves. The construction is VERY fast if you are using a sewing machine... about 1 hour to complete the shirt assuming that you don't have to redo anything.

Dislikes: The instructions are extremely vague about things like fabric requirements (the book just says to use 4 t-shirts... and if your pattern pieces don't fit, try bigger shirts). Also, you have to refer to different parts of the book to get the complete instructions. I did not like the method for covering the edges at the neck, armholes, and bottom hem... more on that below.

Fabric Used: Black cotton jersey from Joann's

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: The book includes instructions for an all-over applique version and a version made from printed t-shirts. I mostly followed the instructions for the printed version, but used plain cotton jersey. I didn't like the raw edges at the top, bottom, and armholes, so I tried using the instructions from the applique version to add edging at the neck and armholes. This did not work at all, possibly because I was using a sewing machine, possibly because my jersey was a nice thick fabric and the instructions have you sewing through 7 layers of jersey in some places, or possibly both. I ended up working out my own method through trial and error (and seam ripping).
The instructions also said to leave all seams to the outside. I put them all to the inside and then top-stitched them to one side.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I already sewed the pattern again and found that with a less stretchy fabric it is too tight. I will most likely increase the pattern a bit and try again.

Even though I had a few issues, I think that it is a pretty good beginner pattern, especially if you make the patterned shirt as indicated and don't try to add edging.  I would recommend it to others because the result is very pretty and I would be happy to share my method for adding the edging on the neckline, armholes, and bottom hem if you want them.
the front:

and the back:


  1. Yay! It looks great!

  2. Nice job! It's very flattering!! :-)

  3. Awesome! Although it sounds like it was a bit of a pain, it looks great! Great review, too, so helpful!

  4. That is beautifully done, I agree it is very flattering. I've got to check out that book, I keep hearing about it and seeing cool stuff like this that people have made.

  5. I am working on one of these. I want to wear it as a foundation garment. Any advice? I agree that the thickness of the seam allowances is a bit much. Did you use two layers of fabric> You say you finished the edges differently. What did you do?