Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Tutorial: Flashback Skinny to Envelope Tee

One of my favorite products of KCWC was the envelope t-shirt.

Here's how I drafted the pattern for that shirt.

(1) Find a onesie or envelope t-shirt. Fold the front in half and trace around it, leaving space for a seam allowance.
(2) It's helpful to turn the onesie inside out to get more accurate lines for the armholes.
(3) Trace the sleeves as well. (I had to find another shirt with sleeves big enough.)
The biggest lesson I learned from KCWC is that I'm a pattern girl. Sure, I can draft my own pattern. But things like armholes and necklines trip me up every time. So I spend copious amounts of time fixing things, tweaking things, and re-drafting things.

Besides my pattern being inaccurate, the kids grow, and I have to start the process all over again when they go up a size.

It's so much easier for me to modify an existing pattern. The Flashback Skinny Tee pattern from Made by Rae is perfect for this project. I bought it and re-mixed it into another envelope t-shirt -- only this one will fit right and includes sizes 12 month - 5T.
Here's how I did it.

(5) Trace the Flashback Skinny Tee pattern in your desired size.
(6) I re-traced the pattern with my modifications - first by making the t-shirt wider and then by making the sleeve caps wider for a gathered sleeve. The final modification was to make the envelope style. Starting at the shoulder seam, curve the shoulder around in the shape you see below. It helps if you have a onesie or envelope t-shirt to see how it works. (Um, my pattern weights are old Harrah's casino tokens. $20 worth to be exact.)
(7) I tested my sketch by folding over the paper pattern to simulate the envelope style.
(8) Re-trace lines as necessary to make things line up.
(9) Lay it out flat to be sure all pieces will meet properly.
(10) Your finished pattern pieces!
(11) Cut your front, back, and sleeve pieces.
(12) Measure around the front and back necklines to determine how much neck binding you'll need.
(13) Cut the pieces for the binding. (Mine were 17" x 1 1/2".)
(There are several different ways to bind the neck. I learned this from Sewing for Boys and it's my preferred method. It will leave a raw edge on the inside of the neck, but knit doesn't fray and it'll be less bulky.)
(14) Pin the binding to the neckline, right sides together. Stitch. Try not to stretch the binding as you go along or you'll have gathers along the neck.
(15) Trim seam allowance to 1/4".
(16 - 17) Fold binding over seam allowance to wrong side of fabric.
(18) Pin in place and stitch. (When sewing at this stage, I remove my pins as I go to avoid any puckers.)
(19) Press.
(20) Fold back neckline over front. Baste in place.
(21) Find center of armhole and center of sleeve. Mark with pin.
(22) I gathered my sleeves at this point.
(23) Pin sleeves to armhole, right sides together, being sure to catch all layers. There may be some extra fabric hanging over from the necks.
(24) I prefer to baste sleeves first inside the seam allowance, check their placement, and then go back and stitch properly.
(25) Attach other sleeve.
(26) Pin sides and arms, right sides together. (You can see my Crazy in all its glory here with a pin in every stripe.) 
(27) Stitch each side/arm in one continuous seam.
(28) If you choose a simple hem, turn up sleeves and bottom. My preferred method is to hem with a double needle. (You can also add cuffs. The pattern includes those, too.) Next time I'll lengthen this a little -- it turned out a tad short.
There you go! A Flashback Skinny turned Envelope t-shirt. 

Easy, comfortable, and adorable. 

Here's a list of references that have more information and variations:
Made by Rae Flashback Skinny Tee
Puff-sleeve Flashback Tee Tutorial
90-minute Shirt Tutorial by Dana of MADE
Make Your Own Pattern Tutorial by Dana of MADE
Using the Double Needle by Make It and Love It


  1. Adorable! I need to try this sometime too. :) And great knit!

    1. Thanks! I lucked up at a local sale that had awesome knit.

  2. I love it! You did a great job showing how you traced the envelope part of the shoulder, best I've seen ;o)

  3. Looks great! Can't wait to try it! :)

  4. No se como se me escapo hace 2 semanas su increíble tutorial.Cariños.


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