ALL SEWN UP: A ‘Boxy Tee’

by Jamie on January 31, 2015


I’ve only recently started to seriously contribute to my own self sewn wardrobe… and after such a long time buying very little RTW to replace clothes that have seen better days, there is now a huge deficit in my wardrobe basics. This was clearly brought into focus the other week when I was planning on what to pack for a short break to visit dear friends in Byron Bay.

Until now, working from home and being a mum has meant that I mostly have need for casual and comfortable basics like jeans, tee shirts, cardigans, sneakers and Birkenstocks – I pretty much live those things 24 / 7!

But in packing for this trip, I struggled to collate outfits from my wardrobe that were appropriate to wear on holiday and that differed from my usual, old, day-to-day, slouchy, comfortable stuff – ever so practical, but, lets face it, not terribly inspiring.

So keeping in mind my thoughts on investment sewing, I resisted the urge to go RTW shopping on a panic buying spree that I knew would result in complete dissatisfaction and a gaping hole in my wallet… Instead, I thought I’d supplement my wardrobe with a few handmade tops that were much longer wearing, potentially more flattering and a notch or two up on the everyday basics I’d been wearing all year.

Today’s ‘All Sewn Up’ is a top I managed to make in time for the trip to Byron Bay. I’d been eyeing the ‘boxy t-shirt’ shape for ages and had designed my version of a ‘boxy t-shirt’ pattern and toiled it up a while ago, so I knew I could rely on the fit side of things.

boxy top flat

I decided to make the top in fabric I had in my stash – a remanent from a design job a few years ago and just itching to be made into something I could wear. The fabric was a blend of cool and comfortable linen with the added luxe of silk – perfect for what I had in mind.

Being yarn dyed and a light-weight twill weave, the fabric was a little heavier than a usual summer-weight plain weave – but I couldn’t go past the denim-like fabric in such a great fibre blend.

Of course I pre-washed the fabric to ensure there was no shrinkage after the garment was made… Being a silk blend, I think hand washing is recommended, but I now throw these types of fabrics into a lingerie bag and wash them on a gentle cycle in the machine. This usually presents no problems and is much preferable to dry cleaning or having to continually hand wash an everyday item.


The top had been designed as a very simple, boxy, woven t-shirt, but I decided to face the neckline, sleeve hems and the hemline to the outside of the garment in self-fabric. I then folded under and topstitched the outer-edge of the facing to finish. This gave the appearance of separate inserts at the hemlines and neck opening – which was something I thought was needed to add a bit of extra interest to the garment. The facings also served to adequately finish the shaped hemlines that had been specifically designed to actually create the illusion of being completely level.


The neckline was wide enough not to need an extra zip or button opening and I included a little pocket with an inverted pleat to the left side of the body, which I think balanced all the elements of the garment.

My only reservation about this project is the fabric is a little too heavy for the really, really hot days we have in high summer here in Melbourne. I do have the tendency to love a fabric and try to make it fit a style that might not be its perfect match – a sort of indication of my risk-taking behaviour when it comes to sewing. Luckily, I think I got away with it this time, as I can see the style lending itself to layering over a long-sleeve tees in winter, as well as being worn on its own on milder summer days.


All in all, I was particularly happy with how this garment turned out. I feel great when I’m wearing it and I have been reaching into my wardrobe for it more often than not. In my book, this tee really fulfilled the investment sewing criteria. Long wearing quality fabric, a flattering fit, a versitile shape and transeasonal fabric – a great wardrobe investment.

Sew, Wear Love


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Janene Trickey February 1, 2015 at 9:33 am

Love it. Will you publish the pattern at some stage?


Jamie February 2, 2015 at 3:14 am

Hey Janene, I am starting to make patterns for myself that could potentially end up as patterns available for sale or distribution to my readers – so it is a possibility that a pattern like the boxy top will be made available in the future… Thanks for asking : )


Leave a Reply

{ 1 trackback }