If you'd like to get yourself a classic Tee-shirt pattern, my Boat Neck Tee pattern is not overly tight, with soft shaping on the side seam, a boat neckline and three-quarter sleeves. For most of us the first pattern alteration, depending on the weather, will be sleeve length alterations.
At the moment it's well and truly warm in the northern hemisphere. So we'll start with the short sleeve version. When I'm making short sleeve patterns for industry, my usual starting point for sleeve length is around 20cm (8") long.
Trace the three-quarter sleeve from your pattern print, including all notches and grain line. Measure down from the top of the sleeve head for 20cm (8"), plus the 7mm (¼") seam allowance that is included at he top of the sleeve. Mark in a line across the width of the sleeve, at right angles to the grain line, at the 20cm level.
Add your hem allowance of 2cm (¾"), below the sleeve length line. When working with knit fabrics, it's best not to add larger hem depths unless absolutely necessary. Deeper hems in knit fabric often suffer from 'roping', which is a twist like distortion in the finished hem.
To finish off your pattern, it's important that the hem fold fits back inside the sleeve shape. To make the best shape, you can fold the hem up into it's final position and trace the outside edge of the pattern. This is often referred to as mirroring back on your hem allowance. Your short sleeve pattern is now ready to use.
Now for the rest of us that are experiencing cooler temperatures, the instructions to draft yourself a long sleeve pattern. Begin by tracing the original three quarter length sleeve and extend the grain line for a full-length sleeve. It's best to take your own sleeve measurement for this part of the alteration. You can also take your favourite long sleeve tee and take a measurement from that to get the desired length. On average, for a Australian size 10-12, I'd make my long sleeves 62cm (24 ½") long, not including seam and hem allowances. Mark in a line across the width of the sleeve, at right angles to the grain line, at your long sleeve length. Add a 2cm (¾") hem allowance below the sleeve length line.
On the sleeve length line, mark the width of the sleeve opening for your long sleeve. Again, for an Australian size 10-12, I'd make the sleeve opening 20cm (8"). That equals the wrist measurement plus 3-4cm (1¼ -1⅝") ease. Now that you have the sleeve opening set for your long sleeve, you can add your seam allowance (7mm/¼") to each side of the opening.
Now connect these marks back to the original sleeve seams, on both sides of your pattern. Mirror back the sleeve shape, on the hem depth, to complete your long sleeve pattern.
Now you're ready to cut yourself a long sleeve tee for the cooler months. My sample is cut from a little leftover merino knit, in three colours, for a casual tee.
If you have any questions about this post, or my Boat Neck Tee pattern, don't hesitate to leave your questions in the comments section below. I'm always happy to help. :)