Friday, 4 April 2014

Making a Classic Breton Tshirt at The Thrifty Stitcher

This weekend I attended a workshop at The Thrifty Stitcher in Stoke Newington, learning how to make a classic Breton tshirt.  The class was run by Melissa Fehr of Fehr Trade.  It was a nice small class, with only four students - Amy, Charlene, Louise and myself.  It was great spending an afternoon with fellow sewers.  We chatted about all sorts of things from sewing machines, to sewing tables and spaces, and spent a while talking about my favourite topic at the moment - The Great British Sewing Bee.  If you are interested in doing some Great British Sewing Bee inspired makes, keep an eye out on The Thrifty Stitcher website.  There may be more workshops coming.

We started by choosing our fabric.  Melissa had three different stripy knits to choose from - two blue/white and one red/white.  I chose a lovely blue/white stripe with a four way stretch which came from Tissu.  It's a great quality fabric, with a nice silky feel.

We were given a pattern in four sizes.  The pattern was for a "slouchy" style of tshirt, with dolman sleeves.  We were able to try on some sample tshirts to work out which size to cut.  Melissa had very kindly stuck the printed the patterns together for us - a task really don't like.

As my fabric had a four way stretch, I could add the sleeves with the stripes running along the arm, or around the arm.  I decided to try them running along the arm, so that the stripes matched in with the body of the tshirt.  We all cut out our chosen fabric then headed to the overlockers to sew the pieces together.  This was the method we used for piecing our tshirt:

  1. Overlock front and back bodice pieces together at shoulder seams.
  2. Overlock short ends of neckband together to form a loop.
  3. Fold neckband in half lengthwise and overlock neckband onto the bodice.
  4. Overlock sleeves onto bodice.
  5. Overlock side of bodice and sleeve seams.
  6. Turn up hem and sleeves by 2cm and stitch with a twin needle.
  7. Top stitch neckline so that neckband seam is secured against the bodice fabric.

Overall it was a very easy make.  Unlike at home, the twin needle stitching was really neat and didn't pucker the seam, or unravel.  The neckband also looked very neat.  This is my finished tshirt.

It's probably a bit "slouchier" than I would normally wear, but I was really pleased with how it turned out.  I'm also feeling a lot more confident about sewing with knits.  All up, I think this was a great course.  The small class size, meant you got lots of individual attention, and could ask as many questions as you wanted.  It was also nice that everything was provided, even the fabric.  I would highly recommend checking out The Thrifty Stitcher courses yourself.


  1. Hey Katie, lovely blog post about Sunday's class, i really enjoyed it too. I got home thought I remembered the name of your blog but then hit a (metaphorical) brick wall when searching for 'random crafty endeavours'! So close but yet so far! Anyway, now i know where you are online, i'll follow. Hope you enjoy makign some more Breton tees :o)

    1. Hi Charlene. It really was a fun class, and such a nice group too. Glad you finally found the blog. You weren't far off.

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