Pattern Hacks · Sewing

Finding An A-line T-shirt Dress Pattern

A line t-shirt dresses

Every sewist needs a good T-shirt dress pattern. One they can turn to in all seasons for a quick make. A pattern with a long sleeve, short sleeve and a sleeveless variation. A pattern with pockets and a variety of necklines. A pattern that fits well and makes you feel confident. This pattern should be in everyone’s stash.

For me this pattern is an A-line flared jersey dress.

My Figure Type

I’ll tell you a little about my figure type and why I like an A-line flare. I’m about a UK size 18 or US 16. But of course, that is only a ball park for what I can wear.

My bust is large compared to my upper chest circumference which means I always need a Full Bust Adjustment. My shoulders are narrow; I usually need to make a narrow shoulder adjustment of at least 1-2 cm on patterns. My waist and hips measure proportionately as hour glass but most of my waist shaping occurs in my lower back rather than the sides of my waist. In other words, my butt sticks out.

From the front my profile is a rectangle or pear, since my shoulders are narrower than my hips and I don’t appear to have much of a waist. However, from the side, I’m an S shape as both my bust and butt curve outwards from my profile. This contrast of profiles can make it hard to find a silhouette that suits my shape. If something looks good from the front, it can look tent-like from the side. Does anyone else have this problem?

The A-Line T-shirt Dress

My best bet is a dress with a good shoulder fit and not much excess fabric in the bust or under the arm, skimming the waist, with an A-line flare to the hem. My velveteen dresses are a good example of this.

I usually draft my own pattern for this. But I wanted to recommend patterns that are already available. This is such a basic silhouette that I thought there would be plenty of dresses to choose from.

It was harder than I thought. Most jersey dresses are quite straight through the hips. Like this one from New Look.

New Look 6298

If you have narrow hips, this would be a good choice. I like the raglan sleeve in two lengths, neckline variations and patch pockets. I couldn’t wear this without making an A-line alteration; But that’s not hard to do.

So I kept looking for a dress with a little flare. I found this offering from Kwik Sew, 3954.

Kwik 3954

This has the advantage (to me) of being a downloadable PDF pattern. I don’t love the hem though. I don’t really want a peak-a-boo into my upper thigh area. I would straighten that up.

The pattern comes with two lengths of sleeve and a separate cowl. Still, there is work to do to get it to look like the pattern I want.

This pattern from McCall’s, 7240 is getting closer, although maybe it is too fitted in the upper body.

McCall's 7240

It also has a thing going on with the neckline that isn’t really necessary and means more fiddling to change the neckline shape. It has set-in sleeves, and a variety of sleeve and hem lengths though.

What about this Boatneck dress from Blank Slate Patterns?

Blank Slate Boatneck dress

I envy the model her beautiful, broad shoulders. Boatnecks are not good for my narrow shoulders/large bust, so that would need changing. I’m also not sure how much flare there is on this dress. It looks okay from the line drawing.

Blank Slate Patterns Shoreline Boatneck dress

But this view looks suspiciously narrow in the hem.

Blank Slate Boat Neck Dress

Also, now that I look again, there seems to be quite a bit of ease in the upper sleeve area. All these things can be altered, but I was looking for a simple pattern.

I then digressed off into looking at t-shirt patterns for altering. The trouble is, everything I found needed some alterations to be just a basic, jersey, A-line dress.

Am I missing something?

If you know of a good pattern for this already, please let me know!

Otherwise, I will be showing you how to alter these patterns to get the dress we want. I think this lovely dress from Gorman is my platonic ideal.

Gorman Spot dress

Add some patch pocket and sleeve length options and we are good to go. Love those shoes too!

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