Hack This Tee: Sailor Sweetheart

Remember this tee from Plasticland?  This week on Sew Weekly, the challenge is “Make This Look,” which is an interesting regular feature on the blog.  The idea is to knock off a RTW dress or top or other garment as closely as possible and show others how to do it.

Tanit-Isis made me a Blank Canvas Tee schematic drawing, thank you Taran!  (The other one is just there to the right on the sidebar.)  Graphics is not my strong point.  I drew in a few lines and buttons to give you an idea of how this draft will work.  The only difference between my shirt and Plasticland’s is that I’m using cut-on sleeves, and I prefer shorter tees.  I think this design could be styled in several interesting ways, not just nautical.

These hacks are the main reason I wanted to post a tee pattern for download- so I can share simple little drafting exercises, especially geared towards those who would like to draft but don’t know where to start.  If you’ve ever wanted to play around with changing a pattern for design rather than just fit, you may want to play with a hack.  I plan to publish one a month this year.  It’s not too hard, just one step after another.

You can see the finished Sailor Sweetheart Top and details at Sew Weekly.

Begin with your favorite tee pattern.  If you’re using the Blank Canvas Tee, please double check your length and ease preferences before you begin this hack, and transfer any changes to your “master” pattern.  You’ll need a long-ish ruler (I use a 24″ quilter’s rule), a pen and a bit of paper or tracing medium- a semi-transparent medium works well.  I’m using a sharpie as it’s easier to photograph; you can do as you please.

I’d be really interested to know if anyone makes this tee- I’ll post the photos of the final garment and construction notes later this week (or keep an eye out on Sew Weekly!).  If you find yourself working on this and get lost, just leave me a comment and I’ll fix you up.

Fabric used: jersey


  1. Hi Steph, I am reading this on my netbook and the 5 photos with caption format is really squishing up. Is it how you see it too?
    Love the sound of it and the look! In fact I wish I’d thought of something like this for my navy and natural tee. May have to make anudder one :)

    • Yeah– I’m not sure which is the best format for presenting this kind of information… I was trying to avoid a reaaaaaaalllllly long-ish traditional style post- if there’s any wordpress gurus out there who have a better idea than gallery for user-friendliness, let me know!

      Really, if you go through and make your pattern look like mine… I took photos at every step so that words would be somewhat irrelevant. But I’m pretty happy to change it around a bit. I want to be useful- constructive criticism is appreciated. :)

      It’s such a fun top to wear– I can’t wait to show y’all but I have to wait for Sew Weekly! :)

      Also got super lazy on the whale embroidery on the pirate skirt.. I started doing it, hated it, ripped it out, started another design, also hated it, so I think I’ll look around for a fusible whale patch to use… Except surprise, surprise my local Spotlight doesn’t have any decent patches… Beh.

  2. I really must get around to making your blank canvas T so I can think about hacks! I’ll get Mr D to print it out for me tomorrow.

    And I’ve been checking the Sew Weekly hourly waiting for you post on this to come up!

  3. Steph, I’ve been hoping for some time to work on the BCT but the kids…well, you know. I’m so into the nautical theme. This is going to be the thing that impulses me to make time for the basic tee so I can work on hacks. And I love that you’re putting this hack out there. I’m just loving your work!

  4. thanks for sharing the whole process, this is very cute! I’ve seen it published on the Sew Weekly blog – a very good ‘Make This Look’

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  7. I’ve seen your birds on a wire t shirt & think it looks like THE perfect basic t-shirt, & now this? Possibly the perfect nautical t shirt?!
    Very clever! Thanks for all the learnings

    • No probs. I’ve learned so much from the online sewing community, it’s really fun to “give something back” in my own way. :)

    • I know it seems a LOT of info, but I wrote it in such a way that when you’re actually working on it, the directions will make sense. I may offer this as a download-for-a-small-fee pattern later, it’s a LOT of work to grade patterns though. :)

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  10. Thanks for sharing this pattern! I really love it and I am going to try making it. But just to make sure, what kind of fabric did you use for this ( I’m a bit of a novice)?

  11. Did you ever post the construction notes? I *think* I have an idea but I also think I’m starting to confuse myself with the order of things. Thanks!

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