Tyo’s Too-Tight Top

Tyo's Too-Tight Shirt

So, just for the record, when you have a child who’s 140 cm tall, and the pattern is for a child 120 cm tall, even if the chest measurements match, it’s still going to take more than just lengthening the sleeves to get it to fit.

Just so you know.

Tyo being Tyo, the shoulders fit pretty much just right.

Now, before I get into the details too far, you will have noticed that the exuberant photo above is, above all, of craptacular quality. Guess what didn’t make it home from vacation? Yup, my camera charger. Blog, meet iPhone photos. IPhone photos, meet blog.* Here’s hoping my inlaws are better at mailing stuff than I and can be bothered to mail it back to me before we go back for Christmas…

Tyo's shirt. She is sad it doesn't fit the way it's supposed to. She'll probably wear it anyway.

For this reason I haven’t got much in the way of detail shots. I took them, they just didn’t turn out.

So, I’m feeling brutally mixed emotions about this project. Mostly because it didn’t fit. Mostly because the pattern wasn’t the right size in the first place (see first paragraph). Tyo’s also, to her father’s dismay, begun increasing in the chest measurement recently, so that may be playing a role here, too. On the other hand, it’s a pretty fun pattern (Lekala 7171), I think, a simple shirt with a striking detail on the back. Everything went together well, and having the MPB Men’s Shirt sewalong to reference pretty much makes up completely for the lack of instructions.


The execution is far from flawless, but it’s reasonable, I think. Topstitching on the Featherweight remains fun (although I’m using regular thread, not topstitching thread, so it wasn’t as fun as it could have been). I re-did the entire collar and stand, widening it by about 3cm and cutting out each side individually so that I could (almost) perfectly match all the stripes. Yay me.


I used cardboard templates for shaping both the pockets and the sleeve plackets. Getting and keeping the bias-cut pockets square and even was quite a pain. Washable glue-stick was helpful. On the other hand, all the stripes make for super-easy positioning on the front, so it’s not all bad. Oh, and you can just about see the minute side-bust dart in the pic above, to the left of the pocket. This took in about 1 cm total of width. The original pattern had vertical, double-ended darts below the bust, too, but as they were about .5 cm at their widest point, I chose not to bother with them.

Placket (not an iPhone photo)

The plackets. This is only my second set of plackets, and thus far both have been made out of flannelly material, which is probably not the easiest stuff for it. I’m reasonably happy with how they turned out, however, despite a certain amount of user error. This is the little-house-on-the-placket style of placket, I think. I say I think because instead of the little house with an addition on the side shape of the other pieces I’ve seen, this one had a double peak to the roof (AA instead of A_ if that makes any sense… I’m too lazy to make a real diagram). I managed, by re-reading Peter’s post, to refresh my memory enough to put the plackets on the right side facing in the right direction (although it was a bit chancy). The user error came in in not allowing enough extra length at the top for the little house-roof-thingy. If I’d paid more attention and made my slash the length recommended by the pattern, it would’ve been fine. It’s still fine, except the opening is about an inch too long (note I didn’t lengthen the placket when I lengthened the sleeve—although looking at the technical drawing I suspect that they just didn’t change the length of the placket when they graded the pattern, so it’s a bit long for the shirt to begin with) so the opening goes clear to the elbow. Also it could really use a button halfway along, but I forgot when I was putting in the buttonholes.

Back view. Very glad I added that extra width at the bottom.

The back looks pretty spiffy, if I do say so myself. As you can see, the fit across the shoulders is pretty good in the back, even though it won’t quite close in the front.

The back on Syo

It felt really good to do some real sewing again finally. I spent most of the morning (whatever wasn’t spent ferrying my father-in-law around and mediating among four little girls. Who don’t actually seem to fight any more than two little girls do, but man those preschoolers can CRY) in the sewing room. With a lot of company from my four-year-old niece (of the polkadot sundress fame) telling me about how she’d love to have this and this and that sewn for her.

Weird flash-face. Note horizontally-matching stripes on the front.

Out of curiosity, I got Syo to try it on (she is roughly 120 cm tall). It’s none too spacious on her either, although it does close, at least. The shoulder-fit is remarkably similar to on Tyo, though. It’s pretty obvious which of my kids got my broad shoulders.

Side view on Syo

Syo likes to flex and show off her muscles. They are pretty impressive, frankly.


Gratuitous pics, I know. But I couldn’t resist the weird foreshortening in this one.

Sleeve rolled up

Both kids agree that the sleeves are better rolled up, anyway. They just possibly might have inherited this from their father.

Sorry if the post is a bit incoherent and disjointed. The shock of going from zero to four children (two of them now on antibiotics) in the house in under a week still has me a bit flattened. Though I’m glad to have mine back and to have the chance to spend some serious time with my nieces. I just wish I could’ve spent more of the week enjoying them, rather than trying to work in, around, and between interruptions.

Oh, and just for the sake of completeness, the pattern is Lekala 7171, and here’s the technical drawing again:

Technical drawing

*My camera is a Sony point-n-shoot, which is the only calibre of camera I’m qualified to manipulate. Interestingly, my friend’s Sony smart-phone takes awesome pictures. Obviously Apple has not completely cornered the market on awesome. Which does little to reduce my overall iPod addiction, but anyway.



Filed under Sewing

21 responses to “Tyo’s Too-Tight Top

  1. It is a really cute top, and it looks like it will get worn, perhaps by someone other than intended, but still…. That back detail turned out awesome!

  2. That is a completely awesome top, and as an elder sister, I really feel for Tyo that it seems to fit her sister rather nicely. (:. At least someone will wear it.
    I think additional children, delightful as they can be, are quite exponential rather than merely additional in the parenting/aunting demands. Just think how easy and quiet it will be when some of them go home….

    • You’re absolutely right about the exponential growth of parenting… two is way more work than one, and four is making my head spin around on my body (at least they’re all toilet trained!)

      Yeah, I am feeling really bad for Tyo. We will have to try to find more of the fabric and make it again…

  3. I am so envious! My Mothers idea of fashion forward when she sewed for me was puff sleeves and frog print corduroy!

    • Hah! That reminds me of a conversation I just had with my cousin about the last dress her mom made her. It was for her gr. 7 graduation. Her mom didn’t consult her, just produced the final item one day. Puff sleeves, little-house-on-the-prairie-in-a-bad-way… needless to say my cousin never wore it and my aunt never made her anything else. While there’s certainly room for parental guidance in picking patterns and fabric for kids’ clothes, I don’t at all see the point of making them something without involving them in the design process. Even then it can be a bit hit or miss…

  4. The shirt really turned out super, sizing so tricky isn’t it. Love the back. Your girls are cute as bugs by the way.

  5. I learned this same lesson with the nerdlet. She is around 95 cm tall at 3 1/2, but is the equivalent of a newborn around her chest (and smaller around her waist). I’ve learned besides lengthening the patterns that I have to adjust the shoulders the armholes, the area on the front and back from the shoulders to under the arms and adjust the ease for a lot of activity if it isn’t there. I’m also learning that although the bear cub has only a slightly larger waist at the same ages that she has much smaller shoulders and chest and because of the Down syndrome, her arms and legs are significantly shorter, so that gives me a much different set of changes. Darth baby is huge compared to the both of them and at 8 months is wearing a lot of the same clothes as the bear cub who is 28 months, though the clothing tends to be long on her. I’m really glad that I know how to sew and also that the nerdlet is found of dresses (at least now).

    • Yes, and yours are very close together in age, too, so it’s easy for a younger one to outgrow an older one… that sounds like an exhausting set of alterations for the nerdlet!

  6. I love the detail on the back. I think I’d like to have a shirt like that. Love the muscles photo, too 🙂

  7. The shirt looks great! So sad for Tyo that it will possibly be passed down too quick, but I’ve had that experience with ready-to-wear as well — ya just never know how some things are gonna shrink.

    Oldest inherited my swayback/bubble butt and we’re already having to go up sizes to make sure he doesn’t split his butt seam. I just make him wear a belt, although if it gets much worse in correlation with his long legs, I might have to start making his pants so I can lengthen the crotch like I do with mine.

    • I have a feeling Tyo’s going to have pants-fitting issues out the wazoo once she outgrows the elastic-backed pants…

      • You’re probably right. A couple of these photos show horizontal wrinkles below the bottom – I have the same problem. I think I’ve also just about given up on ever buying another pair of pants/trousers again.

  8. Kids. They have this penchant to grow their bodies & outgrow their clothes – but to do it before a piece is even finished? You gotta sew faster, Mom!

    That top looks ageless! Add me to everyone else who loves the back detail – hope you find an even more awesome fabric for Tyo to have one she loves, in a good fit 🙂

  9. It is really cute and you should just be proud you got something done under all those crazy circumstances.

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