Updated: Dec 13, 2019
Hello everyone! My name is Kelle and I usually blog at justsewsomething.com, but this week I’ll be your host for the Toby K. Patterns’ Berlin Tee Sew Along. The Berlin Tee is a great pattern with options to make a tank or T-shirt with 2 different sleeve lengths and 2 different necklines. You can even get a little more fancy with a zippered hood, an asymmetrical hem and/or thumbhole cuffs. I’ll also be showing you a mini-hack of adding regular cuffs, which I will explain as we go along. You can follow along here on the blog as I update every day and join us in the Facebook group. Any questions, please ask!
Day 1: Today we will be printing and assembling our patterns. Once you have downloaded the pattern (take advantage of the sale code here), the very first step is to get out the good old measuring tape and take some measurements. The Berlin Tee only requires two measurements (which was super helpful when measuring my husband): the chest and the waist. These are located on page 8 along with finished measurements if you would like to check back length and arm length as well.
Next, you have two choices: Print all the options or choose your options now and follow the Printing Guide on page 10 to save a little paper. If you prefer to cut your cuffs, binding, and neckbands without a pattern piece, there is a chart on page 7 to follow so you can eliminate those pages from your printing. This chart is also on the patten pieces as well, which I found very handy. I am making a long sleeve Berlin Tee with a V-neck and my own addition of regular cuffs, which is not included in the pattern.
Toby K. Patterns print as trimless pages and layers for quick and easy assembly. For detailed printing and assembly instructions, check out page 5 and 6 of the Berlin Tee tutorial. The most important thing here is checking the 1” x 1” test square after printing to ensure the pattern is printed to scale.
These are my standard supplies for assembling patterns: At least one ruler though I usually have two as I find my curved ruler very helpful when blending sizes (and it’s well loved as you can see), the pattern pages, scissors, a pencil, and tape. If you need to blend sizes or change the length of your pattern, instructions are on page 8 and 9.
With a little time, voila! Your pattern should be assembled, cut, and look something like this. As a reminder, don’t forget to make use of the notches. I usually cut mine out as little inward triangles and just mark with a marker on the fabric. Then I use binder clips to keep all my pattern pieces together as I usually assemble patterns and cut on different days, sort of like what we are doing now.
If you’d like to get a head start on tomorrow’s step, glance over the Fabric Requirements on page 11 and Supplies on page 12. Nothing is worse than getting ready to sew and realizing you don’t have the right things on hand! Prewash your fabric as well if you haven’t already so you are ready to cut.
And that’s it for today! Tomorrow we will be choosing and cutting our fabric. Be sure to take a picture of your progress and check in on the Facebook group post to have a chance to win a free pattern from Toby K. Patterns and free shipping on one fabric order from Amelia Lane Designs.
It’s time for Day 2! Our goal today is to choose and cut fabric in preparation for sewing tomorrow. At this point if you haven’t chosen your options, now is the time to decide. I can’t blame anyone for having a difficult time choosing because the Berlin Tee includes several great options. Since my husband is the one actually wearing the shirt, I figured I’d ask him. He chose a long sleeve as we are in winter right now, plain tee with a V-neck. I thought about talking him out of the V-neck as they aren’t my forte, but I figured I could use the practice.
Now the options are selected, it’s time to choose fabric. Fabric Recommendations are on page 11. In brief, this pattern is drafted for knit with at least 30% stretch. Bands and cuffs require 5% spandex and good recovery. You may need to size up on bulkier fabrics.
Amelia Lane Designs carries many knit fabrics that would be great for this shirt. Brushed poly, jersey, athletic fabrics, and rayon spandex are some great choices for warmer areas. French terry, scuba, liverpool, ponte, and sweater knits work well for colder areas. Since I have a literal rainbow of waffle knits, my husband and I decided on the olive waffle knit. The waffle knit does not have the required recovery and spandex content for neckband and cuffs so I chose to use the olive rib knit for those. The colors are not a perfect match, but I found the slight contrast to be a good design feature.
Now we cut! Be sure to keep your fabric as flat as possible and, with knits, it’s important to not allow them to hang over the edge of your cutting table. This can stretch the knit during the cutting process and your garment might end up a bit shorter than intended. I just bunch mine around the corners as shown in the picture below.
So now you should have a pile similar to this! And to keep all the pieces from going missing in my not-so-clean sewing area, I place them all in plastic bags. This way I can take pieces out as I need them and hopefully not lose them during the sewing process. Plus, the bags are reusable and easy to see through so I can at least guess what's in them.
Tomorrow’s task is bodice construction and options. Depending on which options you’ve chosen, round up supplies you will need (zipper, matching thread, interfacing, etc.).
And Day 2 is complete. Be sure to take a picture of your progress and check in on the Facebook group post.
We’ve made it to Day 3, which is going to be the longest sewing day and will vary widely depending on the options chosen. I’ve broken down the various steps and page numbers depending on the options chosen, which should keep us moving along even if we aren’t doing the same things.
If you are sewing the Tank Version, today is the time to sew the shoulder seams (pages 31-33). Follow directions if adding bindings BEFORE finishing the shoulder seams. Otherwise, it is also an option to just sew both shoulder seams and add the bindings tomorrow. Once the side seams are sewn (page 33), you are finished for the day.
The Tee Version is very similar. Starting on page 19, sew the shoulder seams together. If using waffle knits or a fabric with similar drape and less recovery, I would recommend adding clear elastic in the shoulder seams to help retain shape and prevent the shoulders from stretching out. For reference, Jan previously made a short video about adding elastic here. Next, add the sleeves, making sure to match all those notches previously marked (pages 19-20). Then pin and match the sleeve and side seams (page 20) and sew together. It should definitely be looking like a shirt at this point! And the Tee Version is done until tomorrow.
If you have chosen the Hood option instead of a neckband, today we will assemble that. The directions are on pages 16-17 for the regular hood and pages 16-18 for the zippered hood. If you are sewing a basic Tee Version, make sure to complete the steps above as well. If you are sewing a Zippered Hooded Tee, complete the steps below.
The Zippered Hooded Tee is both the coolest (in my opinion) and the longest option to sew. To start, complete your hood as indicated on pages 16-18. Then, follow directions on pages 13-15 to complete the placket. Next, sew the shoulder seams (page 19), attach the sleeves (pages 19-20), and sew the sleeve and side seams (page 20) just as you would for the regular Tee Version.
With that last step, we should all be to a point where the bodice is constructed, optional hood is assembled, and we are ready for tomorrow! My shirt currently looks like this.
Tomorrow we work on hemming, arms bands, and cuffs! I love that it’s only day 3 and we’ve got what definitely looks like a shirt. Hooray! Be sure to take a picture of your progress and check in on the Facebook group post!
Day 4 is all about hemming and cuffs. Hemming is probably my least favorite part of sewing (and I know I’m not alone) so if I can use a cuff or band, I probably will. In the Berlin Tee pattern, you have options. If making a Tank Version and you haven’t done bindings previously, now is the time to apply your bands. For other sleeves, the pattern includes an option to hem or to add thumbhole cuffs. My husband was not interested in thumbhole cuffs and I wasn’t interested in hemming so what did I do? I made my own cuffs. And I’ll show you how.
First thing I did was have my husband try on his shirt to check sleeve length. Then I decided what size to make my cuffs. I find average adult size cuffs are 2.5-3 inches long when completed. Therefore, I decided to cut my cuffs to a length of 6 inches (3 inches x 2) since they will be folded when attached. Then I cut 3 inches off the sleeves to make room for my cuffs. I measured the sleeve opening, which was about 5.5 inches. Cuffs can be made anywhere from 80-90% of the sleeve opening measurement, depending on how tight you like your cuffs. 85% of 5.5 inches (5.5 x .85) is 4.6 inches, which I rounded to 4.5 inches. Technically, you are supposed to be adding seam allowance to all these numbers, but I use a small seam allowance of 0.25 inch and have never had a problem. If you prefer a larger seam allowance, you can add that in to avoid cuffs becoming too tight. In summary, I cut two pieces which were 6 inches long and 9 inches wide (the cuff is folded in the picture).
To sew my cuffs, I fold them in half widthwise with right sides together, then fold them in half lengthwise and pin. I serge up the double-folded raw edges (4 layers total) using a 0.25 seam allowance, tie off the serger tail at the top, and unfold to reveal a completed cuff.
Addition of the cuffs to the shirt is straight forward: Quarter the sleeve opening and mark with pins, then quarter the cuff and mark with pins. Place cuff right side together over the shirt sleeve and match the pins and seams. Sew on, stretching the cuff slightly to fit while avoiding stretching the shirt. And you have a finished cuff without any hemming!
Thumbhole cuffs are explained in detail on pages 34-38. This method of assembly for thumbhole cuffs is my favorite and, once the cuff is constructed, attaching it is the same as above, quartering both and sewing together while stretching the cuff. Just make sure the thumbhole is where you want it!
If sewing the Tank Version and you used bindings in the previous steps, you simply need to hem the bottom today (and you should be finished! Congrats!).
If sewing the Tank Version and you did NOT use bindings, refer to pages 24-25 on how to apply the pieces as bands. Then fold the bindings to the wrong side of the shirt (page 32) and stitch down with a stretch stitch.
For all other sleeves, refer to page 21. To hem the sleeves, press the wrong sides together 0.5 inch and then press again 1 inch and topstitch.
For hemming the bottom of the shirt (all options), similarly press the wrong sides together 0.5 inch and then another 1 inch and topstitch.
And day 4 comes to a close! I unfortunately failed to take a picture of my whole shirt at this point, so I’ll just show you my pretty cuffs.
If you’ve been keeping up, tomorrow is the last day of work! This is where we will do all the neck finishing whether it be a hood, V-neck, or crew neck. Be sure to take a picture of your progress and check in on the Facebook group post!
Day 5 is finishing the options for the neck. Whether you’ve chosen a crew neck, V-neck, or hood, today you will be done with your Berlin Tee!
My husband chose the V-neck option. I have had mixed success doing V-necks in the past, but I figured I could use the practice. The instructions for the V-neck are on pages 21-24 and look a little daunting, but if you don’t skip any steps (especially the basting portion), your V-neck will come out looking great. Mine turned out fabulous on the first try (though I wish I used better matching thread for the seam….). I also skipped the topstitching because I'm rebellious like that.
For a little easier neckline, there is the crew neck. The instructions are on pages 24-26 and involve the usual sewing of the band together, quartering both neckline and band, matching the pins up, and sewing on. Remember to stretch the band to meet the shirt and not the other away around!
In my opinion, the easiest neckline is the regular hood. The hood should be assembled at this point, (but if it’s not, refer back to the day 3 instructions) and instructions to attach are on page 26-27. The bottom front should be overlapped slightly and then quartered similar to a neckband. Quarter the neckline, match pins making sure right sides are together, and sew.
Finally, we come to our last option- the zipper hood! I love the look of this feature, but it will likely take the longest to sew. Again, we preassembled our zipper hoods on day 3, but if you haven’t yet, go ahead and do it now. The instructions to attach the zipper hood are pages 27-30. My favorite tool for installing zippers is wash-away hem tape. If you’re not familiar with it, wash-away hem tape is like a double-sided tape you can sew through and then it dissolves with water when you wash your garment. It’s fabulous for hems as well, but I consider it almost essential for zipper sewing!
And with that, our Berlin Tees should be finished! Isn’t my hubby so cute in his finished tee? The best part is now that the pattern is assembled and cut, I might be able to complete a couple more for Christmas.
If you’ve missed any steps, all of this information will remain on the blog for reference at any point. I will continue posting reminders in the Facebook group for a few more days. You have until early December 16 to catch up on your steps, share a picture under each day’s post, and be entered to win a free pattern from Toby K. Patterns and free shipping on an Amelia Lane Designs’ order!
Thanks so much for sewing along with me.