I’m getting a bit behind myself with my free tee review blog posts, over the last few weeks I have sewn up a few different free tee patterns but finding the time to photograph them and write the review is proving tricky so you’ve got a few more on their way but for now, here is one I have photographed…The Basic InstincT by SecondoPiano
To recap, I am hoping to get through as many of the free tee patterns as possible (you can find the full list here) and let you know what I think of them. For each tee pattern, I review I will look at 4 different aspects of the pattern: the options available (including different looks and size ranges), how easy it is to get hold of the pattern, printing and assembling the pdf, and the instructions/construction. For each of these four categories, I will give the pattern a score out of ten. I will also give a score out of ten for my version of the pattern (including thoughts on the fit and overall impressions). So in total, each tee will get a score out of 50 making it really easy to compare these patterns.
Basic InstincT is a t-shirt with a relaxed cut and contemporary silhouette with a crew neckline.
Options available 1/10
The Basic InstincT comes in 5 sizes XS-XL covering bust measurements of 32-42.5 inches. The design is singular, in that there are no alternative options for different length, sleeves, or necklines. If you want a good simple tee then this might be it but don’t expect anything fancy from this pattern
Getting hold of the pattern 9/10
To get the t-shirt pattern you need to first subscribe to the email list for the SecondoPiano blog. You can find the sign-up box is here. I received an email back straight away asking me to confirm my subscription by clicking the link in the email. A few minutes later I received a second email with a link to download the pattern. This immediately downloads a zip file with all the contents you need to get going. So compared to some other patterns it’s a pretty simple and speedy process. The zip file contains separate instructions and pattern in both English and Italien.
Printing and assembling the pdf 2/10
As with all pdf patterns, this one has a test square that you should measure to check that you are printing at the correct scale. Unfortunately, this one is marked as 10x10cm and 4x4in print test – it can’t be both(!) as 10cm is about 3.9 inches. In my case, it measured 10cm exactly and somewhere around 3.9 inches so I had to assume it was correct and go ahead with printing the rest of the pattern. As this pattern also comes in Italian I am assuming that the cm is the correct measurement anyway as this is more common in European patterns but it is something to watch out for if you usually only measure in inches!!
The line to trim the sheet down when sticking all the sheets together was very faint and hard to see making it difficult to piece together the pdf pages. Also, the page numbers are marked on each sheet but there is no way to know without checking the lay-plan which pages should join together in which order.
However, compared to some other patterns the cutting lines were much thinner (but also dark enough to see) which makes for much more accurate sizing – when the lines are thick there can be a few mm difference in garment size whether you cut on the inside or outside of the line!
I have to admit a lot of the markings on this pattern were unfamiliar to me and I found myself having to look a lot at the key explaining the markings. Now, this is most likely my problem (not the fault of the designer) However, having made a lot of things from a lot of different designers it did surprise me somewhat – even down to the fact that some of the markings I thought I recognized meant something different here (such as a wavy line being used to indicate stretch direction when to me it initially sprung to mind gathering). I was also somewhat thrown by the stitching lines being marked directly on the pattern (as well as cut lines) – I thought these were another set of cut lines at first and nearly cut out the whole thing in completely the wrong size :(
Instructions and construction 2/10
I must have attempted to read the instructions for this pattern 5 times before I started making the garment and I still could not make head nor tail of them! The main set of instructions is a very short bullet-pointed list with the key steps, these are fine if you have made a number of t-shirts before and no what you are doing but they are rather minimal if you are a beginner. However, these instructions are hidden among pages of technical line drawings which I found very confusing and did not seem to match with any of my previous experience of t-shirt construction.
There is also a lengthy section on stripe matching. This pattern has quite a lot of extra markings on t which will supposedly help with this task. For me, they were just a lot of additional markings that added to the confusion of all the strange markings I was already unfamiliar with. I was also very confused by the instructions for stripe matching which would have you increase the depth of the shoulder (using a slash and spread method) according to the width of your stripes. I think perhaps this method would allow you to get the perfect stripe-matched garment, so long as you don’t mind altering the fit of your t-shirt!
Luckily for me, I have made plenty of t-shirts by now so I opted to abandon the instructions and plough ahead on my own. Despite this haphazard approach, the t-shirt came together really well. Partly, due to the number of notches on this pattern which are plentiful! The only place I struggled was with the neckline because there were oh so many notches I think I must have marked the wrong ones and so couldn’t get them to line up at all so I just quartered it and inserted as normal!
Final Impressions 8/10
Despite the difficulties with the instructions on this one I really like the fit and style. It also came together really quickly, helped by there being lots of notches on the pattern which can sometimes be lacking in other t-shirt patterns.
I decided to not try a stripy fabric for this one, despite there being a large section of instructions to help with stripe matching mostly because I was already overwhelmed by the complicated instructions and the unfamiliar markings on the pattern so I didn’t want to add something else to the mix. I did go with a contrast neckband though to add a little something extra to this otherwise very simple design.
My measurements put me exactly half-way between a small and medium across bust, waist, and hips which is unusual for me but a nice surprise. Based on the finished measurements I decided to go for the small as it is a relaxed fit and I think I made the right choice, perhaps a little more space in the bust would be nice but it’s certainly not a bad fit.
Total score 34/50
Thanks for reading this review of the BasicInstincT. If you want to know how this compares to some of the other free tee patterns out there be sure to check out my other reviews and the full list of free tee patterns available that I hope to conquer over the next few months!
Have you sewn up this pattern? What did you think of it?
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