Sewing Jersey T-shirts: Tabitha Tee and The Coco Top

Recently, while planning my sewing, I was looking through my wardrobe to see what clothing I wore the most, and I noticed how many of my favourite T-shirts are looking rather old, tired and scruffy! It’s definitely time to replace them with some beautiful ‘me-made’ tops! This was my first real foray into sewing with stretch fabric, and whilst I still have lots to learn, I’m happy with my first attempts!

The 2 patterns I decided to start with are both by Tilly and the Buttons – the Tabitha Tee (from the book Make it Simple) and the coco top.

Tabitha Tee

This is a great first stretch pattern that allows you to practice with neckbands, sleeves and Hemming stretch fabric. I chose to use a fun gaming jersey from Flamingo Fabrics to make a really fun garment! My sewing machine actually has quite a few options for stretch stitches so I chose to use the ‘straight stretch stitch’ as it looked really sturdy and gave a nice finish on the test fabric. (You can just use a zigzag stitch though!)

I was quite nervous about inserting a neckband, but it went really well to start with – until disaster struck! While trimming the seam allowance I managed to cut a hole into the neckband itself!! It couldn’t be fixed so I removed the band and inserted a new one. Naturally, this one didn’t go in as neatly but its not too noticeable!

Overall, this pattern is a great and pretty straightforward, the only changes I will make next time will be to lengthen the body as I do prefer a longer T-shirt.

Coco Top

I’ve seen so many beautiful versions of this on Instagram that I knew I wanted to try it out for myself. I knew I would be using my dinosaur print jersey as it’s fun (and I do love a fun print!) but its also soft and cosy without being too thick. There are different options for sleeves, necklines and length for this and I chose the boat neckline, long sleeves and the top length rather than the dress – although I did still lengthen it a little so I can wear it with leggings.

The top has a nice fit, it relatively loose fitting whilst still having some shaping to define the waist. The only thing I will change if I make this again will be to make the boat neck a little less wide. Again, as with many of Tilly Buttons makes this pattern comes together easily and quickly with just 4 pattern pieces (front, back and 2 sleeves) and I love that I had a finished top ready to wear in one afternoon.


After noticing that my hems were a little wavy on the Tabitha Tee, I looked up ways to reduce this and read about something called ‘wonder tape’. This is an adhesive double sided tape that will dissolve in the washing machine, so its good to hold things in place, such as hems, while sewing. I used to tape to secure my hem in place before sewing with a zigzag stitch. It really helped keep it neat and preventing me from accidentally stretching the fabric.

Tabitha Tee
Coco Top

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