If you’re sewing your 12-piece wardrobe, your under-layer tops can take many shapes and styles — from tanks to turtlenecks, pullovers, button-ups and many more. Since I’m a big fan of layering top garments, I usually prefer sleeveless or short-sleeved “unders” so I’m not struggling to fit a long sleeve under another long sleeve. (However you can side-step that issue by choosing vests for your over-layers.) Unders that fit relatively close to the body make layering easier, too. And classic styling will give you more versatility than unders with too much bulky, frou-frou detailing.
I’m a huge fan of knit unders, both for ease in sewing and comfort in wearing. And I look for styles with narrower necklines/wider shoulder seams to insure that there’s room to tuck in a small shoulder shaper and keep the look crisp rather than droopy.
Pamela’s Patterns #104 Perfect Tee gives three neckline and four sleeve length options plus an alternate darted front pattern piece for full-busted figures. It’s less shaped at the waist that it appears. I sew this pattern a lot – both in ponte and in jersey – but I do cut the shoulder with a bit more width and less slope to accomodate a shoulder shaper. Best sewn in jersey rather than ponte.
McCall #7092 by Palmer-Pletsch provides beautiful shaping for a curvy figure plus enough style detail to be an attractive stand-alone top as well as an easy under-layer. Pattern includes a sleeveless version and a dress-lengh option.
The under-layer tank in Pamela’s Patterns #108 New Versatile Twin Set is another favorite, especially for its alternative darted fromt pattern piece. (I also use the various cardigans as over-layers.) I sometimes subtitute a knit binding finish for the pattern’s turned-and-topstitched edge. This tank works beautifully in ponte knit — great when I want to make a skirt/tank or pant/tank column from the same fabric.
For unders with more distinctive styling, you can’t beat the StyleArc line. Here are a few options that meet our criteria of staying layer-able.
Left-to-right: Emily, Kellie, Eva, Dee, Patsy and Avery. Notice how all these are sketched with a beautiful, strong shoulder line? Unless you’re a runway model, you’ll almost certainly want a removable Shoulder Shaper to get that flattering effect!
Which unders do you like best? If you have other favorite patterns to recommend, please share in the COMMENTS section below.