I love the name of this tee – it really does just roll off the tongue!
I sewed up the Liesl + Co Chai Tee shortly after release. All of Liesl Gibson’s patterns are beautifully drafted with excellent instructions, and this pattern was no exception. From the website: This simple and stylish pull-on top is much more than a basic tee. It has an easy fit and is as comfortable to wear as your favorite T-shirt, but it brings a touch of elegance to every day with its shoulder yokes and pleats and its feminine shaping. Leave the sleeves uncuffed (View A) or stitch the cuffs in place to secure them (View B). The pattern comes with separate pieces for A/B, C, and D cup sizes to help you make a great fitting shirt. Suggested Fabrics: Designed for lightweight cotton knit fabric with moderate stretch. This tee can also be sewn from drapey woven fabrics, but you may need to go up a size or two for a good fit.
I sewed this striped version in cotton/lycra from Crafty Mamas Fabrics. This is a quality fabric with loads of recovery but not masses of drape. It was interesting to compare the fit of my tee to that on the model on the website. The neckline ended up much smaller on my tee – which isn’t a criticism either way, more an observation about how fabric choices affect fit.
The shoulder yokes are cut double, and they enclose most of the associated seams. The neckline is bound, rather than having a band added. The little pleats at the shoulder add some nice detail and improve fit across the bust. I folded the pleats as per the instructions for this tee.
Size wise, this tee is a mash-up to accommodate my belly. I chose to sew the C cup version – don’t you love it when pattern pieces are provided with FBA already built in? – in size Medium, graded up to XL through the waist and back to the Medium for the hips. Basically, this meant that I removed all of the waist shaping!
As it turned out, one Chai Tee simply wasn’t enough! I really wanted to see how this pattern would work in a drapier fabric, and as it turned out I had this printed viscose/spandex remnant from The Cloth Shop handy. There was just enough of it to make the tee by combining it with a solid black viscose/spandex for the shoulder yokes and neckband.
This is exactly the same size as the striped version. You can see that it drapes differently on me, and the neckline is a little larger. This time around I folded the shoulder pleats the other way (contrary to the instructions) and I’ve decided that I actually prefer it.
Most construction was on the overlocker, with the sewing machine used judiciously for topstitching and for attaching the neckline binding. I used a twin needle to hem the bottom of the top after securing the hemline with double sided fusible tape. The sleeves don’t require hemming, as they are cut double with the hemline on the fold. This is the pattern length as drafted, so it’s fairly long (I’m 158cm tall).
This is a lovely pattern – that step up from a basic tee. In the right fabric it is definitely a great summer office top, and it’s a nicer version of casual. There is also a sewalong for its construction on the Liesl + Co blog. Highly recommended.