Sewing The Basic Instinct Tee

Sewing The Basic Instinct Tee

This month I have mostly been sewing, The Basic Instinct Tee. During lockdown I have started to realise that I need more relaxed comfy clothes. I realised that I always made more complicated clothing and hadn’t really tried any basics. I decided a good starting point would be a standard t-shirt, nothing fancy. It’s been a while since I’ve sewn with jersey, I just used to make myself bodycon dresses in my 20s. So, although a basic it felt like I was going to learning from scratch.

Basic T shirt girl wearing striped tee

Selecting a Pattern

Usually I’m very picky when it comes to the fit of my t-shirts, so selecting the right pattern is important. I like the neck to be just right, not too low and gaping but not too high like a polo neck. I also don’t like a skin-tight fit on the body, but not overly loose either. So I’m not easy to please! As I guessed I would be trying a few different patterns before finding the perfect tee. So, I decided to start off with a free PDF pattern – The Basic Instinct Tee by Secondo Piano. You can download it if you sign up to her newsletter.

Ruby Rose Basic Instinct tee pattern

Basic Instinct Tee Process

The instructions on this pattern are really easy to follow and there is also info about matching stripes which was super helpful. This pattern is a nice simple one, just 4 pieces and available in sizes XS-XL. I chose to make a Small as I didn’t want it to be too fitted, just casual and comfy. I selected this amazing stripe cotton jersey from Minerva.

Its 95% cotton and 5% Lycra so it has the perfect amount of stretch to work for the Basic Instinct Tee. I really love the quality of the fabric, its medium weight so really feels great quality for making the tee. I hate it when you end up with thin flimsy jersey, or any fabric really.

As I was working with stretch, I decided to make the whole thing using my overlocker, although you can do the same with a zig zag stitch. If you just use straight stitch it will no longer stretch and you’ll probably end up snapping the stitches. I sewed up the tee shoulders, sleeves and side seams.

One of the last bits was adding the neckband which is more of a fiddle. Once you have a loop you carefully pin and stretch the neckband to fit onto the tee. I realised that I didn’t really think about seam allowances when sewing using the overlocker. Therefore, the neckband ended up being wider than it was supposed to be, and therefore didn’t lay perfectly flat.

Ruby Rose with a dog in striped tee


I didn’t make any adjustments to the pattern, I wanted to start with the pattern as is and then see if I needed to make any changes. One did I did adjust was the way I sewed the sleeves. I folded them back on themselves and overlocked, then folded down to create a fake cuff style hem. I really like this finish and it ends up looking more professional as I don’t have a cover stitch machine.

Basic Tee close up red lip

Would I make the Basic Instinct Tee again?

Well, I started with a free pattern, the Basic Instinct Tee, to see how I got on sewing myself some basics. Turns out the pattern really is the perfect T shirt for me. The fit is perfect and its exactly what I wanted. I sewed it up in under 2 hours so I will definitely be making it again. I think I need some plain versions to go with my fun Pomona shorts.

Has anyone else got some favourite basics patterns I can try out? – send me links in the comments.

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Thanks For reading

Ruby x

2 thoughts on “Sewing The Basic Instinct Tee”

  • If you’ve got your dream tea you don’t need another, but I also love the free Stellan tee from French Navy. The free Halfmoon Atelier tank is a bit lovely too!

  • Looks a great fit to me. I’m tempted to make one myself. I, like Pound are above, usually use the Stellan Tee by French Navy but have decided that is best suited to a drapier jersey. This looks ideal for a sturdier cotton.

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