tutorial : scout tee x complex geometries.

Originally posted to sewstylist.wordpress.com on 21 July 2014


When I posted my knit Scout variation a few weeks back several of you asked for a tutorial showing how I modified the pattern. Since your wish is my command, here you have it! Jen and Wanett, among others, have shown that this pattern really doesn’t need any adjustments if all you want to do is make it up in a knit. The changes I made were to get a fun look of fuuuuuuuuuullness, and you’ll see that it’s totally easy.

If you’re new to playing around with and adjusting patterns to get a different look, adding fullness is a great place to start. It’s relatively foolproof, so long as you keep these two things in mind. 1: Balance your fullness. 2: Preserve your grainline. I’ll clarify both shortly, but figured it would be good to establish these guidelines at the outset.

What you’ll need:

  • A traced copy of your fitted Grainline Scout Tee pattern (fyi: since it’s easier to photograph, I’m using quarter-scale blocks here)
  • The usual pattern adjustment suspects: pencil, paper, ruler, scissors, & tape
  • A sense of adventure!

How to:

The first adjustment I made to the pattern was adding length. I added some extra inches (maybe 4”?) to the sleeve. Jen has a great post showing how to lengthen your sleeves. I wanted the front of my shirt to fall about mid-pelvis and the back to cover my bum. I don’t remember exactly how many inches that turned out to be on me, but I think it was about +4” in front, and about +12” in back. But, as my boyfriend LeVar Burton would say, Don’t take my word for it! Try on a version of your Scout tee then take some measurements to see how much additional length is right for you. Or you might decide you don’t want to add any length. That’d be cute too.

As a side note, I’ll say that my shirt is definitely a little back heavy. That’s not a big deal, but I mention it because if you’re using a weighty fabric you might not want to go too crazy long in the back.

At this point your side seams won’t be matching up. It’s cool; we’ll come back to that.


Now it’s time do some slashing and spreading! But first, those pointers I mentioned earlier… When you look at the source picture (see below) notice how the fabric drapes fairly evenly across the model’s bust? Instead of one big triangle of drape she’s got several little triangles distributed across the front of the garment. That tells me the drape is balanced. If it weren’t balanced I’d see one drape containing all the fullness, which would look kinda weird.


To add balanced fullness to your pattern, draw a series of evenly spaced lines down the length of your pattern pieces, starting 2-3” out from center front/ center back. If you add just one line and do all the spreading from that one spot you’re likely to end up with one big triangle of fullness, which (as I said) might look kind of weird.

Probably not... 

Probably not... 

Looking good!

Looking good!

Take your scissors and slash the pattern up to, but not through, the neck and shoulder seams. Leave the slashes hanging on by the tiniest little edge, creating a flexible hinge. (If we were being absolutely correct, we would actually have excluded the seam allowance and only slashed up to the seam line. Since I planned to make this shirt up in—always forgiving—jersey I took the easy route and skipped that part.)

Now you can spread open these slashes to create as much or as little fullness as you desire. In order to keep the fullness balanced, aim to spread evenly across all your slashes. And in order to maintain the grainline, spread your pattern pieces away from the center front/center back fold line, leaving the center front/ center back piece straight and on grain.

The picture above shows what NOT to do. Doing it like could move the straight of grain and lead to trouble.

Add as much fullness as you like! I went as far as my fabric width would allow. If your fabric is narrow, you don’t have to cut your pieces on the fold. Just add seam allowance at center front and center back and you’re good to go.














Then, using your extra paper and tape, fill in all that lovely fullness you just created.


All that’s left to do now is smoothing things out a bit around the edges. Your shoulder seam may have gone a little wonky when you spread, so take your ruler and smooth that out. Once you’ve done this to front and back you’ll want to confirm that the shoulder seam is the same length on both pattern pieces.


Smooth the hemline on your front pattern piece. I just sketched it in, but you can always use a curve if you prefer.


Line up the side seam of your front pattern piece next to your back pattern piece, using the base of the armscye as a guide. That seam needs to be the same length on both sides, so mark where the front side seam ends on the back pattern piece.

I ended up adding a bit more length to the back pattern piece so the shape of this sample more closely imitates the one I have on my full-size pattern.


Now you can sketch in the back hem, starting at the full length at center back and easing up to meet the proper side seam length. I tried to make my hem into a gently sloping quarter-circle.

At this point you may want to do a quick status check in the mirror and confirm that your length is still looking good. I pretty much just hold the paper pattern up, take a quick look, and say, Yep, look’n good, or make any little tweaks as needed.

Also take a moment to consider how you’re going to finish your hem and confirm that you’ve got enough seam allowance down there to make it happen. Once all is well, trim off any excess paper from both front and back pieces.


That’s it, my friends! See what I mean? Totally easy. Of course, if anything here doesn’t make sense you’ll let me know. It also bears mentioning that this is just one woman’s method. I’m sure there are other ways; this is what worked for me.

And now you’re free to go forth and make yourselves many twirly jersey Scout tees, and be sure to let me know if you do!

Ebony HaightComment