Scout Tee by Grainline Studio

Red White and Blue Scout Tee

It’s time for me to sew all of the darlings of the sewing blog world! Next up: Grainline Studio‘s Scout Tee, a flowy woven (??!) t-shirt.

You may have noticed that I sew mostly knits. I love to wear knits, but I’ve also had some terrible fitting failures early on that scared me away from wovens. Really, it was more like – I sewed up entire projects using the sizes on the pattern envelope, even if I was slightly out of the size range, and was then disappointed when things didn’t fit.

I’ve come to understand the fitting process a little bit better in the past year (a very little bit!), and bolstered by some new-found confidence after my successful Lady Skater adjustments, I decided to take a very simple woven pattern and attempt the same fitting adjustments in the flat pattern. I need some not-too-fancy-but-fancier-than-t-shirts tops for work, and the Scout Tee looked like it would fit the bill – very few pattern pieces to adjust, and a clear path to obliterating some of my woven stash that has been languishing as I sew up more knits.

Buying Tip – if you’re a member of Pattern Review, there is often a discount to purchase patterns from them. In this case, the Grainline Studio web site only had the printed version of the pattern available ($16) but Pattern Review had the PDF version of the Scout Tee (including a copy shop sized PDF, hoorah!) for $10.80 (regular $12 for non-members). It cost me $7 to print it at the copy shop, and is worth it every time over cutting and taping pattern pieces together. Plus, no waiting for shipping!

Back to the pattern. First up: flat pattern adjustments.

Here’s the original Scout Tee size chart:

Grainline Studio Scout Tee size chart

And here’s my sizing prep for grading up this pattern:

Grainline Studio Scout Tee size modifications

First, I had to do some pattern grading. Based on my high bust measurement (44″), I started with the size 18 in the shoulders. Then, I measured the distance on the pattern between each size – 1/2″. This pattern has a lot of ease built in to make it flowy, but I wanted to maintain that silhouette, so I planned to grade out to a size 26 in the waist. That’s 4 sizes higher than the 18, so 1/2″ x 4 = 2″. I marked 2″ out at the bottom of the bodice pieces, and drew a new seamline from the size 18 armscye to the new size 26 bodice bottom.

Next: shoulder and bust adjustments!

Since this is a woven pattern drafted for a B cup, I was terrified that there was no way my bust would fit into it. To complicate matters, I really do have to choose bodice sizes based on my high bust measurement (44″) because when I don’t, the tops are way too large in the shoulders and neckline – literally falling off. Cutting a smaller top would exasperate the cup sizing issues, and with no stretch in the fabric, I felt I would need to do a full bust adjustment. This pattern does not have any shaping darts, so I would have to add them.

FBAs are not difficult, but they do invoke anxiety in me – not because of the slicing and dicing, but because I never know how much of an FBA to do. You see, my bra size does not fit any of the supposed calculations for figuring a cup size. If I measure tightly, my full bust is 50″. My underbust measures 44″. That’s a 6 inch difference, which, according to all of the charts, would make me a DDD cup – but I am absolutely not a DDD cup. I comfortably wear a 44D bra (and could probably get away with a C cup in the 44 – but definitely a D cup in the 42). If I made a 3″ FBA, it would be ridiculously huge in the bust. Does anybody know what my problem is? Am I carrying weight in my back instead of my bust, affecting the measurement of the full bust? I can’t explain it, but because of this wonky cup size calculation, I always err on the side of conservative with FBAs and go with a D cup.

I decided to do a 1″ FBA (x2 = 2″). I read somewhere that you should do a 1″ FBA for each cup size. (You would need to know the cup size that the pattern is drafted for, in this case). I’ve also seen math comparing the pattern full bust (44″) to your own full bust (50″) – take the difference and divide in half (6/2 = 3″). Since my body is wonky, I went with the former – 2″ (one inch for each cup size, B to D).

If you’ve never done an FBA, there are tons of tutorials out there. I’m a fan of the Curvy Sewing Collective FBA tutorial. This tutorial, however, assumes you have a dart in the bodice – and the Scout Tee pattern does not. Never fear – the CSC has a tutorial for doing an FBA on a dartless top. That’s the one I used – but you will definitely want to refer to the first tutorial for a more thorough explanation of why you’re doing what you’re doing if you’re new to this.

I also did a 1/2″ narrow shoulder adjustment.

Time to hold my breath and sew it up! I finished the side and shoulder edges of my fabric on the serger first. I was using a super unravel-y mystery fabric (I really need to get better at documenting my fabric stash). Then, I followed the pattern instructions to sew up the tee with one exception: I did not sew the side seams together right away, and set my sleeves in flat instead of in the round. It’s the same way that the Lady Skater instructions have you do it, and it worked just fine for this pattern. I’ve read that highly tailored woven garments really should have the sleeves set in traditionally, in the round, but in less fitted sleeves, they work just fine set in flat. Sunni at A Fashionable Stitch has a great write-up on this – a cheater’s guide to setting in sleeves. I wouldn’t call it cheating at all, since it is still a bit of a PITA. 🙂

I had a little bit of trouble sewing the self-bias neckline. This was my first time using bias tape of any kind, and my fabric shifted when I cut it – so my bias strip wasn’t an equal width all the way through. It worked OK, but the neckline doesn’t lay as flat as it should. Grainline has a great tutorial on how to sew flat bias necklines, and that’s what I used for this make. But I think next time I will try this bias neckline method from Craftsy.

I also forgot to hem the sleeves, but I had finished the edges on my serger, and I like the sleeve length as it is – so I just left them unhemmed. Note to self: lengthen the sleeves by an inch or so!

The end result:

Grainline Studio Scout Tee front view

And the side view:

Grainline Studio Scout Tee side view

This pattern seems to have just a bit of a high-low hem. I love the length in the back, but even with the extra length in front from the FBA, I’d like it to be just a little bit longer in the front.

And the bust darts I added… well, don’t look too closely, because they’re an inch and a half too low!

The tee did, however, keep its flowy silhouette without looking (too much) like a tent. I am generally happy with the outcome.

Happy, but…. could I do without the FBA? There are a few makes out there sharing that they didn’t need the FBA for a C/D cup. I also found this intriguing post from MoonThirty on how not to do an FBA on the Scout Tee that I am absolutely tempted to try myself.

I do believe my next attempt will be using MoonThirty’s non-recommended FBA approach and with slightly longer sleeves (so that I can hem them properly) and maybe an extra inch of length in the front bodice.

Join the conversation

  • Nicole - 4 years ago

    I think this version is pretty and very wearable! It’s funny, because I just FBA’d my first Scout and accidentally made my dart too low too. Oops!

    For me, I’ve realized that while an FBA is important for adding width to accomodate a larger bust, where it’s most noticeable is how it changes the armscye. When I don’t FBA, the armscye will gape and just isn’t the right shape. When you FBA, the gaping goes away and looks much better.

    Instead of calculating the amount of your FBA based on your underbust and bust differences, I’d suggested trying the difference between your ‘high bust’ and bust. Your high bust measurement will be similar to the bust measurement, but you’ll angle the tape up at the front to come under your armpits and above your bust. For me, my high bust is about 41.5, and my bust is about 43.5. I pick my size by finding a bust that correlates closest with 41.5 and then usually make an FBA of 2 inches (so 1 inch since you divide by two) on each side. Of course this depends somewhat on the pattern company and the shape they draft for, but it works pretty well generally. Hope you give it a try!

    • Shelly - 4 years ago

      I will definitely try calculating my FBA based on high bust vs full bust. Thanks for the tip!!

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