The $3.67 Shirt


You read that right: between the fabric and the pattern for this amazing wearable muslin, I spent less than $4. How, you ask? Read on to see how I whipped up this custom fitted pattern by Lekala.

(This is not a sponsored post :-p I’m just that big of a Lekala fan.)


I spent the summer trying to figure out how a 35 year old spinster could look more like her non-single age peers. And then fall came, and winter, and I was still wearing my shabby old threads. Blech. Figuring that new clothes of any style were better than a dilapidated appearance, I reached for all the simple patterns at my disposal. Enter: Lekala 4562.

It’s a long, woven, t-shirt with cuffed sleeves, an uneven shirttail hem, and a pocket flap. The neckline is finished with a facing. There are only three major pattern pieces; everything else can be rejiggered as needed. Which meant I could change my cutting layout from this to this:


to ensure that I squeezed everything out of the 1 1/8 yd/1+ m remnant (58″/<150cm wide) that I was working with.


Since the laying out of pieces took so long, I decided to use a tool to speed up the cutting process. No, not a rotary cutter. The ‘Seam Allowance Guide’ by Hollie! It’s a little magnet that attaches to the blade of your shears which you can adjust to whatever seam allowance width you like. Then you align that marking on the tool with the garment’s seamlines, and easy peasy  – perfect seam allowances without extra work. It also made it easy to have different seam allowances in different parts of the garment, so I reduced it to 1/4″/.6cm at the sleeves and neckline, and increased it to 3/4″/1.9cm for the hem.  Otherwise, I used a 1/2″/1.2cm seam allowance throughout. This doohickey is no longer available for sale, but if you have one and haven’t used it yet – give it a whirl!

NOTE: You can order Lekala patterns with seam allowances! I just like to have full control over that aspect of  things.

I considered adding a pocket below the pocket flap, but decided it’s okay to make a garment without pockets every once in a while. I did cut a center back seam in case I needed a swayback adjustment, but didn’t need that, either.


Though just a $2/yd/.9m scrap of polyester, it shifted around like rayon. Whew! So I kept everything pinned to the pattern pieces until I was actually sewing each piece. I didn’t have a light enough needle for this fabric, but a brand new medium weight needle did the trick nicely. And you know what? Despite being polyester, this fabric pressed like a dream. Look at that neckline tho!


This wearable muslin came together super fast, both because of the limited number of pieces and because I pinked the seam allowances, as I often do on wearable muslins. Even with all the fusing (neckline facings, cuffs, pocket flap) and understitching the neckline, it was a fast sew.

makingtheflame-the-3-67-dollar-shirt-lekala-4562-07 makingtheflame-the-3-67-dollar-shirt-lekala-4562-08

Oh! Before I forget. The pattern instructions do not include how to attach the cuff to the sleeve! If you’ve done that sort of thing before, you’d have no problem. But if not…this is why it’s good to have help working through a Lekala pattern. :) They’re great, but if you’re not a confident/foolhardy sewer you will run into weird issues like this that can derail your project. Otherwise, the instructions are actually pretty good. Smart construction and decent finishing. For example, the instructions say to finish the front and back hem separately before joining the side seams. Weird, huh? But since it’s a curved, uneven hem, doing it this way is actually easier and makes for a crisper join at the side seams.


Verdict? LOVE IT!!!!! It only took 1 1/8 yd of 58″ wide fabric (slightly less than 1.1m, 150cm wide). I immediately pulled two cuts of polyester from my stash, a pile of polyester remnants from making Ella Tops, and then ran out to the local discount fabric store to buy four more cuts of $4/yd polyester. I also have access to some washable rayon which is only $8/yd. Lekala 4562 is now the woven, short-sleeve TNT top for my new look – whatever it is.

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  1. It looks good and also for that price, you can’t beat that. I haven’t really tried shopping non-commercial patterns.
    I just checked Lekala’s website through your link and it’s amazing. I love a lot of their patterns.
    Psst and they’re cheap too. They just got a fan.

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