Hi Ho Silver-Grey Self-drafted Modal T-shirt (American Apparel knockoff)

This one is a knockoff (and hopefully improvement) on American Apparel’s Sheer Jersey 2-sided top – which is pretty much the perfect black tshirt. I got a couple of these tops back when American Apparel was mainly sold in tshirt shops as vehicles for ironic transfers. Now we have a number of AA shops in town, but you think I can ever find this top? Noooooo, not amidst the shiny neon leggings, high waisted shorts and other sartorial nightmares. Besides, since this self-drafted pattern (I traced the original top’s seams) takes a scant .6 metres, I can make my own for well under $10. Who doesn’t love that?

This is my first nearly complete version (I’ve yet to hem it as I’ve yet to preshrink my knit interfacing; not that that’s stopped me from folding the hem under and wearing it out!). Just like the original, the top is reversible (front to back), which I love. Here’s the back view, which can sub as the front view.

'back' boatneck view

The main change I made from the original is the 1″ banded neckline, which was simply the result of some experimentation. AA’s version has a very narrow rolled hem that, try as I might, I just can’t (yet?) neatly replicate on my Brother 1034D serger. My initial plan was to bind the neckline. However, when I returned to the fabric shop to get some thread (they were out the first time), I was too lazy to check the colour with the bolt upstairs. As a result, the thread I bought is a shade too light! So no visible stitches allowed! Besides, I’m liking the band. It also directs attention upwards to the face, which I found I really needed in this light-coloured Modal knit top that shines a light on every bra seam and, well, ounce of backfat. Plus, something must have happened in my tracing/pattern drafting, because my scoop is deeper than the original – I’ll have to fix the pattern. The band gives me back some essential coverage, making the top much much more wearable.

There are two things I wish I knew about Modal before I started – and I confess to totally picking this fabric due to the colour, not the fabric composition. One is that Modal is a stage 5 clinger ready to advertise all of your flaws* and bra seams to the world.

I think the band helps a lot in directing attention upward, but I’m definitely going to avoid Modal for negative-ease knit garments in future! It would be totally dreamy for a draped knit pattern with plenty of ease, like the much-loved Tracy Reece Vogue 1224:

 The second thing I wish I knew is a little more concerning… Modal scorches. To press, I used a press cloth (2 layers of silk organza), and light pressure on a low heat, and it’s still shining like American Apparel’s neon leggings. I’m really not sure how I’m going to press the hem, other than from the wrong side. Will have to research more…

It’s not perfect, and not yet complete, but I’d give this a 7.5/10 (I’m gearing up to teach another course, so yeah, marking is on my mind).

Time: 4-5 hours, mainly because I had to rip out the first band I attached. Ripping out serger seams sucks! Without mistakes, this would be cut and sewn in 1-1.5 hours, if you’re slow like me!

Cost: $16.50. $14.50 in fabric (Modal is $18/metre!) + and $2 thread.

Will I wear it again? Heck yes; it goes with everything, and I’m looking forward to making a few more non-Modal versions!

*maybe not “flaw” but the full topography of your torso that you might not want the world to see.



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