On sewing the basics (SBCC Tonic Tee) and having a uniform

Dear Readers,

If this was a competition about boring sewing, I believe I would win “haut la main” (I had to google translate this, apparently appropriate English translation is “hands down”, funny because in French in “hand high”, interesting…). Not only I’m showing you basic t-shirts from a pattern I used before, but I used only black and white knit. I did not even buy the fabric, I used tshirts from The Old Man. That’s not actually true, I had one cut out for months in a corner of my sewing room, but my serger was threaded in white, and the knit was black… basic-tee-2

So there you have it : 2 white t-shirts, 3 black ones. 4 made from existing tshirts. I did not even remove the labels at center back, because I got really lazy! Because it’s not that interesting, I will spare you and show you only two of them. I used SBCC free tonic tee pattern. On some I save the neck ribbing which makes it very close to the neck and on other I used the original hem and made a band out of the excess I cut off the sides. I also used size XXS or XS to have a more relaxed fit for 2 of them. It was all done in a few hours. The longest operation was probably switching the serger from white to black.

basic-tee-6This is obviously a weekend outfit for me, and they already got tons of wear, as expected. Since there is not much more that can be said about super basic tees, I figured we could talk a little about the idea of uniform. I don’t know if you noticed, but these days it feels like one cannot open its reader or Facebook without stumbling on an article about a woman who decided to wear “a uniform”. Some take it very seriously, like wearing the same clothes everyday, some a little less. The rational is more or less always the same : “I have super important things to do in my life, so I decided to figure out what to wear once and for all, like men do, (really ? do they?) and now I can focus on the rest (usually career)”.

basic-tee-3I have to admit, it is seductive. In general, radical approaches tend to do very well on the Internet. Wether it’s sewing all the dresses in a vintage book (but then you don’t finish ;-)), or cooking all the recipes, it “sells”. I love reading about those big projects but I’m incapable of making such decisive commitments. Or maybe I just don’t have time. Actually, maybe this is why they are so seductive, because we know we would do it. Personnally, I’m a good audience for them. After all, I did quit smoking with Allen Carr and cleaned my house with Marie Kondo.



Going back to the uniform, it looks like the latest wardrobe craze. Remember when we were looking for our “signature style”, our “10 essential” or creating “capsules” ? Well now, we need a uniform. It doesn’t matter if you actually lead 1 or 3 lives (work, evening out and weekends) or leave in an environment with 4 seasons. You just need to say that you have a uniform. Because it shows how much more focused on important things you are than the rest of us.


In Haiti, we have about 2 seasons, one when it rains and one when it does not. And you actually don’t need to dress any differently. Because it’s hot. All the time. You just add a rain coat. I have to admit, I started wearing a variation of pretty much the same thing everyday : skinny jeans/pencil skirt, button-up/t-shirt and the occasional dress. You can combine it and you will know how I’m dressed wether in the office, at the supermarket or dining out. So I guess, yes, I have a uniform. If I was to participate in Me-Made-May (I’m not), I would bore the hell out of all of you!



But here is the problem, I don’t want to to call it like that because it already became a cliché. Trends go so fast online that you can get tired of them before even adopting them! Just like when everyone started “curating” inspiration on Pinterest and their blog. Maybe I can skip to the next wardrobe trend ? Please jump in, do you have a uniform, or a minimalist wardrobe? What do you think will be the next wardrobe trend?

Lastly, I am about to board the plane to New York for a week, in case you are there and want to shop at Mood or just gossip email me!



22 thoughts on “On sewing the basics (SBCC Tonic Tee) and having a uniform

  1. Andrea

    I live in jeans and tees for weekends and my work wear is quite uniform like as well. I guess I am busy but my main reason is that is what I feel comfortable in. I will participate in Me Made May simply to edit my wardrobe.

    Great tees! I have been meaning go try this pattern.

  2. Fabric Tragic

    I guess I have a work uniform, in that I wear slim trousers (style arc Elle pants) and either a tshirt (usually Maria denmark kimono tee) or longer sleeve top (often a Mandy boat neck tee – what can I say, I love a free pattern!) because I know they fit, they’re economical patterns with regard to fabric, and they’re comfortable and flexible for my job needs. But when I’m home the last thing I want to wear is the same thing all the time, so I take a lot of pleasure in wearing a real variety on my day off or weekends. I was actually saying this to my husband the other day when we went clothes shopping for the first time in forever – I don’t understand the current trend in Australia where women wear designer exercise clothing out for coffee or shopping when they clearly haven’t been exercising at all! Take the opportunity to wear something nice for goodness sake! Anyway I’ll get off my soap box. I do love your little tees – I get a kick out of making boring basics! have a super time in ny!

    • Sewing Tidbits

      Thanks for stopping by Sarah! I never tried Maria Denmark’s pattern but I have to admit that I am curious!! I’m too French for exercise wear for anything else than exercise. I just can’t get it. Maybe because I don’t find active wear more comfortable than let’s say jeans and t-shirts!

  3. Sophie

    These are perfect! Honestly, and you sound the same as me, it’s so hard to bring myself to sew basics even though they’re pretty much all I want to wear and what the wardrobe desperately needs. All your tees look like such a great fit!

  4. Sasha

    I definetly do not have an uniform although my lifestyle for the most part requires only jeans tees and sweaters I still won’t call that a uniform – the idea (trend or no trend… besides some internet trends I just don’t get) makes my skin crawl – so 1984 !
    Great fit on the tees – heading over to download the pattern, I want one of those tees (or maybe a few 😉 for myself

  5. Lyndke

    This post made me laugh and laugh. I know it’s not quite the forecast you want, but personally I’m waiting for brown to be The New Black again. I’m sure we’ll all be Expressing our Individuality and caring about The Crucial Five Seconds of a first impression, or something, by next August.

  6. Beth (SunnyGal Studio)

    I find it interesting when people wear a “uniform” or the same thing all the time, that would be a way to torture me. I love color and wearing something different every day. Of course t-shirts are great, comfy and useful but black and white, I don’t think I even one any. That said your t-shirt has a great fit. Have fun in NY. I have been thinking about NY lately as I have not been in a long time. Happy fabric shopping.

    • Sewing Tidbits

      Thank you Beth! New York was lovely (hence the late reply to comments)! I believe that we all have our definition basics, for me it maybe black and white t-shirts and for others beautifully tailored blazers…

  7. LK

    I love this post, great commentary! I don’t have a minimalist wardrobe, I have a confused one.I do wish it were more cohesive though.

    • Sewing Tidbits

      Thank you! I think no matter how confused our wardrobes are, we all wish for more cohesiveness! That’s what makes us buy the wardrobe books, listen to Tim Gunn’s advice and follow the wardrobe architect…

  8. Life of Janine

    Love this and so agree that there is this feeling lately that you’re not part of the clique if you’re not participating in the latest trend.

    I’m absolutely tidying up with Marie Kondo, but because it makes sense to me. I thought about the uniform thing but I’m too schizophrenic … the whole idea seems too limiting to my creativity.

    • Sewing Tidbits

      Hi Janine, you are right about the power of trends. Online and IRL the social pressure is hard to resist. I’m impressed about how many people find Marie Kondo’s method just right! Half way through the book I literally jumped out of my bed and started sorting/organizing all my clothes!

  9. Stephanie Qich

    Internet trends can definitely be irritating – that’s my excuse for not keeping up with blogs, ha!

    however, many of these concepts are useful for the right people. A lot of it comes down to finding out who you are when it comes to clothes. I dress moderately eccentrically, but my biggest concern is having a cohesive style. So some version of a uniform helps me, not “Because it shows how much more focused on important things you are than the rest of us.” but because i want to create a very strong personal style statement which is consistent over time.

    My mom has worn a uniform – oversized cotton tee and black pants – for three decades now. She just doesn’t want to have to think about clothes, it makes her nervous. She is a Master Gardener and deals with various health concerns, so she IS busy too!

    I would love to spend a week or three knocking out a bunch of white blouses like you have done here with your chic-to-the-core tees. The last half year i’ve fallen into a uni of skirt plus white blouse (usually linen). I love how easy it makes getting dressed, i love the style consistency, and within those guidelines as a sewist there is infinite freedom.

    Your group of tees is giving me strong motivation to get my white blouse project going – thank you!

    • Sewing Tidbits

      Thank you Stephanie for contributing to the discussion so substantively. There is something very enjoyable about exploring options within constraints, I think working a set of white blouses is a terrific idea!

  10. Sandra

    Love your writing style. And your honest cut-it-to-the-bone critique of trends. Even though I want to join in the online conversations, it mostly feels like a pretext for keeping me off-balance and on the move. The idea of a uniform has come around several times in my lifetime and I have always loved the simplicity. However, I also love some diversity. How to make the twain meet? Your chic styling of the core is one good way!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s