Oliver + S Lunch Box Tee hack
I’ve been wondering if I can even call this post the Lunch Box Tee pattern. When is hackery going too far? When is a pattern so deeply hacked it’s no longer recognisable? I don’t know? I did a little googling – funnily enough the search term ‘pattern hacking limits’ came up with a lot of geek stuff but no sewing – but I figure general copyright rules might apply. Did you know it’s a myth that a 10-20 per cent change to a design dodges copyright laws? Copyright still applies even if a design is changed beyond 50 per cent. Which means, I’m afraid to say, this top IS still a Lunch Box tee. Sorry Oliver + S – I’ve done some serious damage to your lovely (kids) pattern.
So why am I hacking the heck out of a kid pattern? It’s not as if there aren’t 100 adult t-shirt patterns to choose from. But it’s a little complicated, because this project isn’t only a hack – it’s more of a merge. I’ve been looking for a pattern to match this tee I bought last summer and have worn like a uniform all year. I love the shape, I love the sleeves, I love it all. It’s one of those frustrating shapes that I know I could easily make myself…but I haven’t been able to track down the right pattern. And so I stare at this postcard in my studio, and the words ring true with my t-shirt, and really – with much of my sewing. I should be able to make it – but a small Melbourne indie clothing label did it instead. That’s ok, sometimes that’s why we buy RTW, right?
Then recently I was staring at my daughter’s Lunch Box Tee made from fabric I had bought for myself, and I was feeling a little envious. Selfless sewing sucks sometimes! I wanted a tee too – that tee. Because I realised it was almost, ALMOST, my elusive tee. Just kid-sized. Then I had a little sewing revelation: My Lunch Box Tee pattern is a digital file…I’ve seen people on Instagram shrink adult patterns down for kids before….Could I…(pattern makers please look away for this paragraph as a total amateur home sewer plays around)… maybe scale it up when I print it out? I do understand pattern grading is complex, with incremental rules for each measurement point, BUT this is a super boxy tee so I figured the fit issues might be minimal. What if I just worked out the percentage I needed? A rare moment of math calculation later I decided I needed to print the kids’ size 12 at 110 per cent and I would have… my size! I figured it was only a small scale up so maybe I could sidestep those complex grading issues. So here lies my sewing experiment. I also understand not everyone wants to wear scaled up kids clothes (just writing that makes me chuckle).
As well as scaling up, I made a few other changes to the pattern. I made the body 2 inches wider to give the tee a boxier shape. I tweaked the neckline a little to make it a touch more boatneck, by widening and lifting it a bit at the front. I omitted the sleeve caps and kept the sleeve edges and hemline raw, similar to my RTW tee which has worn really well. I think the fabric choice helps here – the double knit has a slightly scuba structure to the fabric (but I don’t think it actually is). I also gently curved the hemline to dip down at the front and back. Basically, I changed every single aspect of this pattern!
I think it works? I’ll definitely be wearing my new big kid top. And I’m pretty sure I’m more than 10 per cent larger than a kids size 12 but hey – whatever works. So now sewing friends you can shun grading rules and go forth and print out that kid romper pattern at 200 per cent. The kid pattern world is our sewing oyster!