Sewing a Wardrobe: Simple Tee Shirt

Hello again everyone!

Let’s talk about sewing.  Specifically sewing a wardrobe for yourself.

I know it can seem a bit daunting, but it can also be fun and exciting!  Even if you are just learning to sew, you can start sewing yourself some amazing clothing that is more personal than anything you will ever find in a store.  Be it style, fit, pattern or just the heart you put into it, sewing for yourself will always give you more.

Now, I am no expert.  I wont pretend to be.  However, I have a wonderful mother who’s skills are top notch to guide me, and a desire to learn.  That’s all you really need. (well ok, some sewing supplies and a sewing machine won’t hurt either!)

Like all things in this blog, I am on a path to learn and improve my skills as I go.  When I do, I will share projects with you (like the simple t-shirt below) and tips and tricks I learn along the way.  Together we can work towards better sewing knowledge, and the power to make our own wardrobes (and any other little thing we feel like sewing along the way!)


Simple T-Shirt Project

This project is as I have said, simple.  Take an old, well fitting t-shirt you own as the base.  Lay it out on some craft paper, and use it to sketch out a pattern for the shirt.

The fabric is a simple T-shirt knit as it was labeled at my local Fabricland store.

Shirt Layout
Laying out an old t-shirt to make a pattern from.

Here is my old shirt I chose.  When I did my pattern, I did not follow the lines exactly.  I made my pattern about 4 inches longer and a bit more than half the width (for a seam allowance in that case)

Here is my pattern all cut out. (Folded to stop it from rolling!) Notice the second neck line, for the front, that I cut by hand after.
Sleeve Circle Cut
I wanted a flowing sleeve, so I cut a quarter circle out of paper as well.

Just for clarity here, when it came to choosing the sleeve style, and a few other features of this shirt, I was winging it.  I cannot stress enough how much about learning new things is just that!  Wing it.  Get a basic idea, plan it out the best you can and TRY IT!  There is nothing so good as hands on learning.

Here are all the pieces cut out. There are two sleeves, a front and a back (not shown), and two narrow strips about 1.5 inches wide and about the same length as the shirt bottom, we will need those later.


Stitched Shirt
Here is the front and back stitched together. I stitched along the tops of the shoulders and down the sides.

Now here I was super awful! I got on a sewing tangent and forgot to stop and take more pictures along the way!!  I am so sorry everyone!

The steps missed were adding the sleeves and finishing the neckline with those rectangle pieces.

To add the sleeves, I first pinned the center of the fold on the strait edge of the fabric to the shoulder seam. This is done with the shirt right way out and the sleeve laid down so that its flipped up towards the neckline (so that the seams match on the shoulder and sleeve edge).  I then started pinning all the way around the shoulder hole, one side at a time.  The bottom of the sleeve will overlap, that is on purpose on this stile of sleeve.  It should overlap about one inch.  Make sure both sleeves overlap in the same direction for symmetry.   Sew all around the sleeves.

As for the neckline, take those two pieces, sew them together at one end, fold it lengthwise so the stitches are inside, and press it flat.

Then, starting at one shoulder seam or the other, pin that stitch line to the shoulder stitch line (Like with the sleeves, the shirt is right way out, and the piece is laying down on the shirt facing away from the collar).  Again, just like the sleeves, start pinning the collar all around the shirt, stopping a couple inches before the stitch line on the other shoulder, with both the front and the back.  Once you can measure out exactly where you need it to be, unfold and stitch the ends of the pieces together so that that stitch line lands on the other shoulders stitch line.  Refold the piece and finish pinning.  Now sew it all up, and then once done, press it up so it faces the right direction.

That was a lot when all written out and not in picture!!  I promise this will not be my last shirt and I will show those steps in detail (and pictures!) at a later point.


Finished Shirt
Here is the finished shirt. I left the ends of the sleeves and bottom of the shirt raw edged. The material wont fray and it lets it look more casual.


Vola!  A quick and easy T-Shirt!

Simple and easy, yet a great starting point to having your own ‘me made’ wardrobe!

Thanks for joining me,


3 thoughts on “Sewing a Wardrobe: Simple Tee Shirt

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