How to Sew T-Shirts

Have you been watching the Celebrity version of the Great British Sewing Bee this week? What do you think? Anything that gets more people interested in sewing is a good thing in my book and even better, making t-shirts! If you know me or my blog you will know how I like to evangelise about sewing with stretch knit fabrics, so I was very happy to hear this was to be included in the show.

If you are feeling inspired to start whipping up your own t-shirts, read on for patterns, tips and guides to help you on your way, all tried and tested by my eager sewing students at MIY Workshop, so you can be sure they all work.

T-shirt Patterns

easy t-shirt sewing pattern

Here is the T-shirt sewing pattern from my book (“The Beginner’s Guide to Dressmaking”).  It’s a really quick and easy make for beginner dressmakers.

If you have done a bit of sewing already, are dabbling with pattern hacking* and fancy something a bit more than a plain version, the book comes complete with a whole chapter packed with ideas for how to modify the basic patterns to create more styles:

beginners guide to dressmaking t-shirt make it your own

*Newbie sewers – pattern hacking = modifying an existing pattern to adapt it into a new version of the style.  Something of which I highly approve as it’s creative and empowering to start with a simple version of a pattern and be able to change it a bit to create a new style.

If you don’t want to invest in a whole book and want a t-shirt pattern to just get on with, here’s one from my pattern range, MIY Collection:

easy t-shirt vest dress sewing pattern

Available as a print pattern for £15 or a PDF download for £7, another easy one for beginners and infinitely adaptable for pattern hacking.

Here are just a few of the versions made by my sewing students:

easy t-shirt vest dress sewing pattern

How to Sew T-Shirt Fabric & Where to Buy

Here are some links to some of my most popular posts about sewing with stretch knit t-shirt fabrics:

How to Customise a Plain T-shirt

So, once you’ve started you might want to move on from a plain t-shirt to a bit of pattern hacking, customising and embellishment.

t-shirt customising

Here’s a piece I wrote last year for Sewing World magazine which includes 2 easy ways to customise t-shirts: stencil printing (like on the vest above) and using shirring elastic to change the shape of the t-shirt.

customising-tshirts

I hope that’s inspired you to go and get busy!  If so, why not sign-up for my newsletter to get regular sewing advice and tips: http://eepurl.com/EVEYj

4 responses to “How to Sew T-Shirts

  1. Dear Wendy,

    I m just about to start on my first ever project using your book and I was wondering whether you might help me understand something about the Tshirt project. My fabric is only 115cm wide and so I ordered 1.2m (actually I got 1.3 just in case) as you said. However, when looking at the cutting plan (plan 2 in the book), I have a feeling that I will be cutting pieces crossgrain rather than longgrain. I am only just learning these terms! My cotton jersey fabric only has a stretch one way and I am worried that the stretch will be vertical on the tshirt rather than horizontal. Is this correct? I have read that this is not a good idea in stretch fabrics.

    Thanks for your help
    Morvah

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    • Hi Morvah, how exciting! You are using the correct cutting plan for your width of fabric, cutting plan 2 shows 2 folds along the length of the fabric with the selvedges meeting in the middle. The t-shirt pattern piece is than placed on this lengthwise fold with the CF/CB against the fold meaning that the lengthwise grain is running down the t-shirt and the width of the fabric (where the fabric has most stretch) is running around the garment. Hope this helps. Wendy

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