Blog Draft a T-shirt

Sew it! (Part 8 of the Draft Your New Favourite T-Shirt Pattern Series)

We are onto part 8 of the t-shirt pattern drafting series. So far we have gathered our suppliestaken our measurements, performed some of the necessary calculations we needed, drafted the bodice and sleeves of our pattern, finished adjusting the pattern and cut out our pattern pieces. Now that we have everything cut, we can begin sewing our t-shirt!
Supplies:

The supplies you will need for this section are:

  • Your cut fabric pieces
  • Scissors/snips
  • Pins or clips
  • Sewing machine (optional: serger)
  • Coordinating thread

Optional:

  • Wonder tape (for hem)
  • Stitch witchery (to finish off serger ends)

Note: if you are new to working with knits, you may want to check out episode 2 of our podcast (Sewing Together).

Before we begin sewing the pieces we must identify what the front and back of the knit fabric looks like. Below demonstrates how to identify the front and back of jersey knit.

This is what the front of the knit fabric looks like. These lines run parallel to the direction of the grain line. The grain line runs parallel to the selvage (which is the factory created edge) of the fabric.

 

This is the back of the knit fabric. This is the ‘purl’ side, just like when you knit with yarn and needles. These fibres run parallel to the direction of most stretch and parallel to the cut edge of the fabric.

When I reference the “right” side of the fabric, I am referring to the front/knit side of the fabric. ‘Wrong’ side refers to the back/pearl side of the fabric.

Before we begin: You want to be conscious of your seam direction while you are sewing. I like to press all of my seams towards the back of the garment so that I always remember the direction my seams are pressed and don’t end up with twisted seams.

Let’s begin. Remember to make sure your sewing machine is set up with coordinating thread and set to a stretch stitch (zig zag will work).

  1. Fold the neckband (and cuffs if you have chosen) in half the long way. Sew along the short cut edge (as shown by the red lines below). If you are sewing a v-neck, this blog has a great tutorial you can follow.

2. Fold you sleeves in half, right sides together, and sew along the side seams (as shown by the red lines below).

3. Finish the ends of the sleeves:

  • If you are hemming your sleeves: Fold over the bottom edge of your sleeve, press and sew in place. Skip the steps for sewing the cuff below.
  • If you are using cuffs for your sleeves:

a. Fold your cuff in half, wrong sides together so the long edges are aligned (picture below is to show the folding process, but you need to continue folding until the cut edges align).

b. Slide the cuff inside the bottom of the sleeve, aligning the seams and cut edges.

c. Pin at quarter points. Repeat for other sleeve.

d. Sew the cuff to the sleeve.

e. You may wish to press the seam (with an iron) towards the sleeve (away from the cuff) and top stitch (with stretch stitch or zigzag) in place.

 

4. Place your front and back bodice pieces right sides together, aligning the shoulder seams and side seams. Pin along the edges.

5. Sew the shoulder and side seams.

6. Fold the neckband in half, similar to how the cuffs were folded above, with wrong sides together, lightning cut edges.

7. Pin the neckband seam to the centre back of neckline on bodice right sides together, aligning the cut edges of the band with the cut edge of the bodice. Pin the opposite side of the neckband to the front centre of the bodice at neckline (right sides together). Pin quarter points.

9. Sew the neckband on to the bodice, stretching as you sew. Press the seams (with an iron) towards the body of the shirt and topstitch (with stretch stitch or zig zag) around the neckline, holding the seam allowance in place. Press again.

10. Slide the sleeve into the armhole of the bodice, making sure the top of the sleeve cap is at the shoulder and the seam in the sleeve aligns with the side seam of the bodice. The sleeve and the bodice should be right sides together (bodice inside out and the sleeve right side out).

11. Pin the sleeve in place, easing in the sleeve cap (meaning you might have to stretch the arm hole a bit to get the sleeve to fit nicely).

Repeat for the other sleeve.

12. Sew the sleeves in place, stretching the armhole slightly to allow the sleeve cap to fit in there nicely. You want to avoid puckering and gathers.

 

13. Turn your shirt right sides out and admire your work 😉

14. The last step is to hem your shirt. I like to just leave a raw edge but when I do hem, I find using wonder tape makes a huge difference. Check out my blog post here on 5 ways to hem a t-shirt.

Want to see what this looks like on? Check out the post where I share some of my creations, and hope to see some of your creations too!

Don’t forget to share along the way. How did you find the sewing process? Any tricky bits that you want some help with? Comment below or join our Facebook group. Don’t forget to use #appletreedraftatee if you are on Instagram!

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