January 18, 2019

DIY: Cut & Sew a T-Shirt! (DIY Basic T-Shirt Part 2)

In this part 2 basic T-shirt tutorial, I share a bit on grain lines, selvage, how to place fabrics to cut and the steps to sewing the T-shirt up! I also made a hoodie shirt for little Butter from the scraps and he wasn't too pleased at first, but he likes it now when we put it on him. I guess it can be his thundershirt as he gets quite afraid during thunderstorm and rainy days.

If you haven't seen the part 1 and looking to make your T-shirt patterns first: https://goo.gl/ktuDMr

  • Cotton fabrics
  • Matching thread
  • Thread clipper
  • Dressmaker pins
  • Fabric scissors
  • Tailors chalk 
  • Sewing machine (domestic machine works well too!)

  1. Fold the fabric, it is important to place the grain line indicated on the pattern along the selvage. 
  2. Selvage is the finished edge of fabric during manufacture and it prevents the edges from fraying. When you buy fabric, the supplier will cut on the side which is perpendicular to the selvage. 
  3. There are 3 types of fabric grain: straight grain, cross grain and bias grain. The main one is the straight grain, which is parallel to the selvage 
  4. I’m adding a style line to divide my shirt, so the upper bodice is grey and lower bodice is white.  I add 1cm from the style line and fold before placing the front bodice pattern. If you’re going for one colour, you can skip this step and place the whole pattern piece on the fabric 
  5. Use a chalk to trace the pattern, i’m adding more flare to the side seams for a more relaxed fit
  6. Cut the pattern out. Repeat the same steps for the back bodice pattern if you’re going for the colour blocking style, make sure that the length of stye line is the same for both front and back 
  7. We need two pieces for sleeves, fold the fabric and place the sleeve pattern to trace and cut 
  8. Snip the shoulder notch so its easier to match and sew later
  9. Next I’m going to cut the collar strip, measure the front neckline and back neckline on the patterns using ruler or fabric tape measure and double the measurement, which is 47cm for mine. 
  10. Fold the fabric on the stretchier side that is perpendicular to the selvage
  11. The height I'm giving is 3cm and length is the 47cm we just measured, minus off 2cm so it becomes 45cm 
  12. Mark the collar strip. I minus 2cm and also didn’t add seam allowances because I want to stretch it to fit during sewing so the collar will turn out looking better. 
  13. Now I'm going to cut the lower bodice patterns on the white cotton fabric. I place the top fabric piece to match the flare, add 1cm seam allowance from the style line and draw 
  14. I repeat the steps for the lower back bodice. Make sure that the front and back side seams are matching in length before cutting them out. 
  15. Take the top front and back pieces, work on the wrong side of fabric and match the side seams. 
  16. Sew 1cm down on both sides. Take the lower front and back pieces, work on the wrong side of fabric and match the side seams. 
  17. Sew 1cm down on both sides. For the raw edges, I used my domestic machine for zigzag seam finishing.
  18. Next, I match the lower bodice to the top bodice and attach them together by sewing 1cm all around. 
  19. Attach the front shoulder seam and back shoulder seam by sewing 1cm down on the wrong sides 
  20. Fold the sleeve and sew 1cm down on the wrong side
  21. Do the same for the other sleeve
  22. Working on the wrong sides, match the shoulder notch that we snipped before to the bodice shoulder point, and pin the lower sleeve seam to the bodice side seams 
  23. Tuck the sleeve into the bodice so its easier to manage, sew 1cm from edge all around
  24. Do the same for the other sleeve. Turn the shirt out
  25. Unfold the collar strip and match the ends, sew 1cm down from the edge
  26. Press open the seams and fold it back
  27. Still working on the right side, pin the collar strip to the neckline
  28. Hide the collar seam at the back, about 1.5cm away from shoulder seam so the layers won’t be too thick to sew  
  29. Pin to secure and sew 1cm all around from edge. I cut my collar smaller than the total neckline so I will stretch it to fit, I did it this way so the collar’s ripples can be minimised 
  30. Iron press the collar to eliminate the ripples
  31. Fold 2cm up from sleeve hem and sew 1.5cm from edge all around
  32. Do the same for the other sleeve
  33. Fold 2cm up from bodice hem, pin to secure and sew 1.5cm from edge all around
  34. Iron press the seams and the shirt is completed! 

I hope this tutorial is useful for sewing enthusiasts who are just getting started, let me know if you have any questions regarding the steps and I'll be happy to help! Also do tag me on Instagram @acetually if you're working on it! xx

Photos by Jason.



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