How To Make A Shirt Pattern

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Today, I’m going to show you How To Make A Shirt Pattern! We love bringing you content that improves your sewing knowledge. This skill lets you multiply your favorite clothes so you can have even more with different fabric patterns. And with practice, you can do this with any of your clothes. I don’t know about you, but it’s difficult to find clothing that fits me in a way that I love. So when I do find that perfect shirt, I want to buy one in every color and pattern. This sewing tutorial will help you develop the knowledge and ability to replicate clothing you love by making your very own sewing patterns for them. This is an awesome skill to develop no matter if you are a beginner or seasoned sewist. If you’ve found a top that you absolutely love on a thrifting run, this is great for replicating vintage items that aren’t sold in stores anymore. You can make some really fun and unique items with patterns you make yourself.

How To Make A Shirt Pattern Top Photo

So, pick out a shirt you want to make a pattern out of and gather up your sewing supplies from the list below. This is going to be a really fun project. Let’s get started!

How To Make A Shirt Pattern Pin 1

What You’ll Need:

What shirt should you trace?

First, you need to find a shirt you would like to make a pattern with. When you are first starting out, choose a shirt that is simple and then work your way to something more complicated. A basic t-shirt or shirt with only a few pieces to it will be great to begin with. Knits are a bit forgiving in fit so they are great for becoming familiar with copying into a pattern.

When choosing the fabric you want to make your new shirt with, choose a fabric that is similar to the original shirt. You don’t want to use woven fabric if the original shirt is made of knit fabric. It would end up being too small since it can’t stretch. The original maker of the garment matched fabric weight and type with the design, so you should also.

The shirt I chose to make a pattern of is a polyester-spandex blend, so that is the kind of fabric I chose for my new shirt. Start on your DIY Shirt Pattern with the steps below.

How To Make A Shirt Pattern

lay out shirt

Start. this how to make a shirt pattern sewing tutorial by laying out a large roll of paper that is big enough for the shirt. I found my roll of paper at the dollar store. You can also find some at a craft store, or you can use the back of wrapping paper. Use something to hold the paper down while you’re working if you need to. I am using my fabric weights. Fold your shirt in half and pin it together so the layers don’t shift. Lay it down on the paper, making sure there aren’t any wrinkles in the fabric. 

mark parts of shirt onto paper

Analyze which parts of the shirt will need to be traced individually. My shirt is made of four parts. The front has a top and bottom that will be traced separately, and so does the back. If you are tracing a basic tee, you’ll trace three areas, the front, back, and sleeves. 

trace hem of shirt onto paper pattern

Start tracing your shirt. I started by marking where the hem of the shirt is and the seam between the top and bottom sections. Then I made dash marks all around the bottom piece of the shirt. 

lift to trace shirt seam onto paper pattern

Where the two fabrics meet and create a seam allowance is a bit trickier. I placed a finger on the seam allowance, then lifted up the top of the shirt and marked where my finger is underneath. I repeated this all the way across the length of the seam. This will insure your shirt pattern seams are correct.

draw shirt pattern

Once the bottom section of the shirt was traced with dashed lines, I removed the shirt and used a marker to connect the dots. 

finished shirt pattern

Next, label where the fold is and label what part of the shirt it is for so you don’t forget later. 

draw seam allowance onto shirt pattern

Now on this DIY shirt pattern sewing tutorial, we need to add a seam allowance and hem before cutting it out. Using a ruler, add ¼” seam allowance to all seams. Do this by placing a dashed line ¼” from the side seams and any other seam allowances. 

add one inch to seam allowance on shirt pattern

At this point, I wanted to alter the shirt just a bit. I wanted a flat hem at the bottom of the shirt instead of the pointed hem at the side seams. I created a new line of where I wanted the new hem to be. Then I added 1” to the hem so I would have enough to fold under for the hem. 

make notes onto shirt pattern

Also, make notes of what your seam allowance will be and how much to fold under for your hem. My seam allowance is ¼” and the hem will be folded under ¾”. 

cut out shirt pattern

Cut out your new paper pattern. We are about halfway through this fun shirt pattern tutorial!

trace top portion of shirt onto paper pattern

Next, trace the top portion of the shirt. Using a pen, trace the top of the shirt with dashed lines. When you are tracing the front of the shirt, make sure to trace the neckline for the front of the shirt and not the back of the shirt. (I made this mistake and didn’t realize it at all).

trace neckline for shirt pattern

Since the back neckline is in the way of the front neckline, you will need to lift up the back neckline a bit so you can mark it in the correct spot. 

trace neckband if needed

There are many types of neckbands or bindings. You’ll need to identify the type for the shirt you are making a pattern out of. A neck binding is like bias tape and will encase the raw edge of the neckline. A neckband is folded in half and the raw edges of the band and the shirt are sewn together. 

If your shirt has a neckband, put your trace line at the seam allowance of the band and shirt. 

trace neck binding if needed

If your shirt has a neck binding, put your trace line at the top of the binding. 

connect dots for shirt pattern
finished shirt pattern

Once you are done tracing your pattern, remove the shirt and connect all the dashed lines with a pen. 

add seam allowances to shirt pattern

Add ¼” seam allowance to any seams. 

add 1/2" to sleeve hem seam allowance

Add ½” to the sleeve hems.

label and cut out shirt pattern

Label the sections & cut out the shirt pattern. Repeat the same steps for the back of the shirt. If your paper is super curly like mine was, you can iron them flat on a medium setting so they are easier to work with while you are cutting fabric. 

finished shirt made with shirt pattern

Now you know how to make a shirt pattern. Use your favorite shirt and cut out your fabric for your new shirt and sew it all together. I love how mine turned out! I hope you enjoy making patterns from your favorite shirts so you can have a wardrobe you love. 

If you liked learning how to make a shirt pattern, make sure to pin it to your favorite Pinterest board or share it with friends on social media. If you decide to make this simple project on your own, make certain that you take a picture afterward and tag us on social media as we love seeing the fabrics and color choices that people use!

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How To Make A Shirt Pattern

How To Make A Shirt Pattern Create Card

Got a shirt you love? Make a pattern of it so you can make more shirts that fit perfectly! This simple tutorial shows you how!

Active Time 45 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Difficulty Easy
Estimated Cost $15.00

Instructions

  1. Start by laying out a large roll of paper that is big enough for the shirt and weigh it down.
  2. Fold your shirt in half and pin it together so the layers don’t shift. Lay it down on the paper, making sure there aren’t any wrinkles in the fabric.
  3. Analyze which parts of the shirt will need to be traced individually. If you are tracing a basic tee, you’ll trace three areas, the front, back, and sleeves. 
  4. Start tracing your shirt by marking where the hem of the shirt is and the seam between the top and bottom sections. Make dash marks all around the bottom piece of the shirt. 
  5. Where the two fabrics meet place a finger on the seam allowance, then lift up the top of the shirt and mark where your finger is underneath.
  6. Repeat this all the way across the length of the seam. 
  7. Once the bottom section of the shirt is traced with dashed lines, remove the shirt and used a marker to connect the dots. 
  8. Label where the fold is and label what part of the shirt it is for so you don’t forget later. 
  9. Add a seam allowance and hem before cutting it out. Using a ruler, add ¼” seam allowance to all seams. Do this by placing a dashed line ¼” from the side seams and any other seam allowances. 
  10. If you want a flat hem at the bottom of the shirt instead of the pointed hem at the side seams, create a new line where you want the new hem to be.
  11. Add 1” to the hem so I would have enough to fold under for the hem. 
  12. Make notes of what your seam allowance will be and how much to fold under for your hem.
  13. Cut out your new paper pattern. 
  14. Using a pen, trace the top of the shirt with dashed lines. Make sure to trace the neckline for the front of the shirt and not the back of the shirt. You will need to lift up the back neckline a bit so you can mark it in the correct spot.  
  15. If your shirt has a neck binding, put your trace line at the top of the binding.
  16. Once you are done tracing, remove the shirt and connect all the dashed lines with a pen. 
  17. Add ¼” seam allowance to any seams. 
  18. Add ½” to the sleeve hems.
  19. Cut out the pattern. 
  20. Repeat the same steps for the back of the shirt.  
  21. Now you can use your new pattern to cut out your fabric for your new shirt.

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