How to Sew Shirts


In life, shirts are a necessity right up there with air, water and food. We all need to wear them, particularly if we intend to go out in public, and people who choose to sew their own can often save a good deal of money by doing so. Luckily, shirts that pull on over the head (rather than buttoning up the front) make for fairly straightforward sewing projects, and if you own a sewing machine, you can probably whip one off in an afternoon. Here's how!

Things You'll Need

  • Pattern
  • Material
  • Needles
  • Thread
  • Sewing machine


  • Find a pattern you like. Whether you choose to buy one at the fabric store or create your own based on another shirt you currently own, this is the fun part. Pick a pattern that is marked "easy" if you're a beginner, as complicated design elements will quickly become frustrating.

  • Choose your fabric. If using a store-bought pattern, check the instructions to find out what types of fabric are recommended for your project. Typically, shirts that are pulled on over the head require either a stretchy fabric or a large enough neckline so that the head can easily fit through. Choose the type of fabric you want, based on the instructions as well as the types of colors you prefer. Be sure to purchase enough fabric to complete the project; the amount required will also be listed on the pattern.

  • Following the instructions for your pattern, be sure to properly lay out the fabric you've chosen. Usually, the pattern will tell you to fold the fabric in half, width-wise, keeping the right sides together so that you can cut out the front and back at the same time. Lay out the fabric, pin the pattern to it and cut out the individual pieces.

  • After cutting out the pieces of your shirt (which usually consist of a front and back, plus sleeves, along with any additional design elements like collars or ties for more complicated patterns), continue to follow the instructions, which will show you which pieces to pin together, as well as how to sew them and in what order. Usually, you will first sew the shoulders of the shirt together at the top (to hold the two pieces together), then the sides up to the armholes. You will sew the sleeves into open cylinders, then sew the larger ends of the sleeves onto the torso of the shirt. At the end of this, you will turn under all of your seams and sew them together to create a finished edge.

  • Once your shirt is sewn together, the instructions may suggest trimming your seams and then ironing them down. You can also add any design elements you'd like, such as ties or decorative trim. Turn your shirt right side out and try it on!

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