How to Make T-Shirts From Scratch


A T-shirt can be worn by men, women and children alike. It is a classic staple to any wardrobe that is sold in stores around the world in various shapes, sizes, colors and designs. While some T-shirts will cost you just a few bucks, others can be rather expensive. However, if you know how to sew, you can create your own T-shirt from scratch with a custom look that matches your taste and style. Jersey fabric is most often used for T-shirts because it stretches and can be found at any fabric store.

Things You'll Need

  • Jersey or knit fabric
  • Thread that matches the fabric
  • Straight pins
  • Sewing machine
  • Scissors
  • Pattern or old T-shirt
  • Pattern paper
  • Choose a fabric for your T-shirt. Jersey, knit or cotton/lycra fabrics work best because they have some stretch. Pick a solid color or pattern that you fancy as well as matching thread.

  • Select a T-shirt pattern from a fabric store or create your own pattern using an old T-shirt. To do this, use a T-shirt you already have that fits well. On a solid surface, trace each section of the T-shirt onto pattern paper, adding about 1/2-inch of space around the traced line. For instance, trace the front and back of each sleeve, the back of the shirt and the front of the shirt.

  • Pin the pieces of the pattern you just created onto your fabric.

  • Cut out each piece of the fabric.

  • Place the front and the back pieces together with the right sides of the fabric facing each other and pin together.

  • Sew the edges of the shoulders together using a zig-zag stitch on the sewing machine. Use a 1/4-inch seam allowance.

  • Begin working on the sleeves. If you purchased a pattern, you'll have one piece of fabric for each sleeve. If you have created your own pattern, you'll have two pieces of fabric for each sleeve. In this case, you will need to attach the two pieces at the shoulder. Lay the two pieces with the right sides facing each other. Sew the shoulder seam, using a 1/4-inch seam allowance.

  • Lay out the front and back of the shirt, right side down, so that you can see a full circle at the neck hole, with the right side of the fabric facing down. Lay the sleeves flat with the right side of the fabric facing down and pin them to the main portion of the shirt. Sew the sleeves onto the back of the shirt, over the shoulder of the shirt and down the front of the shirt using a zig-zag stitch and a 1/4-inch seam allowance.

  • Sew the two side side seams of the front and back of the shirt together using a zig-zag stitch and a 1/4-inch seam allowance. Make sure the right of the fabric are facing each other.

  • Keep the T-shirt turn inside out and sew the final sleeve seams together at the underarm with a zig-zag stitch and 1/4-inch seam allowance.

  • Keep raw edges around the neck or choose to hide them by rolling the collar fabric under approximately 1/2 inch and sewing down with a zig-zag stitch. Do the same around the sleeve openings and the bottom of the T-shirt.

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