How to Sew a T-shirt: A Step by Step Guide

Have you ever wanted to sew a t-shirt but just didn't know how?  Maybe you thought it'd be a lot cheaper.  Or perhaps you wanted to make a fun custom shirt, but didn't want to head to the store to buy one.

 We've got just the post for you today.  We are going to show you step-by-step how to sew a t-shirt.  

How to Sew a T-shirt:  A Step by Step Guide
This post contains affiliate links to products I recommend.  I do make a portion off any you may purchase.  See full disclosure here.

You can use any t-shirt pattern you might have or you can grab one of our many t-shirt patterns in our GYCT PDF Pattern Shop.  The pattern we are using today is the full Primary Tee Pattern. Let's get started!

PDF sewing pattern

Materials Needed
T-shirt Pattern (Need one?  Head over to our shop for the Tinley Tee or Bowmont Tee)
Knit fabric (I suggest an interlock or jersey knit)

Step 1
Start by printing and cutting out your PDF pattern.  Each designer is different, but my patterns I can cut off the bottom and the right side.  This way I can tape them together easily.  Tape the pieces together and then select your size.  Make sure to check the size chart and the measurements of your child so you get the correct fit.  Just because your child is a size 4 in ready to wear clothes doesn't mean they are a size 4 in PDF patterns.

PDF sewing pattern taped

Step 2
Take your knit fabric and fold it in half.  Usually I will fold one side enough to fit my pattern piece.  Place the "fold" marking right up to the fold and pin.  Then cut out your pattern piece.  Each pattern piece should say how many to cut.  For example, the Bodice front may say "Cut 1 on fold" but the sleeves may say "Cut 2 on Fold".  Make sure to pay attention.

You'll also need to cut out a neckband.  Usually there is an extra cutting chart with measurements either on the pattern pieces or on the instructions.  In this case, they are on my pattern pieces.

pattern on fabric  Pattern on fabricsleeve pattern on fabric

Step 3
Now we sew!  With Right Sides Together (RST), match the shoulders of the front and back bodice.  Pin both of the shoulders and stitch across with a zig zag, stretch stitch or on a serger.  
Sewn shoulder seams

Step 4
With RST, fold neckband in half matching the short sides.  Stitch down the short sides.  Fold the neckband down so that wrong sides are touching and you now have a circular band.  Press

Step 5
With RST, place neckband over neck edge of the top.  Match the seam of the neckband to one of the back bodice seams.  Find the middle of the neckband and match it to the opposite front seam.  Pin rest of neckband in place.  

You may need to stretch the neckband slightly as you pin for it to fit properly.  Stitch neckband to shirt. 

Sewing a neckline


Step 6
 With RST, pin the center of the sleeve on the shoulder seam of the bodice.  Pin the sleeve to bodice matching the sleeve and bodice as you go.  Stitch across the sleeve from one side to the other.  Repeat with opposite sleeve. 

Pinning a sleeve

Step 7
Turn bodice so that right sides are together.  Match side seams and sleeves.  Stitch down the side seam.  Repeat with opposite side.
Unfinished tshirt
Step  8
Now is the time you'll want to switch to your double needle.  The double needle gives a really nice finished hem look.  If you don't have a double needle, you can use a zig-zag stitch to finish all your hems.
Twin needle Double needle

Step 9
Fold the edge of the sleeve up ½” and press.  Stitch around the hem using a double needle.  Repeat with opposite sleeve.

Iron sleeve   finished sleeve

Step 10
Turn the bottom edge of the bodice up ½” towards the wrong side of the fabric and press.  Topstitch around the hem of the bodice.  Press.
Finished tshirt hem
Step 11
Turn neckband up and press with iron.  Using your double needle or zig-zag stitch, topstitch around the neckband.
Finished neckline

And you are done!!!  Now if you still need a little help, check out the video below and you can watch as I sew up a t-shirt.

Orange and purple tshirts

How to Sew a T-shirt:  A Step by Step Guide

Not sure if you are ready to sew with knit fabrics? Try out our Free Knit Sew Scary Course. 

1 comment

  1. Is the seem allowance built into the T shirt pattern? Or do we add the seem allowanace?