Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Tutorial: Shirt Pattern from Existing Tee

Hey y'all! 
I have a couple of tutorials ready for you, but have had a hard time getting them up here. Of course, life is always busy, but lately, blogger and my internet are not getting along. C'est la vie. Hopefully, you enjoy these as I can roll them out. 

I have been working on a couple of clothing items for myself. (I always get a hankering for new clothes at the start of Spring and Fall...must be the change in weather! And when you can't afford to shop--sew!) And I thought while I was at it, I'd draw up some tutorials. 

But first, what we need is a good workhorse shirt pattern--basically, a pattern that fits well, is basic, and easily adjustable. So this tutorial focuses only an creating that pattern, a very simple process that translates easily to most basic clothing articles. 

You will need: 
a t-shirt that fits well (long-sleeved if you have one--easier to shorten sleeves than make them)
butcher paper or freezer paper (found in many grocery stores) or even newspaper
straight pins

Freezer paper is great because it is very durable and relatively inexpensive. 

First, you will fold your shirt in half and lay it on top of the freezer paper. You can do this with the sleeve out, but I prefer to just tuck it under. 

Then, using a marker, trace the outline, keeping a couple of things in mind:  
*Make sure to give yourself a bit of room for a seam allowance. 
*If you are working from a t-shirt that is very thin, add a little extra width because thicker fabrics will not stretch as well. 
*Remember to add more at the bottom for a hem! 
(If you are uncomfortable with a marker this close to your favorite t-shirt, you can use the pin prick method mentioned below!) 

You can see in the photo above that I added quite a bit of length to this shirt. 
Partly, this is because this shirt hits me just above where I'd like it to, 
and partly because I knew what I was making would be a bit longer. 

Repeat the tracing with the other side. When you are done, you should have a front and a back piece. (The front should be cut lower than the back). Label the side that you will need the fold to be on, and label each piece as "Front" or "Back."
Here's my two pieces, front and back. (Sorry for the lack of contrast--I'm a night crafter!) 

Next, we are on to the sleeve. Much like the bodice, you will lay the sleeve out flat. 

Now, as you can see, you can't just use a marker to trace the inner seam of the sleeve, so one way to do this is by using straight pins. 

Simply use your straight pin to poke through the freezer paper along the seam, as demonstrated with the yellow dots in the next photo. 

Then, remove the sleeve, and connect the dots with a gently curving line...

And you'll have a whole sleeve and a finished pattern! 

These are the three basic pieces for a shirt pattern, and there are only a few seams before your shirt is completed!

More tomorrow on the first project (so long as blogger cooperates).

See you then!


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