So not surprisingly, my little Dude ran out of non-stained shirt that fit and have no holes. I'm sure all your other moms out there are just shocked, right? Well the Dude seems to go through clothes even faster then most kids, probably he's about 40 times crazier then most kids. For serious. So on that note I'm sharing my tutorial for how to sew a punky toddler t-shirt, and make your own pattern from an existing shirt.
Rather then go buy a bunch of cheap new t-shirts for the Dude (which he would trash anyways), or buy a bunch of brand new expensive jersey fabric, I decided to re-purpose some of my husband's old t-shirts. I've had these shirts in my refashion pile forever and decided to repurpose them to make the Dude some fun, punky patchwork style little shirts. Here's a picture of my Dude wearing one of his new mama-made shirts:
Side note: See that mischievous look on my Dude's face? Yeah, it's well deserved. He's a mischievous crazy-pants like that ALL. THE. TIME.
But I digress! Didn't the shirt turn out adorable? I just love it! The Dude looks like we bought his shirt from Toddler Urban Outfitters (which is actually where I got my inspiration). If you want to learn how to make your own knit t-shirt pattern from an existing shirt, and how to sew it together, keep reading! This is a super easy and quick project once you get it down. I actually sewed not one but seven shirts assembly line style during the making of this tutorial, and it only took me about three hours total!
I started by making my own pattern out of a shirt that he already has, and fits him great, and I used some giant craft paper:
To make the pattern, I started by folding the shirt in half and laying it on the paper:
Trace the shirt front and add about 1/4 inch for seam allowance on the edges, and about 1 inch on the bottom for a hem:
Then do the same with the sleeve, adding about a 1 inch seam allowance for a hem after you trace it:
After tracing the front, trace the back. Make sure when you're tracing the front and the back of the shirt you make the front of the collar a little bit lower then the back!
Cut out your pattern pieces, you should have a total of three:
Lay your pattern onto your jersey (or in my case, Daddy's old t-shirt) and pin it down. Make sure you lay it down on the fold, since when you traced your shirt it was folded:
When you cut your fabric and lay it out, you should have a piece that looks like this:
Now you'll cut out your sleeves. If you're using an old t-shirt you can just use the sleeves and skip doing a hem on your sleeve pieces:
Cut your your sleeves pieces, you'll need to do two:
An important note! Use your seam ripper and take the ribbing off of the old t-shirt if you're using one, you can re-use it for the neck ribbing on your new little t-shirt. If you're using jersey but not an old t-shirt just cut out a strip that is 1 1/2 inches by about 7 inches long:
I went a little crazy with cutting out pattern pieces. I've been hoarding my husband's old t-shirts for about 10 years now it seems like , so I actually cut out all seven different t-shirt pattern pieces at once. I knew that I wanted to mix and match in order to get that patched, funky look. Before you start the next step, you should take the time to sew hems into any pieces of your patterns that need hemming. Just simply fold over the bottom of your fabric 1 inch and sew down using a zig-zag stitch, then you should have your pieces ready to go:
Sew your front t-shirt piece to the back at the shoulders, using a zig-zag stitch. I chose to use different fabric colors and patterns for the front ant the back for some extra funkiness. Make sure you trim these seams really well, extra bulk will make them look really weird:
Lay your shirt piece out flat, with the wrong sides facing up, and pin your sleeves pieces into the shoulders, also with the wrong side facing up:
Sew in your sleeve using a zig-zag stitch. You'll want to trim this edge down really well because if you leave extra fabric along the shoulder seam it will look really funny:
Fold your t-shirt back over so that it looks like an actual t-shirt again, with the wrong side of the fabric still facing out and the right sides facing each other (or "in"). Pin along both sides all the way from the hem to the end of the sleeves, then sew the sides together with a zig-zag stitch:
Last, you'll put in your collar. Take your ribbing salvaged from your scrap t-shirt, or your 1 1/2 inch by 10 inches strip of fabric you cut out. If you're using a strip of fabric, you'll need to fold it in half. Pin it all the way around the unfinished neck of your t-shirt to make the collar:
You will have some length left over on both sides of your strip once you're done pinning. Just match it up at the shoulder seam and you'll sew this down in a minute:
Sew all the way around your collar with a zig-zag stitch, and then match up the ends of your collar and sew them together with a zig-zag stitch as well:
Now you're done! You should now have a finished t-shirt that looks as patched and funky as this one:
Or you know, you could also make a totally normal t-shirt too! I'm so happy with how it turned out. They fit him perfectly and the Dude now has some adorable new shirts that are really meaningful, because they were all made from Daddy shirts. And what kid doesn't love a good Daddy shirt?
I hope you guys had fun with this tutorial! If you're looking for more kid's sewing projects you can check out our kid's sewing page here. And as always if you made a shirt using this tutorial we'd love to see it!