It has been awhile since my last tutorial, but we completed the doll itself in the series of tutorials starting here. Now its time to dress those dolls! So today, I am offering a tutorial and pattern for a simple t-shirt that you can make using old t-shirts, or jersey fabric. The important thing is that you use fabric that has stretch, like t-shirt fabric, and this is a great way to upcycle old baby clothes!
Before I start the photo tutorial, here is the link to the PDF: 12inch t-shirt PDF final
You will want to print off your PDF at 100%, for it to fit your 10-12″ doll you made. This pattern allows for 1/4″ seam allowances, however if your doll is particularly fluffy, or you want a looser fitting shirt, you can add an extra 1/4 – 1/2″ seam allowance on the sides of the bodice and sleeves. If you do this, you will also want to allow for additional length on the waist band to match the bottom of the bodice. This girl was a fluffy girl, so her shirt is a little snug fitting but still cute!
A few tips for sewing with knits! It is not as scary as you think, in fact, knits are a very easy first sewing material. The edges do not have to be finished as the knit will not unravel or fray at the ends. You will want a ball point sewing needle on your sewing machine or serger. You will also want to be sewing with a stretch stitch. This is usually noted as a lightning bolt on your machine however, if you do not have this, you can use a narrow and short zig zag stitch.
Once you have printed off your pattern, cut out the pieces.
Now trace and cut your fabric out. Be sure to line the arrows up with the grain of the fabric (the opposite way of the stretch of the fabric).
Pin one side of your sleeve to the sleeve line on the bodice, right sides facing.
Repeat on the other side!
Using a serger or a tight zigzag or stretch stitch on your sewing machine, attach both sleeves at the pinned line. This shirt won’t need to be serged or have finished edges because the knit will not fray. However, serging is faster and gives a nice look if you happen to have access to one!
Once both sleeves are attached to the bodice piece, attach one sleeve side to the other bodice piece. Taking care that the fabric is right sides facing.
Sew or serge that sleeve line. This should give you only one sleeve edge that is not attached.
Now, take your neck band piece, and fold it, pressing to hold the fold. Once edge will be the folded finished edge and the opposite long edge will be raw.
Right sides facing, and raw edges together, begin sewing or serging your neck band onto the neck of the shirt. Once you start serging/sewing, begin pulling ONLY the neck band, to stretch it as it attaches. By pulling, you will have some leftover band at the end. You can trim this off.
Press the neck band so that the seam is downwards. You will see that the neckband was long enough when stretched to allow a little bit of overage on both sides.
Now that your neck band is attached, sew or serge the last sleeve edge.
You will now have a completed neck band, and all points of the sleeves are attached to the bodice.
Fold the end of your sleeves over 1/4 to a 1/2 inch and top stitch this down to give your sleeves a finished edge.
Now, fold your shirt in half so right sides are together, and the side seam can be formed. Pin the sleeve and side seam so that it does not slip when you sew or serge it.
Serge or sew the side seam. Be sure you caught the under arm area as this is a tricky spot!
Fold your waistband over and press it similar to the neck band. With right sides together and raw edges together, pin your waist band onto the bottom of your shirt. You do not want to stretch this band (unless you want a bubble shirt effect).
Serge or sew this band on, and press down so that the seam is going upwards on the inside.
Now line up and pin the other side of the shirt.
Finish this side seam, making sure the underarm is caught in the stitching!
Turn your shirt right side out!
Then try your shirt on! I hope you enjoyed this little tutorial and pattern – a tutorial for bottoms will be coming soon!