I know I can't be the only one with a favorite t-shirt; one that fits just right all over. I don't even remember where I got it and the printed on label can't be read any longer. So, what do you do? You copy it of course! The fit isn't the same as when you draft something from your exact measurements but it doesn't have to be to fit well. I actually knocked this t-shirt off two or so years ago, made a few t-shirts and then accidentally threw the pattern away when moving into my new sewing studio. So, in this post, I'm going to show you How to Draft a T-Shirt from your Favorite T-Shirt. I'll be helping you all out and myself at the same time.
All you need are some basic supplies for this. You should already have most, if not all of it.
- Pattern drafting paper or art paper. You can even use a brown paper bag
- Pencil and eraser
- Tape Measure
- T-shirt you want to copy
Drafting on the Fold
When working with knit fabric I find it easier to work with a full pattern piece instead of one that needs to be placed on a fold. For the t-shirt, we'll draft the pattern pieces on a folded paper so that when we open the paper up we have a pattern piece that can be placed on one single layer of knot fabric.
Drafting the Front of the T-Shirt
Begin by ironing the shirt and then folding it in half and pressing. This will make working with the shirt easier. Don't forget to iron the neckband and sleeves.
- Place the creased edge of the shirt along the folded edge of the paper. Smooth out any wrinkles.
- Trace the top shoulder, hem and side seams with your pencil
- Using a tracing wheel trace the seam line of the neckband and where the sleeve attaches to the bodice of the shirt
- Trace over the marking made by the tracing wheel with a pencil
- Now add in the hem and seam allowance (I suggest ½" for the neck and sleeve and ⅝" for the shoulder seam and side seam.)
- Cut out your front section and label.
Drafting the Back of the T-Shirt
Again, fold your paper in half longways.
- Place the front piece (folded in half) you made on the folded edge of the paper.
- Working from the back of your t-shirt now line up the creased center point along the center of the paper just like before
- Line up the shoulder seam.
- With your tracing wheen trace the neckband seam and then follow the line with your pencil
- Move your shirt and now trace around the front section pattern piece to create the remaining lines. You don't have to add in a hem or seam allowance because they were added to the front section.
- Cut out your back section and label
Drafting the Sleeve of the T-Shirt
Again, fold the paper in half.
- Smooth out any wrinkles and align the edges of your sleeve
- Place the top section of the sleeve (where your shoulder would be) against the fold.
- Trace around the underarm seam and edge of the sleeve. If you want to make it longer this is where you would do that.
- Using your tracing wheel mark the seam wheel like we did on the other seams and then trace over it with a pencil.
- Add in a ½" seam allowance
- Cut out your sleeve and label
Drafting the Neckband of the T-Shirt
Fold your paper in half making sure it's long enough to accommodate the neck measurement. 2" wide is usually a good measurement for a neckband.
- Line the neckband up and measure it from one side to the other. The length will depend on how deep of a scoop the band has.
- Draft the neckband on the fold of the paper.
- The band should be 2" wide X length.
- The 2" wide includes seam allowance.
- Cut out your neckband and label.
Once you have all of your pattern pieces drafted and cut out you're ready to cut out your fabric and sew up the t-shirt. If your not yet comfortable with working with knit fabric or sewing garments I'll be showing you how after we draft a t-shirt from measurements.