Today I’m going to show you how to make a basic t-shirt pattern based off of a t-shirt you already have. If you read all the way through the post, there is also a sample pattern you can download that fits sizes 2T-4T.
This tutorial is the first of three parts – I’m going to show you the basic principal of rub-off pattern making with a boys t-shirt, then the second part will be how to alter that pattern, so I can show you how I made the Bean’s Baby V-Neck T-shirt, and the third part will be a tutorial of making a pattern from a blazer - a lot more complicated.
Also, if you have a kid in sizes 2-4T and just want a free pattern to start with, scroll all the way to the bottom of this tutorial.
Let’s get started. You will need:
- Large Paper – this can be kraft paper, butcher paper, medical exam table paper or even just printer paper taped together.
- Garment to copy
- A large piece of cardboard – this can be any large piece of cardboard, I just like this one because it folds up and stores neatly.
- A ruler, preferably a clear quilting ruler
- A measuring tape
First, lay your paper on the cardboard. Then you want to draw perpendicular lines on the paper. This is where the clear ruler comes in handy – you can use it to make sure you’ve got a 90 degree angle.
Next, fold your t-shirt in half, front sides out. We’ll be making the pattern for the front first. Make sure you have the side seams (if there are any) together, and have matched the sleeve and shoulder seams. I pin the shirt in half to make sure. Next, line up the center front of the shirt with your vertical line, and line up the hem with your horizontal line. Stick a couple of pins all the way through the shirt into the cardboard to hold it in place.
So far, so good. Here’s where the rub-off method comes in – using pins pushed all the way through into the cardboard, outline the sleeve seam and the collar seam – the two seams you can’t trace easily since there is other fabric in the way. You could fold up the shirt some more to see these seams to trace, but it wouldn’t be as precise. It would work fine to do it that way for an easy garment like a t-shirt, but when we do something more complicated, like the blazer, that won’t work. Your garment should look like this:
Remove those pins and you will have a pinpricked outline of the curved seam. By connecting the dots with a pencil, you can draw in the seam.
- Subscribe to the Melly Sews Weekly Newsletter. AFTER you sign up, you’ll get a confirmation email – and you have to confirm or my email service can’t send you the free pattern. But once you do confirm, you’ll get access to not just this but several other free patterns. Woot!
- Download the pattern through Craftsy (affiliate link). If you aren’t a member of Craftsy you will be asked to sign up in order to access the pattern.
(PS – if you have trouble finding either your confirmation email or the email with the pattern link, try checking your spam, trash, junk, bulk, social and/or promotional email tabs or folders. Free pattern links are also included in every weekly newsletter; these go out on Friday afternoons. Due to the number of subscribers I can’t email pattern links to individuals.)
More Rub Off Patterning Tutorials
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