How to Sew a T-shirt

DIY Tutorial on How to Sew a T-shirt by Melly Sews

After a reader comment on this post, I realized that though I have shared how to make a t-shirt pattern and multiple variations you can add to t-shirts, I never covered how to sew a t-shirt together. So today I’m remedying that.

To make a basic t-shirt, start with a front, back, two sleeves and a neckband. Note: You DON”T need a serger to do this. I sewed t-shirts for years using my 1950s Singer 503 and a zig-zag stitch. Now that I have a serger I prefer it, but again, you don’t have to have one.

how to sew a t-shirt

Place the front and the back right sides together and sew one shoulder.

how to sew a t-shirt


Open up the shirt and pin the neckband in, stretching it from shoulder to shoulder. Be careful not to stretch the t-shirt, just the neckband. Stitch it in.

how to sew a t-shirt

how to sew a t-shirt

Sew the other shoulder and neckband together in one seam, making sure to match the neckline seam and to press the neckline seam allowance up.

how to sew a t-shirt

Pin in the sleeves by placing them right sides together on the shirt. Line up the top center of the sleeve with the shoulder seam, then pin the ends of the sleeve to the end of the armhole, then ease the rest of the sleeve into place. Stitch.

how to sew a t-shirt

how to sew a t-shirt

Fold the shirt right sides together and sew the underarm seam and the side seam in one (red line).

how to sew a t-shirt

Fold the neckband to the inside of the shirt, covering the neckband seam, and pin. Use a zig-zag stitch on the right side of the neckline to stitch in place.

how to sew a t-shirt


If desired, hem the sleeve edges and bottom edge – though you don’t have to – knits don’t ravel. I prefer to hem with a twin needle; you can find more about that here.

For t-shirt patterns, I have a free one in this post for children sizes 2-4. For women’s sized t-shirts, there’s a free pattern here. For some fun variations on t-shirts that come with free patterns, hover over my Sewing Tab in the menu bar and choose “Free Patterns” from the drop down menu.

Want to mix up your t-shirt? Try any of these variations:

Raglan Sleeves
Reverse Applique

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  1. Tammy says

    Great neckband tip, I have made only a couple of tees but always did the neckband last and struggled to get a tidy finish. I will definitely be trying your way!

  2. AG says

    Agree – great neckband tip. Quick ques (or if you dont mind doing a tut) – how do you measure the ribbed knit for neckband?

  3. says

    Great tutorial! I’m still scared of knits, but maybe someday I’ll get up the courage to make a t-shirt. What is the neckband material? Is it just a wider ribbed knit? I am so unfamiliar with the different types of knits. I’m about to search your site for more info!

  4. Kimberly says

    Wonderful tutorial!!! Easy enough for even a beginner like myself…and when I say “beginner”, I’m talking first-shirt-I’ve-ever-sewn beginner. That’s how great of a tutorial it is, so thank you so much for sharing!!

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