the easy tee {simplest women’s t-shirt ever}


****Free pattern added in size L! Find it in this post***

I like easy sewing projects. I really like easy sewing projects that can be completed in one naptime (I always think through my to do list in how much of a naptime each item will take). Today’s project is the easiest t-shirt I know how to make. There are no set in sleeves, just a front, back, neck band, and hem band (and yes, adding a hem band is actually easier than just hemming most stretchy fabrics).

We all know by now that I also like non-muffin-top-revealing sewing projects, so this tee is cut to be roomy around the middle, but it’s very easy to customize for whatever fit you’d prefer.

learn the simplest way to make a women's tee with this easy to follow sewing tutorial - use the free pattern included or learn to make your own!

 

To make your own easy tee, you’ll want to start with a cap sleeve shirt that fits well so you can make your own pattern, like this: Fold your shirt in half and lay it on a large piece of paper (I use freezer paper because I have a hugemongous roll of it and it’s pretty wide). Trace a shape like the one you see below, using your cap sleeve tee as a general guide. Note that I added seam allowance along the top of the shoulder and added a couple extra inches in length and width. I also added plenty of extra room around the sleeve opening. (My pattern is now available in this post!)

Cut your shirt pieces out of knit (stretchy) fabric. One yard will probably be plenty since knit generally comes 54 inches wide. I used this white knit with gold dots from Girl Charlee. It’s quite thin and fairly see through so I have to wear a tank underneath, which is lame, but it’s also very pretty, which is nice.

Cut two of your pattern on the fold. You’ll want the neckline of your front piece to scoop down a little lower than the back piece (use your well-fitting tee as a guide here).

You’ll also want to cut two rectangles on the fold just below your pattern pieces – they should be as wide as the bottom of your shirt pieces and 4 inches tall. And finally you’ll also need one long rectangle, 28 inches wide and 1.5 inches tall (it should stretch along the width). Begin putting your shirt together by laying the front and back pieces RST and sewing across the shoulders. Oftentimes knit tees have reinforced shoulders to keep that top seam from getting all stretched out. I simply sewed across the shoulders twice and that seams to be sufficient for now – my fabric is so lightweight that it’s not getting stretched out. (If you’re interested in why/how to reinforce shoulders, check out this post.)

Next you’ll want to sew the side seams. When you are sewing the curved area under the arms it’s a good idea to give the fabric a pretty good stretch as you sew, as this area will need to stretch when you’re wearing the shirt. I sewed along the curve twice as well. Press your seams open and try on your shirt. If needed, take it in on the sides or cut a lower front neckline. Once it fits well, hem the sleeves by turning under 1/4 inch twice and sewing with a slight zigzag or double needle. This can be tricky if your knit is very stretchy. I found I had to stabilize the armholes with a piece of paper under the fabric as I sewed in order to get a nice looking hem on the sleeves (and then I had to pick the paper out of the zigzag afterwards). Next it’s time to bind the neckline with your long rectangle piece, which we’ll call ribbing. Measure around your shirt’s neckline and subtract about 4 inches, then cut your ribbing to that length (mine ended up being 24 inches long and 1.5 inches tall).

Fold the ribbing in half lengthwise and press. Find the middle of your ribbing and pin it to the middle of the front neckline on the shirt, matching raw edges. Pin ribbing around neckline, stretching the ribbing slightly each time you pin. When you reach the shoulders you’ll want to open up the short ends of the ribbing and sew them together RST, then continue pinning the ribbing to the back of the shirt. Adjust if needed so the ribbing is evenly distributed around the neckline. You’ll see that the shirt is bunched up a little bit (photo 3), so when you start to sew you’ll need to pull gently so the material lays flat as it goes under your machine. Use a slight zigzag here so the neckline has some give once it’s sewn together. Press the neckline ribbing flat and your shirt will look like this:

Now, if you want, you could leave the bottom edge of your shirt raw and unhemmed for a casual look. I almost wish I’d done so – I kind of like how it looks in this photo. You can also simply turn up the bottom and hem, but getting a nice looking hem can be very tricky with super stretchy fabrics (there are lots of good tutorials out there though, so if you’d prefer to just hem google hemming knits). I think it’s easiest to just finish the bottom with a hem band. Grab the last two pieces we cut out.

Lay them RST and sew together along each short edge as shown. Decide if you want them hem band to hang past your hips or sit on top of them – I wanted mine to sit on my hips so I took it in a few inches. Then fold it in half lengthwise, right side out, and press. You can see in the 3rd photo here that my shirt is now wider than my hem band. Slide the hem band up over the shirt, matching up the raw edges, and sew them together. If your shirt is wider than your hem band, like mine, you’ll need to pin it on and stretch slightly while sewing, just like you did with the neck ribbing. Flip the hemband down, press again, and your shirt is complete!

So now you know how to make a super simple, super basic tee. I have some ideas for customizing this look a bit which I’ll be sharing in the next few weeks. Thanks for reading! Find the other Easy Tee posts here:

 

Comments

  1. 1

    carole kus says

    Brilliant t-shirt love the fabric, just my sort of style and I would love to receive the pattern for download,
    PRETTY PLEASE!

  2. 4

    Dee says

    Yes, please upload your pattern! Every time I try tracing around a shirt I own my new shirt comes out too small. Needless to say, my oldest daughter has a lot of shirts that were meant for me.

  3. 5

    Ellen Davis says

    Love that this is so easy to make – well, you make it look easy. Yes, pretty please upload the pattern, I’d certaining use it. Thnaks for sharing your talent!

  4. 6

    Caprice says

    Your tutorial seems so simple, but I don’t sew! Soooo, can you make me a couple and send them to me? how about as an early birthday present? That would be so nice of you. You’re such a great sister. I’m the luckiest little sis ever. Oh, and I’m probably your size. And by the way, you looks so good in one of those shots of you in the shirt! Miss you!

  5. 8

    kimberlee says

    Great way to make a t-shirt. I love easy to sew projects especially for summer. Also, thanks for sharing the fabric place – I found a new internet source for fabric I have never heard of.

  6. 9

    dm says

    I would love to make some t-shirts. I am wondering where to look to buy knit fabric. Most places I have looked only have stiff, fleece and silky. I prefer to go to a store in person rather than online, but can do online if it is the best or only option.

  7. 10

    autumn says

    I have a terrible time finding nice knits at fabric stores, so I order most of my knit fabric from Girl Charlee. I too would much prefer to feel it first, but they have good prices and will send you a few swatches for free, and their selection of knits is MUCH nicer than what you’ll find at Joanns. I also use upcycled knits from thrifted men’s tees fairly often – check back on Friday for an easy tee made from thrifted t-shirts. Thanks for reading!

    • 11

      says

      I Love Love Love this pattern and idea!! I hot quizo ( a pub trivia game) so I end up wit ha ton of not-quite-fit-for-me tees and this is great! Thank you!

  8. 15

    Aby says

    Hi, i love your patterns !, thanks for sharing, But i have a problem, i am medium or small size, how can i fix it, width?
    thanks a lot

    • 16

      autumn says

      Hi Aby! You can either trace your own pattern using a fitted tee – look at the picture in the post that shows how I traced mine and try to get the same shape – OR you can use my pattern and take out some width by placing the center part of the pattern past the fold in your fabric an inch or two (just remember you’re taking out 2x the amount of width by doing that). If you use the 2nd method, you’ll then need to cut the neckline a little wider because it will end up too small. Let me know if you give it a try! (Maybe someday I’ll get the pattern graded into different sizes, but for now it can at least give you an idea of what the shape looks like.)

  9. 21

    Michelle B says

    Just made my first easy tee today..I LOVE it! I see many more in the future! Thanks for sharing this great pattern!!

  10. 22

    Mandy Buell says

    Thank you so much for this pattern. I just stitched one up during nap time. I really appreciate you sharing all these tuts.

  11. 24

    LaPrieL says

    Here is my shirt I made out of a woven. I didn’t get the neck trim right, but it makes a fun casual shirt. I added 1″ to the sleeve length and side widths. I also added cuffs to the sleeve. The hem is slightly lower in the back. I cut the front to the banded length and the back to the regular length. I made the slimmer version.

  12. 26

    Jennifer Dewald says

    I just made my first shirt using your pattern and I am in LOVE! I used one of my husband’s unwanted t-shirts. I would recommend going up to a XXL to avoid including the sleeves from the original shirt. Thank you so much for sharing the pattern. It’s simply the most flattering shirt I have had on in a long time. Now I’m on the hunt for cheap thrift store shirts to makeover. You’re awesome!

  13. 29

    Pat Hurdle says

  14. 30

    Corrine norton says

    Love this- thanks so much for posting. I’m buying a serger, so I needed a simple pattern that looks great and this fits the bill!

  15. 32

    says

    Hi! I’m confused about how you do the neckline ribbing. I looks like you’re sewing it to the main body by first lining up the raw ends of the rubbing, and the raw ends of the tee/body neckline. How do you make it look like there aren’t raw ends of the fabric showing? Are sewing around the inside and outside of the ribbing so both sides stay down?

    Oh wait, did you stitch along the raw ends, and then flip the ribbing up, and press it to lay flat?

    Thanks! Sometimes I find patterns so conceptually confusing until I wrap my mind around them!

    • 33

      autumn says

      Yes, you’re right! You do sew the raw edges, then flip the ribbing up and press it flat – you got it!

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  22. 50

    minal says

    Hey I just loved your pattern of the collar. But I am pretty new to sewing and stitching.
    Is there any video tutorial which I see and follow?

    Please help.

  23. 51

    Diana Stiefer says

    Cute T, Thanks for sharing. For those who have trouble with stretch fabric, they make a foot for the sewing machine that will keep the fabric from stretching while you sew.

  24. 52

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  25. 53

    Desri says

    I’m a beginner for sure, but these shirts are way too cute not to try. Would you mind explaining what you mean by cutting on the stretch, like for the neckline? Thanks so much!

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  27. 55

    Heather Clark says

    A great hem technique for stretch fabrics is to use iron-on hem webbing which glues the hem up then twin stitch for a professional look. No need for overlocking or double turn up as stretch fabric does not fray.

  28. 56

    Kathleen says

    Your pattern is great! I’ve looked high and low for a t-shirt pattern that is not super fitted and not boxy, and still looks nice; this is it! Thank you for sharing!!

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  34. 69

    kelsie says

    thanks so much for this! Love it! I’ve already printed out the 3/4 raglan sleeve shirt! I’ve created one of my own, but was looking for a more precise pattern and this is it! Thanks so much!!!!

  35. 70

    Rachel says

    I’ve barely ever sewn in my life, never attempted anything other than straight lines but I just made this tee and it’s perfect! Thanks for the pattern, I’m going to be busy making lots of these!!

Trackbacks

  1. […] (I used my raglan sleeve easy tee pattern and took it in along the sides. You can print it out in size L. If you’re smaller than that, you’ll want to trace a tee to make your own pattern, like you can see in this post.) […]

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