Ruffle T-Shirt Tutorial
First, pick your favorite t-shirt out of your closet. You are going to use it as your pattern. Fold the sleeves back inside the shirt and pin them there. You just want the shell of the shirt for your body pattern pieces. Lay it out over your fabric (mine is doubled over so I only have to cut once). You'll want to pay attention to the grain of your fabric and how it stretches - you want it to stretch side-to-side. I used a bamboo/cotton jersey knit fabric.
Cut around your t-shirt, leaving at least a 1/4 inch margin around all sides for seam allowance. Like so:
(p.s. pay attention to how the sleeves look on your store-bought shirt as they are pinned inside. This is how you will pin your fabric together later to attach the sleeves)
You should have two identical pieces. Take one of those pieces and fold it in half horizontally. It should look like this:
Cut your front neckline out of this folded piece. I like to do a scoop neck, but you can cut whatever neckline you want. If you are afraid of cutting too deep, just keep an eye on the bottom of the arm hole, which is approximately even with the middle of your bustline.
Ok, body pieces are ready for sewing. Now you need sleeves. Here is a template I use for my shirts. I have small/medium-ish sized arms. You'll have to adjust the template to fit your arms.
Please note that this template requires you to cut on a fold line - meaning you fold the fabric in half and line up the "fold line" side with the fold of the fabric. After you cut and unfold, you should have something that looks like this:
Cut two. :)
And we are ready to start sewing. Many of you expressed your fear of knits in the other post. They are not so scary. Use a ball-point jersey needle (this is absolutely necessary), and you'll be fine. A zig-zag stitch is helpful as well.
Pin your two body pieces, right sides facing together. Fold your sleeves in half, right sides together, and pin on the short side.
Using a 1/4 inch seam and a zig-zag stitch, sew
- each side of the shirt (DON'T sew the arm hole)
- the tops of each shoulder
- the seam on each sleeve
Here's where your seams will be:
Make sure you press all of your seams. It makes a huge difference in the finished product.
Next, hem both sleeves. With the sleeve inside out, fold the edge up 1/4 inch and press. Then fold again (about 1/4 inch, or more, if you want a wider hem) and press. Pin in place and sew in place. I still used a zig-zag stitch, so my sleeve would stretch.
Ok, this next part is the lazy measurer's guide to fit. A normal person would measure the arm hole and then cut the sleeve to fit, right? Not me. Too lazy. Instead, I make it fit by adding a little gather to the top of the sleeve.
First, sew a baste stitch (the longest straight stitch your machine will do) along the top arch of the sleeve. You don't need to sew all the way around, just across the middle will do. Leave long threads on both sides. Don't back-stitch, or it won't work! It will look like this:
Pull only the back thread, and the fabric will begin to gather. You suddenly have more feminine sleeves. :)
Now you'll need to attach the sleeves to your shirt. This was hard to photograph, so I'll do my best to explain.
Turn the body of your shirt inside out, and your sleeves right side out. Stuff the sleeve inside the shirt, lining up the raw edges of both pieces. The bottom seam of the sleeve will line up with the bottom seam of the arm hole. Start pinning where those seams align, and move up the arm hole on either side. The sleeve will be inside the shirt, just like when you were using your favorite t-shirt as a cutting pattern. Remember? ;)
When you get to the top of the arm hole, adjust the gathered top of the sleeve (either loosen or tighten the gather) so it all fits together well and finish pinning.
I sincerely hope that all made sense. Here's what it should look like:
Sew around the arm hole using a 1/4 inch seam and zig-zag stitch. Finish off the seam with another zig-zag along the edge, or using a serger.
Turn your shirt right side out, and what do you know ... it actually looks like a shirt!
This is a good time to actually try the shirt on. Do you like your neckline? If not, you can still trim it to the desired shape.
When you are satisfied, sew a little zig-zag stitch all the way around the edge.
Turn the shirt inside out again. Fold over approximately 1/4 inch around the entire neckline and press. Pin in place. Then sew it in place (I am still using a small zig-zag stitch here).
Now hem the bottom of the shirt the exact same way. You could also do a double fold hem, but this is faster, and I think looks just as good.
Your shirt is officially done, but stick with me if you want to add a ruffle.
Cut a long 1 1/2 inch strip of fabric to make the ruffle. It needs to be approximately 1 1/2 to 2 times longer than the circumference of your shirt's neckline, but I just eyeball it. Better too long than too short, because you can always trim it later.
Sew a zig-zag stitch all the way down each side, as close to the edge as possible. Then sew a basting stitch all the way down the center of the strip, leaving long threads on each end. Remember, no back-stitching on the baste stitch!
Pulling gently on the back thread only, carefully gather the strip of fabric into a ruffle.
Starting from the middle of the neckline on the back of the shirt, pin the ruffle to the neckline, right over where you hemmed it. You can adjust the tightness of the ruffle as you go, making sure it is consistently ruffly.
When you get back to the starting point, cut off any excess ruffle length, leaving just a little bit to fold under. Sew the ruffle in place using a straight stitch, following the baste stitch as a guide.
And that's it! See, sewing on knits is not so bad, right?
Sorry for the less-than-great finished shot (it actually does lay flat in front - oops). Maybe when the shirt reaches its intended recipient she will take a photo of how fabulous she looks in it. :)