Cloning a Favorite T-shirt

A girlfriend came over last week to do some sewing. She had a favorite t-shirt that she was convinced I could help her replicate. Thankfully, with the experiments I’ve made in the last year in the area of stretch sewing, I was pretty confident myself, so we set to.

First step was to trace the pattern of the old shirt onto the cloth of the new one. We folded the back of the shirt lengthwise down the middle jockeying the edges in place as we traced around.

We folded the sleeves out of the way to trace the arm holes. We then we traced the front of the shirt, adding about 3 inches of fullness at the neckline so we could add a few gathers.

The fabric she chose had about the same stretchiness as the original t-shirt, so we simply added 1/4 inch all the way around for seam allowances. If the fabric had not been as stretchy, I’d have added more ease to make sure the shirt had enough give to it.

Next we traced the sleeves, cut them out, and bound the edges with some scraps from my knit fabric stash. We stretched the binding as we sewed it on so the sleeve edges would be snug and not stretched out and wavy. We liked the little gathered effect on the cuff!

This photo shows the type of zig-zag stitch we used to construct the entire garment. First we did the shoulder seams on the shirt, then attached the sleeves. Next we bound the neckline with a thicker piece of contrast binding (after we had made our little gathers at the front of the neckline). Finally we sewed up the side seams and tried it on!

I have to say, it turned out pretty well, and my friend loved it. The best part was that we spent all of 1 1/2 hours on it, and next time could probably cut that time in half, ’cause we know what we’re doing. That’s my favorite part about sewing with knits – you can get a project done before the kiddos lose interest in their movie! 🙂

If you need a bit more info to equip you to clone your own t-shirt, this is the book to get. Just think – in an hour, with a couple dollars worth of fabric (my friend bought a yard and we used all of it), you can make what might be your favorite shirt of the summer!

Next week – cloning your favorite knit dress from an old t-shirt!

6 responses to “Cloning a Favorite T-shirt”

  1. Anonymous Avatar

    I have not been here enough . I plan on changing that . i love the teeshirt clone tips. we all have a favorite teeshirt!<3 babz

  2. Trina Avatar

    Belle, what a thrifty idea for a warm winter coat!

    Persuaded – it's a matter of trying and trying again – I don't post pics of the shirts that have turned out to be duds, but there have been lots! Keep trying!

    Yes, Shell, that was Claire. 🙂 If you are ever out this way, you should stop in and spend a day. It would be fun to reconnect.

  3. matt and shell Avatar
    matt and shell

    Oh my goodness! Love it ! You did an awesome job! Such a cute shirt, I want one now! I am goona come spend a week with you !! think of how much I could learn!!!
    Oh , is that Clair that you made the shirt for??

  4. Kateri Avatar

    That turned out beautifully!

  5. Belle Avatar

    What a great job you did! Love it. I have done the same thing with lining jackets. I needed a winter jacket and all the ones I liked were $200 but I found a fall jacket I loved. I removed the lining, bought some fuzzy, warm fabric and used the old lining as a guide. It was the warmest winter jacket I have ever had. I wore it for years.

  6. Miki Avatar

    Trina, you are so talented! I have tried making things from existing garments but my results have been… less than stellar, shall we say. yeah. That is a very cute tee… love the little gathers especially♥

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