Have you seen the kids clothing over at Tea Clothing.? I purchased many of their t-shirts and dresses recently. And when one of them arrived I knew it would be super easy to knock-off and make loads for the girls. We have this exact blue top, seen below, ain’t it cute? Love their stuff and recommend them whether you sew or not.
I traced the above t-shirt, added a seam allowance, and have been making some cute Ts for the girls’ back-to-school wardrobe.
I think what makes this top is the shirred waist line. Five rows is all you need to give that cinched feminine look. Shirring is really easy. You just need to hand wind elastic onto your bobbin and sew rows across the shirt. Follow this tutorial over at Ruffles & Stuff.
And of course, use clear elastic for a simple fold over neckline. Read this post for more about clear elastic.
On the above apple shirt I used a lengthened zig-zag for the neckline. On the bumble bee shirt below I used a special stitch for knits on my sewing machine.
So here’s how you make the shirt:
Step #1—Cut out a front and back for your shirt using this pattern, on the fold. The pattern I created is for big girls—mine are ages 8 and 12 but it shouldn’t be hard to shrink it down for little ones or trace an existing t-shirt that fits your girl. You’ll need to tape the three pages together on the dotted lines. The pattern on the right is full size and the pattern on the left shows how you’ll need to tape it together. The scanned pattern is off a little, as you can see in this ph0to, but I think you’ll be able to use it just fine by evening out the lines that didn’t scan. It’s a knit t-shirt after all and not a fitted corset. I’ll teach you how to make a corset in another post. I’m kidding. Never.
2—Sew the shirt together at just one of the side seams as seen below. I used my serger but you can also use a zig-zag stitch. I go back and forth between loving the serger and preferring my machine. Doesn’t matter—knits don’t ravel so a serger isn’t necessary. Just nice.
3—Mark just the top line for shirring using tailors chalk, a tracing wheel and tracing paper, or a washable fabric pen.
4—Sew five rows of shirring elastic, with elastic thread in the bobbin, using this tutorial over at Ruffles & Stuff.
5—This is how the shirt will look after you have done the shirring. Cute already!!
6—Now you need to reinforce your shoulders on the back piece (or front, doesn’t matter) with interfacing, as explained in this blog post. Sew your shoulders seams together and then sew the other remaining side of the shirt, as seen below.
7—Finish the neckline by turning under 3/8” and sewing a zig-zag stitch all the while “sandwiching” clear elastic between the fabric. It was hard to photograph but maybe you can see the elastic below with the arrow pointing to it.
8—Finish the armholes and the bottom hem. I like to either use heavy duty spray starch to iron the hem in place before sewing or use steam-a-seam, as explained in this great blog post if your fabric is very flimsy, thin, or hard to manage, as when using lycra knits. All done!!!
This is how the neckline and shoulder seam looks from the inside.
Here’s the bottom hem done with a zig-zag:
Here it is on my cute daughter:
Here’s another version in hot pink—lengthened quite a bit to be worn as a dress, with leggings, or jeans.
Fast and easy. I can make the top in about 30 minutes now. I’m gonna make loads more as the first two months of school are still blazing hot. And once fall comes these will look great with a cardigan.