Thursday, August 16, 2012

Shirred Cap Sleeve T-shirts

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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.

tea cap sleeve top 

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.


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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.

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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.

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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:

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Here’s another version in hot pink—lengthened quite a bit to be worn as a dress, with leggings, or jeans.

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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.



Knit fabrics used: apple print and the pink dot print are from Girl for the bumble bee print and the mint gingham.

Happy sewing,

cynthia logo


Lani said...

You did an amazing job on the shirts!! So adorable. And the fabric selection is so cute. Great job and love this tutorial. Thank you so much!

Stephanie said...

I love this shirt!! I think I am going to make a bunch for my Annie and possibly try to make matching Christmas jammies for both my girls. Since we live in Arizona, we need cool clothes all winter. Thanks for the great pattern!

Mary said...

What sweet girls you have! They make a cute shirt even better.

Does your boy get homemade clothes too?

Ilene said...

So, so cute.

Unknown said...

your tutorial was so good i'm actually thinking of maybe attempting it... (thats saying ALLOT! i'm still scarred from trying to make shorts with you and Angie in High School which is saying more about MY LACK of abilities than of your awesomeness of coarse!) we shall see...

Justine of SewCountryChick said...

Hi Cynthia. This is fun project! I love working with knits too. I'm following now!

Anonymous said...

I love Tea clothing for my daughter and your knockoff tees are adorable! These could easily be turned into dresses just by lengthening the pattern.

midnight hysteria said...
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midnight hysteria said...
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midnight hysteria said...

oook ... now that i have this straightened out ... the pattern i d/ld is size 12 ... did i miss something when you said you did both a 10 and 12?? i know i'm being a pest, but i'm just wondering ....


Cynthia said...

hi darlene,
i might have said 10 or 12. Either way, it doesn't matter. both sizes are the same width, just make them longer or shorter depending on the height of the child. sorry for confusing you. :) cynthia

Julia Griffey said...
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Julia Griffey said...

Hi - Love your designs, blog, tutorials, etc... (I have actually purchased a few of your designs which are fantastic. Anyway - I just made this shirt based on your pattern and tutorial. It was great. I even integrated my own peace sign machine embroidery design.
Check out my version of this awesome shirt.
Thanks for the tutorial and inspiration!


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