If you have old tee shirts lying around the house and you’d like to make a free baby tee, this post is for you. All you need is a little over an hour of time, thread, and this free pattern.
As I’ve mentioned, we live on an island in Alaska with not many options for shopping. I suppose I could buy Littles a bunch of clothes at Wal-mart, but there isn’t much selection and I don’t like the idea of spending money on not-that-cute and cheaply made clothes when I have perfectly good fabric (read, “tee shirts”) here at home. It just seems wasteful and this mama doesn’t like to waste. BUT I do like to sew. I ended up sewing most of Little’s twelve month “wardrobe” (haha) from recycled adult clothes we already had.
If you feel the same, here is a pattern and tutorial for a twelve month size tee shirt which you can make from cotton stretch fabric or an old grown-up tee. Of course, if you have access to one of those wonderful large thrift stores where they sell baby t-shirts for 50 cents-1 dollar, go ahead and do that
instead as well.
One adult sized t-shirt
Thread….And that’s about it!
Lay the pattern out on top of the adult tee shirt. You can use the existing hem, or cut the shirt out of the middle.
Cut out the pattern. If your tee shirt’s design is too wide for the pattern, you have two options. You can either cut off the design or cut your tee shirt piece a little wider. As you can see, I chose to widen the shirt. In this case it’s important to make sure you cut the sleeve pieces a little bit wider as well.
Cut the existing ribbing/collar off the adult tee shirt. If you’re worried about making the ribbing too thin to be a collar for the baby tee, you can always unpick the stitches and remove it that way.
Using a stretch stitch or a serger, sew the shoulder seams and side seams.
+Tip: Instead of using a plain zig-zag stitch as my stretch stitch I like to use the blind hem stitch, which is a stretch stitch with straight stitches and zig-zag stitches. This makes it so that the points of the zig-zag stitch don’t show in your seam from the right side of the shirt. In order to do this, make sure that the points of the stitch are faced toward the seam allowance, or edge of the fabric, and the flat part of the stitch is along the seam.
Cut the ribbing you separated from the original shirt to a length of 15 inches. You can measure around the neck hole with a measuring tape if you want to double check. Sew the ends right sides together to create a neck band.
Attach the ribbing. With the shirt right sides out, pin or simple line up the edges right sides together. Sew or serge around the neck hole.
Sew the sleeves. Fold them in half with the right side in and sew the sleeve seams.
+Tip: I like to use the original hem of the tee shirt, but if you just sew your seams on top of the hem it can look sloppy and/or unprofessional. To avoid this I simply unpick 3/4 to 1 inch of hem on each side of the seam before sewing. Then, after sewing I can go in and hem that spot, imitating the stitches that were already there. It’s still not perfect, but I like it better.
Sew the sleeves to the shirt. With the shirt inside out and the sleeves right side out, pin the sleeve into the armhole with right sides together. Sew around the armhole.
Hem the tee shirt. You can use a stretch stich like I showed earlier, but I tend to not like the zig-zag stitch showing on my hem. If you’re more adventurous than me you could also use a double needle, I just haven’t tried one yet. My solution is….. a blind hem.
+Tip: How to sew a blind hem:
- Fold up your desired hem (for this pattern, 3/4 inches). Press
2. Fold the other way (like an accordion) and press with 1/8 to 1/4 inch fabric sticking out.
3. Set your sewing machine to the blind hem stitch. Use the stitch that looks the same as where this arrow is pointing. Don’t forget to also set your stitch width if you need to on your machine.
4. Sew down the hem so that the needle sews straight stitches onto the hanging-off-edge of the fabric and catches the fold of the fabric with the zig-zag stitch. Go slow so you don’t miss spots. The zig-zags are what will hold your hem together.
5. Press the hem back down to it’s regular spot. Here’s what it should look like:
Now, you’re done! Enjoy your new shirt. If you have any questions or favorite baby clothes to make, please let me know!
If you’d like to share your finished baby shirt with me, share on Instagram with #stitchesandsunflowers or post it on our facebook page. I’d love to see them!