How to Sew A Shirt: Your Easy to Follow Guide

Let’s be honest… most of the time, we’re going to get our shirts from the rack and do our best to style them based upon our needs.

However, there are many reasons you may want to know how to sew a shirt.

For example, we all have different body types. Someone may have a shorter torso or rounder belly or broader shoulders or any of the many wonderful traits that make them truly unique. In this case you may be interested in a custom fit.

Or perhaps your uniqueness isn’t based upon your body type, but rather your personal style. You may want to sew a shirt as a way of personal expression.

Or, truthfully, you may simply sew your own shirt as a means of flexing your creative muscle and honing your sewing skills.

Whatever the reason, I’m delighted to walk you through the process of sewing your first t shirt or that custom button down and embarking on this creative journey together!

I love this video on how to sew a shirt by Lydia Namoi

Materials Needed

Before we start, let’s gather our materials. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Fabric: You might opt for a jersey knit, woven fabric, or even a unique gray fabric.
  • Pattern: Ensure your pattern fits both your size and style.
  • Sewing Machine: Essential for quick and neat stitches.
  • Measuring Tape: To ensure accurate measurements.
  • Tailor’s Chalk: For marking your fabric.

Preparation Steps

The key to a perfect shirt lies in the preparation. It’s not nearly as difficult as some of the projects I typically do (like this Rodarte Dress Dupe and this Agua Bendita Dupe). Here’s how to set the stage:

  1. Choose Your Fabric: Opt for a knit fabric if you’re aiming for a stretchy, casual t-shirt. For a more structured look, woven fabrics are ideal.
  2. Draft Your Pattern: Using your measurements, draft a t-shirt pattern or select a pre-made one. Remember to include seam allowances for a neat finish.
  3. Cut Your Pattern Pieces: Lay your fabric flat, trace your pattern pieces with tailor’s chalk, and cut them out.

Sewing Process

Now, the fun part begins! Follow these steps for a seamless sewing experience:

  1. Shoulder Seams: Start by aligning the shoulder seams of your front and back shirt pieces. Use a straight stitch for a sturdy finish.
  2. Attach the Sleeves: Align the sleeve head with the shoulder seam and sew. Repeat for the other sleeve.
  3. Side Seams: With right sides together, sew the side seam, starting from the sleeve edge down to the bottom edge of the shirt.
  4. Neckline: Sew the neck binding to the neck hole, ensuring a snug fit. For a clean finish, use a zigzag stitch or stretch stitch.
  5. Hemming: Fold the bottom edge and sleeves inward and sew using a straight stitch or double needle for a professional look.

Finishing Touches

Once your shirt is sewn, it’s time for the final touches:

  • Check the Fit: Try on your shirt and make any necessary adjustments.
  • Add Embellishments: Personalize your shirt with embroidery, patches, or any design of your choice.
Sewing Therapy has a great tutorial on how to sew a button down shirt from scratch

Care and Maintenance

To ensure your handmade t-shirt lasts, always wash it in cold water and lay flat to dry. Avoid harsh chemicals and iron on low heat.


What stitch to use for shirt seams?

The choice of stitch for shirt seams depends on the fabric type and the desired finish. For most woven fabrics, a straight stitch is commonly used due to its strength and simplicity. Zigzag stitches are ideal for knits and stretch fabrics, allowing the seams to stretch without breaking. For delicate fabrics like chiffon and silk, French seams provide a clean and elegant finish. Meanwhile, flat-felled seams are sturdy and often used in casual or denim shirts. Ultimately, consider the fabric and shirt style to select the most suitable stitch for your project.

How hard is it to sew a shirt?

Sewing a shirt’s difficulty level depends on the shirt’s complexity and your sewing experience. Simple T-shirts are relatively easy, making them great for beginners. Button-up shirts with collars and cuffs can be more challenging due to their details. Dress shirts or blouses, especially with intricate tailoring, require advanced sewing skills.


And there you have it—a shirt sewn from scratch, infused with your personal touch! The joy of wearing something you’ve crafted is unparalleled. I encourage you to experiment, play with designs, and most importantly, have fun.

If you liked this article or projects like this, please follow me on Instagram and YouTube for more images and videos of my work. It means the world to me and is free!

Also, if you’ve not already, please sign up for my email newsletter to get free patterns, updates on my latest posts, and more from me straight to your inbox!

As always, thank you so much for reading, and happy sewing!

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