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A New Top For Me, Plus Tips on How to Make a Pattern From a Shirt

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Have you ever wanted to learn how to make a pattern from a shirt already in your closet? It is actually very easy and today I have a few tips on how to draft a pattern from a t-shirt!

I’ve had this t-shirt/top project on the back burner for a while.  

I have been wanting to try to make a pattern from one of my favorite tops but kept putting it off.  (I even have a nice little collection of solid knits just for me.)

I don’t have any problem making patterns up for my daughter. (She would look cute in a paper bag.)  Fitting me is a bit more challenging and I dislike wasting time, effort, and fabric on creating something for myself and then it not be flattering.

The Made by Rae Spring Top Challenge finally motivated me to get going on a top for myself.  I originally wanted to make this top from the Burda website, but something is wrong with their site and  I couldn’t get through the checkout process.  (I will make that top someday, it is just too cute!)

Since I couldn’t make the Burda top, I decided to bite the bullet and make a pattern for myself.

I slightly regret my fabric choice because this fabric tends to pucker along the stripes after washing and I am not much for ironing.  

I bought several yards of this in 3 colors when it was on sale at Fabric.com.  (Who knew the fabric would pucker like that, it looked so pretty online. Fabric.com should add a customer review section on the fabrics to help customers know what they are getting.)  

I decided to test the project on this fabric since I would be upset if I had used one of the knits I have been saving and the project didn’t turn out.  (Murphy’s Law states that If I had used one of my more expensive fabrics, this project would have certainly been a disaster…)

I think it came out really cute, and I predict several variations of this shirt in my future.  This fabric curls at the cut edge like crazy (even with a hem.) so I decided to add binding to the neck, sleeves and bottom to finish the edges.

Want to try making your own pattern?

Tips to drafting a pattern from a favorite top:

1.  Start with something simple, the shirt I chose to base my pattern off of did not have a separate sleeve to trace.  It was just two pattern pieces. One for the front and one for the back. (To make it even easier, I only made one pattern piece from the back and then cut my front neckline directly onto the fabric.)

2.  Trace the entire top onto a piece of paper.  (The only paper I had that was large enough was gift wrapping paper.)

Hard to see, I know.  But you get the idea…

3.  When you are ready to cut the pattern out, find the middle point of the pattern and fold it in half.  Then cut the pattern out from one side.  This will ensure your pattern is symmetrical.

You can see where I drew in my seam allowances…

Oh, and I added a little bonus feature to this top as well.

A matching dress for my daughter!  

It may be cheesy, but guess what?  I’m cheesy and I am taking full advantage of my daughter not knowing any better and cheesing her out as well!

I made her dress using my tiered pillowcase tutorial.  Instead of making tiers, I just used my same bodice pattern and drew out a full A-line skirt onto the fabric.  I also made the tie slightly wider.  (The same width as my tie.)

(By the way, I took these pictures myself.  I used my new wireless remote and tripod.  These two items are essential for self-portraits!)

More matchy/matchy outfit ideas:

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  1. I like the band you put around the bottom. Did you add a separate piece of fabric or turn up the fabric and sew so the hem was on the outside?

    I think t-shirts are much more flattering with a bottom band.

    Your t came out great!

    1. Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom says:

      Thank you! The band is a separate piece of fabric that I folded in half and attached kind if like the binding. Good luck!

  2. I love this design! The matching outfits are super cute too!! :]

  3. Michelle @ Michelles Tasty Creations says:

    I love this! I also love that you made a matching dress for your daughter. I followed you over from Sundae Scoop and I would like to invite you to share this, and any other posts, on my link party at http://www.michellestastycreations.blogspot.com. Have a great weekend.


  4. this looks adorable! I'm impressed — it's so hard to make for us when kids clothing can be so forgiving to make! Great job. 🙂

  5. Trish - Mom On Timeout says:

    Just pinned this for when I learn how to sew. Super cute and I love the matching dress – cheese it up my friend!

  6. I love the matching outfits. Thank you for sharing at Sharing Saturday!! I hope you are having a great week!!

  7. Crafty Cousins says:

    I love it, and the colors are fabulous! I'd love for you to link it up to Crafty Cousins!Natalie @ Crafty Cousins

  8. I just wanted to let you know that I featured this project on my blog today as a featured project at my *Get Creative* linky party. I co-hosted last week with {Wow Me} Wednesday at Ginger Snap Crafts, and I found your project there.
    You can find your feature, a brag button, and a creative linky party here…

    Thanks so much!

  9. This is great, I love how you were able to make almost matching tops for you and your daughter. I would love if you would share this and any other posts at my link party: Showcase Your Talent Thursday

  10. Mandy @ Sugar Bee Crafts says:

    Thanks so much for linking to Take-A-Look Tuesday – you were featured today!

  11. Jeff N Julie says:

    You do fabulous work, I love the fabric and you look incredible in it! Thanks for sharing! I would love to do this with my girls! Julie(the letter 4's mom)

  12. Kaysi @ Keeping it Simple says:

    I love this!!!

  13. That is an adorable shirt. And it looks so easy. Thanks for sharing.

  14. Carrie @ My Favorite Finds says:

    I love the matching outfits! Super adorable. Thanks for sharing at Handmade Tuesdays.

  15. That's such a cute shirt! Perfect for summer! I would love for you to share this at my link party

  16. Our House Story says:

    Very cute! Great lesson in adapting patterns to create your own masterpiece! Thanks for sharing!

  17. Cathy @ My 1929 Charmer says:

    Love you matching shirts/dress. I like the angled stripes, and its great you make something for your self. I love my serger too, and it can be dangerous when you are tired and it sucks in the material, and you go OMG, but I do love how it finishes the edges, more professional looking. Thanks for sharing your creative inspiration at Sunday's Best.

  18. Justine of SewCountryChick says:

    Love it! So fun to see you make yourself something cute! I love the stripes going in that direction.

  19. Bonnie and Trish @ Uncommon says:

    Ok. I love both the dress and the shirt! The shirt looks amazing on you! You are so talented!

    Take care,