How to Make T-shirts at Home: Step by Step Tutorial

The evolution of classy t-shirts has been impressive. The first t-shirt prototype was developed in the USA in the late 80s, and since then, it has gone through several transformations.

T-shirts are an essential garment that has found a place in every man and women’s heart and closet. A T-shirt is one of the most versatile garments. It creates a T-shape that helps you showcase your body in the most flattering way. 

This 100-year tradition began as a workwear staple and has become an ultimate style statement. You might be in love with your favorite store-bought t-shirt, which is hanging in your closet. What if we tell you that you could make a t-shirt just like that at home?

Want to learn “how to make t-shirts at home?” Then, you are landed in the right place. In this guide on how to make your own t-shirt, we will cover everything you need to know. 

Right from choosing the sewing fabric, cutting t-shirt pieces, and printing t-shirts at home, you will get a step by step tutorials. That too, without any jargon! Promise.

DIY How to Make T-shirts at Home

Making different types of clothes and accessories such as neckties, scarves, and bow ties is easy for beginners. If you learn to sew them in the past, then it is time to step up and try your hands on “how to make tee-shirts.”

Follow this section and tutorial step-by-step. Go slow, practice more, make mistakes and learn to make your own t-shirt at home. 

How to make t-shirts
Image Source: Stefano Intintoli On Unsplash

With this detailed guide, you will be on your way to adding handmade clothes to your wardrobe in no time. Don’t forget to personalize your handmade t-shirt with super easy and super custom woven labels and hang tags from the Superlabel store.

Here you go.

What Are the Supplies You Need to Make a T-shirt at Home?

Here’s a list of basic supplies you will need to begin your journey of how to make t-shirts at home.

Ruler

Pencil

Seam ripper

Tailor’s shears

Lots and lots of pins

Matching cotton thread

A fabric strip for the neck binding

Air erasable marker or Tailor’s chalk

Nice fitted t-shirt to make a pattern with

Plain paper roll to draw the pattern onto

Jersey cotton fabric – Approximately 1m x 2m

Once you collect all these required supplies, the next step is to choose an ideal fabric for making a t-shirt.

Which Fabric to Choose?

There are different types of fabric available in the market. Each fabric type has its own purpose and use.

Some prefer to wear cotton t-shirts since it is comfortable, and others prefer spandex, poly-cotton blend, linen, tri-blends, and different types of polyester fabric. The type of fabric you choose for making a t-shirt depends on your personal choice, but mid-weight jersey cotton fabric is preferable.

How to make your own t-shirt
Image Souce: Pinterest

Jersey cotton fabric is an all-rounder. It is stretchy, most comfortable, and easy to sew for beginners. Before buying a fabric, make sure you read the care labels. It will help you get the most out of a particular fabric.

Make a T-shirt Pattern

Rather than buying sewing patterns from the store, it is possible to make your own pattern. In the first attempt, you might not be able to get a perfect fit, but that’s okay. It happens.

If you reach the end of this guide and feel like your t-shirt is a little tight, then add some width to the pattern and follow the steps. Or, if the arms are too short, then add extra length.

The idea here is to help you make your own clothes. Refine the pattern as per your needs and try again and again. Don’t give up, and it’s simple.

Here are the steps you need to follow for “how to make customized t-shirts at home.”

How to make custom shirts
Image Source: Pinterest

Find the perfect fitted t-shirt from your wardrobe. Ensure the t-shirt is well fitted to the body, not too big, not too small.

Turn this t-shirt inside and lay it flat on a big plain paper. Start smoothing out the wrinkles and do not stretch or deform the shape.

Take a pencil and trace around the t-shirt edges. Cover the sides, back neckline, shoulders, and bottom area. Make sure you do not draw the arms. 

Now, fold the arms up and start drawing the lines of stitches that connect the arms with the body. By the end of this, you will end up getting a vest shape.

How to make t-shirts at home
Image Source: WeAllSew

You need to cut out the body part that you have just finished drawing at this stage. This will help you get the back piece of your t-shirt. You can use this pattern piece to get another identical piece, but you need to cut the neckline a little lower this time. 

Cut this entire body piece and consider it as the front side of your t-shirt.

Again, lay your t-shirt flat on plain paper to draw one of the sleeves. Start drawing all three edges of the flat sleeve and fold the sleeves to draw a curved seam line. With this, you will give half of your sleeve piece. 

How to make printed shirts
Image Source: Pinterest

Use it to complete the entire pattern and start drawing an opposite image of the sleeve shape. Once you have finished drawing the sleeve pattern, then cut it out.

Bonus tip: Do not forget to use labels to mark each t-shirt pattern piece. It will help you avoid confusion while cutting the pieces.

Cut Out Your T-shirt Pieces

Cutting your t-shirt pattern pieces is as important as sewing the t-shirt. At this stage of “how to make your own t-shirts at home,” do not rush. 

Be practical and have some patience. Pay attention to each step and cut pieces in a proper way. Accuracy is a key here, and it is what makes your entire t-shirt sewing journey as easy as possible.

Here are the essential steps you need to follow to cut out your t-shirt pattern piece:

Lay your t-shirt fabric on a large, flat surface. Make sure it doesn’t get any wrinkles, stretched bits, or other distortion.

Place your pattern piece on it and align it well so that the jersey cotton fabric fits across the width of the T-shirt.

Pin along with the parameter of the different types of shirts you have chosen and pay special attention to the neckline’s back part and sleeve seam.

The pins you insert on the shoulders, sides, and bottom hem don’t need to be precise since their primary purpose is to hold the shirt.

Make the ultimate t-shirt pattern
Image Source: Pinterest

For the back neckline, insert the pins via a seam joining the back neckline to the collar. Keep the pins at least 1 inch apart.

Insert the pins straight down via a seam and onto a paper for the sleeve seam. Make sure you keep the pins no further than 1 inch apart.

You can also use some heavy books or sewing weights to hold the shirt.

Now, draw around the edges of the t-shirt pattern piece using a tailor’s chalk. Do not tug or pull on the material as you keep drawing.

At last, cut out the shape using sharp scissors or tailor’s shears. After cutting out the material, you can remove pins and pattern pieces.

Scissors kitchen shears
Image Source: The New York Times

In this final stage, you will have a front and back piece and two arms.

Sew the Pieces Together

This is the actual fun part of “how to make your own custom shirt” at home. It requires a lot of patience and slow sewing speed. Set a straight stitch and start sewing from the edges at 1cm.

Place your two t-shirt body pieces on the backside so that the wrong side is facing out. Align them in a precise way while focusing on the shoulders and neckline. Pin them at every 1 inch.

Sew the pinned shoulder edges and join two separate pieces together. Keep removing the pins as you proceed.

Next, open out the two pattern pieces so they are just joined at the shoulders. Choose arm pattern piece and find curved side’s center point. 

Line it to one of the shoulders and pin it with the right sides facing inside in a way that will lay on the shoulder’s edge.

Pin the rest of the arm to the armhole and begin at the pin you just added. Half of the arm pattern piece will join the front body piece, and the other will join the back. It is a bit complicated to add pins on the curved edges together.

Now, sew the pinned armed pattern pieces with the recent curve pinned to the body pieces. Keep removing the pins as you proceed.

Repeat this step for another arm piece.

In the last step of “how to make clothes,” you need to sew two separate side seams and arm seams bottom part. 

How to make custom shirts at home
Image Source: Sew Daily

Fold the T-shirt along with the shoulder seam so that the front and back line up again. Just add pins on the sides and start from the underarm to the bottom edge. Keep sewing and remove pins as you proceed.

Add the T-shirt Neck Binding

When you reach this step of “how to make custom shirts at home,” you will have a basic T-shirt completed. High-five!

The next step is to add a neckline which is the trickiest part of making a t-shirt. With little patience and skills, you can still master it. Follow these steps:

Tee into a crop top diy
Image Source: Topofstyle

Measure and cut a strip of fabric at 4cm wide and 45cm long. Ensure you adjust your cutting in terms of length, stretch, and width-wise.

Take a medium-hot iron and press the strip of the fabric flat. Fold the strip in half and press this fold.

Start finding the mid-point of the neck binding strip and turn your T-shirt. Make a line on the mid-point of the neck binding and the neck hole’s midpoint on the front side. 

Start aligning the raw edges of the binding strip with the neck hole. Now, pin all these together.

Mark on the binding strip at 10cm to pinned mid-point. Now, pin this marked point to the shoulder seam of the neck hole. The fabric length between the pins should be less for the neck binding than for the neck hole.

At this point, you have the neckline pinned at two places. Start adding more pins in-between the two points. You also have to stretch the neck binding as you add a pin to align against the neck hole without space. 

When completed, you will have a quarter of the pinned neckline. Now, repeat this step for the remaining quarter, which sits on the front of your T-shirt.

Repeat the above steps for the back of the T-shirt so that you get the entire pinned neckline.

Bonus tip: How to sew neckline? It is important to use a zig-zag stitch for sewing the neckline, as it will allow you to stretch the neckline without snapping the thread.

So, set your sewing machine with zig-zag stitching and start sewing the neck binding. Remove the pins as you proceed. Don’t forget to stretch the neckline as you proceed.

Once you get to the backside of the neckline, stop sewing. Remove the pins and unfold two ends of the neckline. Lay them flat against each other and pin them together. 

Start sewing and trim the excess part. You need to fold the neckline in half-length and sew it on the T-shirt in the same way as you did for the rest of the neckline.

Finish Off the T-shirt Edges

Congratulations! You have almost finished your journey of “how to make your own t-shirts at home.” Here are some of the final steps you need to follow before you wear your handmade t-shirt:

It’s time to try your “half” handmade t-shirt. Use tailor’s chalk to mark the waist area at the length you wish to cut it. Repeat this for the arms.

Take the T-shirt off and find all the marks you just did. Add 3-4cm seam allowance on each mark and cut any extra fabric left.

Start from the waist area and fold the raw edges by 1-2cm. Keep 1-2cm more and start folding to hide the raw edges. Either fold it inwards or outwards based on the finish you want to achieve.

Now, sew the folded edges all around the waist until you reach the point where you just started. If your T-shirt is loose, you can use a straight stitch

If it is tight, then use a zig-zag stitch. Do not stretch the fabric as you sew. Just let the fabric go in a natural way.

Repeat the same steps for each arm.

Congratulations! Your custom and handmade T-shirt is ready to wear. All the efforts and time you put in understanding the complete guide of “how to make custom shirts” have yielded outcomes in a beautiful way.

Don’t forget to give your DIY T-shirt sewing project a personalized touch with super easy and super custom woven labels and hang tags from the Superlabel store.

How to Make Your Own Print on a T-shirt: Printing Methods With Pros and Cons

With the above step-by-step guide and tutorial, you can own a large collection of simple yet versatile T-shirts.

How cool is that if you can make your DIY T-shirt sewing project more personalized by printing your own quote, character, cartoon, etc.? Sounds impressive, right?

How to make tee shirts
Image Source: Ryan Hoffman On Unsplash

Making your own custom t-shirt is a great idea when you want to express yourself. You can personalize your team, group, or organization with custom printed apparel. Learning “how to make your own printed shirts” at home is affordable and easy.

Here are some simple steps to start your journey of “how to make your own print on a T-shirt.”

Get a Design

You can not start your journey of how to make printed shirts without getting the design. Designing your t-shirt at home can be a fun and creative task.

Thinking of how to make personalized t-shirts at home? Make sure you choose a design that represents your idea and looks amazing. The design can be a quote, logo, illustration, or just a slogan or combination of all of these. 

How to make a printed t-shirt
Image Source: Kizkopop On Unsplash

Make sure you don’t choose the wrong fonts as it can impact the overall look of the t-shirt. The letter and spacing should be in the correct way and interact with the graphics you’ve chosen.

Don’t forget about the composition in the “how to make my own t-shirt designs” journey. It plays an essential role. A basic component can improve your design.

Some of the greatest printed t-shirts you find in the malls have simple designs. Keep it in mind! Take some time and create a design.

Choose Your Printing Method

We are lucky to have a wide variety of T-shirt printing methods. Depending upon your needs, you can choose the right method.

Here are three primary printing techniques you can use as part of your “how to make printed shirts at home” journey.

Screen Printing

If you bought a printed t-shirt from a store a long back and the print is still the same, it was made with screen printing technique. It is also known as the silkscreen method and guarantees excellent design replication.

Screen printing
Image Source: Cotton & Flax

If you choose this printing method, the printer will make original screens of your designs and print them in bulk.

Pros

    • Reliable and durable
    • Affordable
    • Great for bulk printing
    • Guarantees high quality

Cons

    • Not suitable for complex designs
    • Expensive

Direct-to-garment

This is another great printing technique for those who are creative and wants to experiment with t-shirts. It uses freedom of inkjet printing and sprays ink onto the t-shirt just like the way inkjet printing on paper.

How to make personalized shirts
Image Source: Graphic Display World

To use this t-shirt printing method, you need to have some basic skills and equipment at home.

Pros

    • Excellent for complex design
    • Easy to use
    • Soft finish
    • Easy to switch multiple designs
    • Best for small quantity

Cons

    • Require higher investment
    • Less viable

Vinyl Graphics

In this method, t-shirts are created through transfer printing. The result is a different texture and looks from screen printing. This printing technique is fast and simple.

Pros

    • Durable
    • Works well with both large and small quantities
    • Range of colors and designs available

Cons

    • Requires CAD cutter
    • Decreases the flexibility of the shirt

How to make your own t shirt designs
Image Source: StickerYou

Heat Press Printing

This is one of the most adopted T-shirt printing methods. The essential part of heat press printing technique is the transfer paper. 

Once the design is one on the paper, then it can be transferred to the t-shirt using heat and pressure.

One of the major advantages of this printing technique is that you can replicate complex designs with ease. When it is done, you can remove the paper and excess dye. The final outcome can be a soft shirt with a vivid design.

Pros

    • Simple to use
    • Cost-effective printing
    • High-quality production

Cons

    • It takes a long time to print
    • It doesn’t work on darker shade material

Hand and Spray Printing (Airbrushing)

In this modern age of printing t-shirts, we should not forget the old-school printing method. Many hobbyists prefer this t-shirt printing method as it gives them the freedom to experiment and express themselves. The final outcome depends on your skills.

You can either use spray or fabric paint to make a design on your t-shirt.

Pros

    • Cost-effective
    • Unlimited design options

Cons

    • Low-quality designs
    • Less durable

Final Outcome

Once you’ve decided on t-shirt design and printing methods, then nobody can stop you from completing your journey of “how to make a printed t-shirt.” You can get a printed t-shirt at home with your basic skills and ideas.

Conclusion

Making a t-shirt for yourself is a fun project, and you will learn a lot of new things while you hop on this journey of “how to make personalized shirts at home.

This guide has everything you need to start your DIY t-shirt sewing project. With this, we are sure you’ll get enough confidence to try your hands on another DIY sewing project.

Whatever garment you make, don’t forget to personalize it using woven labels and hang tags from Superlabel Store! After all, you have put a lot of time and effort into making it.

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