Sunday, June 15, 2014

How To Make a Cap Sleeve T-Shirt Pattern

How To Easily Alter A Pattern To Make A Cap Sleeve T-Shirt

Morning Everyone!

I thought I would share a simple 
pattern tutorial with all of you today.

As I was making my Simple Dress Design
it occurred to me that I could show you the easy pattern for it.  
I will start off with the cap sleeve pattern for the bodice. It's pretty 
straightforward, but if my instructions don't make sense 
for you, please ask in the comments or send me an email.
And if you are a newbie sewist, give it a try!

The Cap Sleeve T-Shirt
 One of my abslolute favorites. 
Goes together quickly. 
No set-in sleeves. 
No zippers.  
No hand-hemming (love that part!). 
All by machine.

Want to make a cap sleeve t-shirt pattern for yourself? 
Here's how...

You can trace a purchased pattern to do this alteration. 
You can trace your favorite t-shirt and use it as your pattern. 
I used this one because I like the way it fits.
(I don't want any surprises at try-on time)

Draw a line 9" out from the center front and mark.

Extend your shoulder seamline to the 9" mark.

Raise the shoulder seamline 1/2" and make a line 
(shown in purple) from the neck base to the 9" mark.

 Mark 1/2" down from shoulder extension and 
draw a curve to the raised shoulder.
Lower the underarm seam 1/2" and draw a new armhole curve.
The sleeve pattern is done!
If you are starting from a basic bodice block draft, 
you will need to follow the next steps.

Now the length.
Trace the pattern you just made onto a piece
of paper, leaving at least 8" below the waistline.

Fold the paper under at the waistline and trace 
the edge of your pattern up to the underarm.

Draw a line for the hem 7" below the waistline.
Now take your own hip measurement at the same point.
Let's say it's 38".  Take 1/4 of that, so 9 1/2". 
Measure out from the center front 
along the hemline 9 1/2" and mark.

Measure up and in 1/2" at the bottom and draw a curved line.
This will keep your t-shirt hem from puckering at the side seams.

Here's how your pattern will look after cutting it out. 
You can trace this and use it for the back piece.
You will just need to make the neckline 2" higher.
In my next post I will show you how easy it
is to put the cap sleeve t-shirt together,
along with some tips for sewing with knits.

Have a great day!


This post is linked to these fine blogs!

Friday Link Party @ The Pin Junkie 
Best Of The Weekend @ Little Miss Celebration
Say G'Day Natasha In Oz
DIY Sunday Showcase @ VMG206
Mad Skills Party Mad in Crafts
Worthwhile Wednesdays @ The Craftiest Allie
Do Tell Tuesday @ Vintage Zest
Wake Up Wednesday Sewing4Sophia


  1. Thanks Amy! This is one of my favorite summer patterns.

  2. I can't wait to try this out! Pinned it!

    1. Thank you Kelly! You'll love how easy this pattern is!

  3. Hello! Thank you so much for this super instructive information :)! I need to do this same thing but to my daughter tshirt bodice, could you please tell me how many inches I need to work with or what proportion I can use? It is a 18 month slopper. I hope you can share this to me and thank you again for this tutorial!

    1. Hi Cit N,
      I haven't tried this method for toddler patterns, but I'll work on your request and let you know what I come up with. Thanks for your interest!


    2. Toddler measurements are so tiny! Try extending the shoulder out 3/4 - 1". Raise the line above the shoulder only 1/8 - 1/4". Drop the end of the cap 1/8 - 1/4" as well. I suggest using muslin or inexpensive fabric to do a few test fits. Good luck! Let me know how the pattern works out for you.


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