DIY Pattern | easy 4 step t-shirt pattern


I'm so excited guys. This post is all about drafting a simple long sleeved t-shirt pattern. There's no measuring involved, just a favourite t-shirt and some tracing. Nice and simple.

For best results you want to use a favourite stretchy top in jersey or knit. I talk a bit more about the wonders of jersey in this post on 3 killer tips for working with jersey).

Are you as in love with the idea of a comfortable long sleeved t-shirt as I am, or are you just hoping I might feature another type of project? 

Want more? Check out the rest of the posts on making your own t-shirt:

Easy 4-step t-shirt pattern

You will need:

A t-shirt you love 
a large piece of paper (dressmaker's paper or a roll of wrapping paper)
a pen

1. Start with a top that fits you really well. Make sure it's made of a knit fabric (like jersey). This will ensure you get the perfect fit.

Place the top onto a wide piece of paper. You could use dressmaker's tissue or pattern paper, a roll of old wrapping paper or pieces of newspaper taped together.

2. Tuck the sleeves of your top inside the top so that you can see the line of the arm holes clearly.

3. Trace around the outside of your top, paying particular attention to the armholes. You want your trace to be as true to the original as possible.

Trace the back neckline by following the line of the top. 

For the front neckline you can measure the length and depth of the neckline and transfer this to your pattern.

Once you have the basic shape you will need to add a seam allowance. 3 cm (1") is standard, but if you're using very stretchy material you could skip a seam allowance.

4. To trace the pattern for the sleeves you need to be sure the sleeve is perfectly folded in half. It should already be half a sleeve since you will only ever see half a sleeve when it is laid out in front of you. Be suer that the sleeve lies completely flat on your paper.

Trace around the outside of the half sleeve, paying particular attention to the top of the sleeve where the sleeve meets the body of the top. You may need to fold the body of the top around the sleeve to get the most accurate trace.

Once you're happy with the sleeve pattern, mirror the shape you traced so that you have a complete sleeve pattern. It may help to fold the actual paper over and trace the pattern (a trace of a trace) to complete a perfect mirrored half.

Add the same seam allowance to the sleeve that you used for the body of the top in step 3.


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks Becky. Hope you'll be giving this one a go. Do let me know how you get on!

  2. yay! I need to give this one a go. I SAY THAT EVERY TIME. I am pretty useless at keeping up with my enormous must do list but finding a shirt that actually fits nicely is so hard so this is getting bumped up the list. Thank you for always sharing your tutorials
    love your new profile photo by the way xxx

    1. Yes Anna - get on board. Life's too short not to have nice fitting shirts!

      Thanks for the lovely compliments too. You made my day

      x Elena

  3. Replies
    1. You want to trace the sleeve. You can choose to trace a half sleeve and mirror it, or you can trace the full sleeve if you want to. I just like to save time whenever I can :)


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