Spring is the time to dress comfortably and in layers. A flared t-shirt is one of those pieces of clothing we can just throw on with a pair of jeans, leggings, capri pants or if the top is long enough, it can also be a short mod-style dress. Perfect for a quick run to the supermarket or picking up the kids! This is an incredibly easy pattern and I have added two sleeves lengths to give you some flexibility. If you want to, you can even eliminate the sleeves entirely and it becomes yet another top.
I am using a fabric from my stash because I am determined to reduce the amount of fabric in my sewing room. I realize it is spring after all and that you would want to see some flowers. I am not a flowery kind of person, but I gave it a try. I hope you like it:). For your flared t-shirt, you can select any lightweight and soft knit. It can be 100% cotton or a blend. As you get ready to start to project, it might be helpful to review our tutorial on mistakes to avoid when cutting fabric. It might save a little re-work.
Before you start, I strongly recommend you to take a scrap of your fabric and practice so you can achieve the right setting on your machine necessary to come up with the best looking stitch that you can. I am using a very basic machine –the equivalent of a tractor– but I know some of you have such fancy machines which the equivalent of a Lamborghini. I had a hard time finding the perfect stitch, my (tractor) machine kept skipping stitches, so I opted for a ballpoint needle and a walking foot.
While the pattern is easy to follow, this is probably an advanced beginner or intermediate level project. It's helpful if you've had some experience in sewing knits which can be a bit tricky to sew sometimes. If you run into any problems, please leave your questions in the comments after the post and we'll do your best to help you out. The pattern accommodates sizes 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, and 18 with corresponding bust sizes 36″, 38″, 40″, 42″, 44″ and 46″. The finished garment in the photo is size 18 and it will accommodate a 46″ bust without stretching the fabric. The ITY fabric I used has great “drappability” and terrific stretch.
A note: The dart seems higher because I had to pin it at the back for my friend Janice to wear it. She is not size 18, she is size 14 but her chest is 16. She kindly accepted to model the top for me. This is exactly the reason why if your bust is bigger you should always use the right size for your shoulder rather than going with your bust size. I explain this in this article on how to make a full bust adjustment.
This pattern and tutorial are completely FREE to you. The design and pattern are entirely original and, as you can imagine, they have taken some time to put together. All we ask is that you share this post with your friends and family using one of the social media buttons below.
For the 3/4 sleeve version, you will need the following materials.
- 1 1/2 yards of soft knit, I am using ITY that I got from Fabric.com a while ago.
- 1/2″ knit stay tape or stretch fusible interfacing strip of 5/8″
- a Schmetz ballpoint needle or a twin needle. Any brand should do but Schmetz is one of the best.
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Step 1: Print and place the pattern; cut to your size
If you have not used PDF patterns before, here is an article on how to download and print PDF sewing patterns that you might want to review.
I have placed my pattern on the fold, you could trace the other side of the pattern and cut on the fabric on one layer. In addition to this pattern, you will need a strip of fabric to find the necessary measurements in the pattern.
Cut the fabric to the size of your pattern. All seam allowances are 5/8″ with one exception which I will explain below.
Step 2: Apply stretch fusible interfacing or stay tape
Apply the stretched fusible interfacing to the armholes and neck seam allowance. If using the stay tape, please iron the tape 1/8′ from the edge. Make all the notches marked in the pattern. These are important.
For the back piece, apply the stretch interfacing or stay tape on the armhole, shoulder, and neck seam allowance. Make a notch the middle of the neck. You will need this notch to align the facing later on.
Step 3: Mark and sew the dart
Using a ruler and pencil or erasable pen mark the dart and place a pin on the end of the dart. (If you're asking “what's a dart?”, please review our tutorial on how to mark and sew double ended darts which is linked here.)
Step 4: Sew the shoulder
At this point, you can use your serger to finish the seams, but because I am using ITY Knit, this knit does not unravel so finishing the seams is entirely optional. Unfortunately, my serger has a dull blade and made a royal mess of the seams, so I am using an overcasting stitch with my regular sewing machine. You can learn more about how to use overcasting stitches in the tutorial linked here.
Step 5: Sew the sides of the top
Place the front and back with print side together and sew the sides.
Step 6: Attach the sleeves
The sleeves pattern has 3 important markings. There are 2 notches that will tell you this is the back of the sleeve, 1 notch to show you the front and the center of the sleeve telling you where the shoulder seam is located.
There are 2 methods you can use to attach the sleeves. You can start sewing the sleeve to the armhole and then sew the arms straight with the side seams of the top. It is basically one continuous seam from the sleeves all the way to the hem of the top. I only recommend this way if your serger is at hand because it can create bulk in your armpits, and who wants that.?
Instead, as another method, I am using the set-in technique: sewing the sides of the sleeves, then the side of the top, and lastly attaching the sleeves around the armhole, trim and zigzag to reduce bulk in this area.
Step 7: Sewing the facing to the neck
This is the same technique you need to apply should you decide to make this t-shirt without sleeves.
Start by cutting a strip of fabrics given in the pattern. Sew the strips at 3/8″. With the print facing down, Start pinning at the shoulders, alight the stitches of the strip with the shoulder seams. Next, pin the facing to the front and back of the t-shirt. You will find the facing is shorter than neckline. This is fine because the fabric is very stretchable and this is necessary to maintain the shape of the neck.With the print facing down, start pinning at the shoulders, align the notches of the facing with the shoulder seams. Next, pin the facing to the front and back of the t-shirt. You will find the facing is shorter than neckline. This is fine because the fabric is very stretchable and necessary to maintain the shape of the neck. I have also added more fusible interfacing to the facing because my machine is not liking this fabric very much, this is optional. Sew the facing to 1/2″ seam allowance. Trim the facing close to the seam. Fold the facing to the inside of the t-shirt 1/2″, pin all around and iron. Fold another 3/8″ pin all around one more time.
If you are a newbie and are not familiar with working with knits you could make a baste stitching all around the neck. The reason for that is that this kind of facing needs to be sewn on the right side of the fabric and it is very hard to do that if you are not experienced. You could also change your needle to a twin needle and sew the facing creating a nice double stitching detail. If you need some guidance on how to use a twin needle, please check out the tutorial linked here.
Step: 8 Hemming your flared t-shirt
Apply the stay tape to the hems, both in the sleeves and on the bodice and simply fold 5/8″ and hem your T-shirt.
I hope you enjoy this free flared t-shirt pattern. It is very easy to make and is a staple in any women wardrobe. The flared t-shirt is the perfect top if you are not ready to bear all in the new season. Throw on a light coat on and a pair of jeans and you are ready to rush out of the house for just about anything.
What other pieces of clothing would you like to sew before summer? Please let us know if the comments below and we'll do our best to help!