On a Roll T-shirt – FREE Sewing Pattern & Video Tutorial

t-shirt pattern

It's time for a wardrobe basic and a shirt you'll want to sew time and time again.  Out with the ball gowns, and in with the real clothes for real women!  This is one where you can sew what you actually wear everyday. The free sewing pattern for this month is the On a Roll T-Shirt.


  • 3 sleeve lengths
  • No difficult to sew neck bindings
  • No darts or zippers
  • Roll-over wide neck
  • Easy to fit to your shape
  • Range of sizes, from 31 to 46 inch bust
  • Versatile – cosy and casual for the daytime, or make it slinky and draping for a night out
  • Full sewing instructions are downloaded with the pattern pieces
  • Video tutorial too!

t-shirt pattern

Apologies for the wrinkly looking photos!  My regular hubby/photographer was unavailable so the self-timer had to do.  And it didn't tell me to pull my t-shirt straight..

Skill level:

Beginner.  The instructions for this t-shirt include instructions on picking stitches and finishes for use with knit fabrics.  There are no complicated darts or zippers and the wide roll neck makes it easy to get a good finish.  There is a tutorial video which will take you through everything.

Where can you get the On a Roll T-Shirt pattern?

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Download the On a Roll T-shirt pattern

As usual, to make downloading easy and reliable, the pattern is hosted in my design account with Payhip. If you don’t already have an account, you will need to sign up to download, but don’t worry, it’s free, quick and easy. Add the pattern to your cart, and then checkout – no payment/address details etc needed.


Can I see some more pics before I decide if it's for me?

Of course you can.  I made one in a solid color medium-weight cotton jersey, and another in a lighter-weight softer print. The solid jersey one has a more defined collar in the thicker fabric, the thinner fabric gives a softer look.  I think both look great!

t-shirt pattern

t-shirt pattern

Choosing your fabrics

You'll need a fabric with a moderate stretch.  This pattern is so simple that it can accommodate a wide number and variety of stretch fabrics including novelty and sweater knits, but be aware when choosing your fabric that thicker fabrics and those with less stretch may need to be sewn with greater ease and may require you to go up a size.  It looks good in both prints and solids.

Fabric recommendations from Fabric.com

Click on the image for more info, pricing, and availability.

Making up your pattern

See the downloadable instructions for details on how to print and piece together your pattern, and cut your fabric.  Your pattern has a front, back, sleeves and a neck roll piece.  If you need help downloading or opening/printing your pattern, please read the article on How to Download and Print my Sewing Patterns.

Free T-shirt pattern. On a Roll, roll neck t-shirt with 3 sleeve lengths, from So Sew Easy.

What sizes are available?

Available for 31 to 46 inch bust.  Please use the sizing table in the instructions as a guide only as although our body measurements may be similar, different body shapes may require fitting differently.

On a Roll T-shirt Sewing Instructions

Seam allowances – 1/2 an inch (1.25cm) throughout unless mentioned.

Abbreviations used: RST – right sides together.

Note on finishing seams – seams should be finished as you sew.  Use your favorite method or see the suggestions in the full instructions download.

These are abbreviated instructions and small photos for the blog only.  The pattern download includes more detailed instructions to help you step by step along the way to a great finished On a Roll T-shirt.  This is just a quick overview.

t-shirt pattern

  1. Join shoulder seams, RST.  Use stay tape or clear elastic to stabilize shoulders if you like – optional.
  2. Find center of sleeve and match to shoulder seam, RST.  Pin then stitch the sleeve to the arm hole opening.  Repeat for the other side.
  3. Pin then stitch the side seam and sleeve seam, matching seams at the underarm.
  4. Stitch the neck roll piece RST, on the short end. Turn the right side out.
  5. Fold neck roll in half length-ways and match raw edges.  Find the quarters and mark with pins.  Do the same with the shirt neckline edge.
  6. Match up the quarters of the neck roll with the quarters of the neckline edge, and pin, matching raw edges with RST.
  7. Ease the two edges to meet, stretching the neckline edge to match the neck roll, pin and then stitch in place.
  8. Finish sleeves and hem.  See this tutorial on using a double needle to hem knits.
  9. Wear and enjoy!

Is it really that easy?

Absolutely!  You can have this t-shirt sewn up in super-quick time.  Once you've made one and are confident of the sizing and sewing method, I'm sure you'll be making another in less than an hour from start to finish.  Just take a look at the video for an idea of how quickly and easily this will come together.

Subscribe to the YouTube channel:


t-shirt pattern

Thanks for downloading this pattern.  I'd love to hear about your project and how you went so please leave a comment below.

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Download the On a Roll T-shirt pattern

As usual, to make downloading easy and reliable, the pattern is hosted in my design account with Payhip. If you don’t already have an account, you will need to sign up to download, but don’t worry, it’s free, quick and easy. Add the pattern to your cart, and then checkout – no payment/address details etc needed.

Trouble downloading the pattern?

If you need help downloading or opening/printing your pattern, please read the article on How to Download and Print my Sewing Patterns.

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50 Responses to On a Roll T-shirt – FREE Sewing Pattern & Video Tutorial

  1. M Rowe says:


    Thank you for this wonderful pattern and tutorial. I do have a question regarding the seam allowance and then sizing so that I do it correctly. The website says 1/2″ seam allowance but the printed pattern says 5/8″. Which did you intend?

    As to the sizing, am I correct that if I want the bust area to not be snug, to just size up one size knowing that I can take in the lower portions as needed? I intend to have the sleeve end just above my elbow.

    Thank you!

  2. vero says:

    merci pour ce patron que je ne manquerais pas de faire et de vous envoyer une photo

  3. Shi La says:

    Hi! I am not quite sure what do You mean: Do I have to add the seam allowances or is it already included in the pattern?

  4. Terre says:

    How would you modify the pattern for a person with a large bust? Store T-shirts that otherwise fit me are snug across the bust.

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      Without your measurements, I can not accurately tell you how much to add to the sides. In your case, I would use a two way stretch knit which will stretch much more than a store t-shirt fabric. Print the pattern closest to your size and measure your bust, then try this measurement on the fabric you have purchased to see how snug it will feel. If you find you still need to add space at the bust, find out how much you will be comfortable with and divide that amount by 4, add this amount to the sides of the pattern front and back. Add the same amount to the sleeve side to make sure it will fit on the bigger body, sew the side and place the sleeves, then try it on to see if you need to take in either at the side or at the sleeves. Hope this helps. Let me know how you did.
      happy sewing!

  5. Kirsten says:

    Just finished sewing a version of this today (almost) I had a piece of jersey that was a bit on the small side so I missed out the neck roll, then saw a shirt my Mom was wearing which had a drop neck but by that time I had already cut my front and back pieces out so I did a weird add in to the neck. Still not 100% confident with jersey, I don’t have a stretch stitch on my machine so used a zig-zag, but no option to change the stitch width and length. Stitches seem to show on the right side, I think maybe I need to work on the seam finishing. I do have more fabric but dying to try another Deby pattern, wrap dress or wear anywhere dress or maxi. Too much choice. Thanks for the great patterns!

  6. Ilna says:

    I made this top a week ago and already wore it twice! It was so easy and fast to make and the fit is spot on, although after measuring the pattern pieces I decided to add 5 cm to the sleeve and the length of the top, because I have long arms and like longer tops. I just love the neckline which is not so tight as a turtle neck. I can see quite a few of these in my future – maybe with neckline changes? Thank you so much for all your free patterns, I will definitely try some more.

  7. Gill Howdle says:

    This is a wonderful pattern. I have some medium weight knit I had bought for a skirt but decided that was going to be rather frumpy and wanted a tunic instead to wear over jeans or leggings. So I used your roll neck T shirt and made it longer and a little wider at the bottom (because I am wider at the bottom!) and it has come out really well. The neckline lies beautifully – I was very pleasantly surprised, on with the next!

    many thanks Deby

  8. Claire says:

    Wow this is lovely! I’m so pleased I found your site.
    I’m a bit confused though – are you using an overlocker? I don’t have one so have always steered clear of jerseys, which is very limiting. Also, for the Craftsy class you recommend, do you need an overlocker? Can you watch the classes multiple times or only once?

    • No I sewed this with my regular sewing machine. It works just fine. I have just bought an overlocker but not used it much yet. With the classes, they are yours for life. You can watch them as many times as you like, forever and always. 🙂

  9. Luce says:

    Hello Deby,
    I downloaded the pattern, but I’m not sure what is front and back of the sleeves.
    Can you help me on this.
    thank you

  10. Billie Jane Merlo says:

    I have made a long sleeve top, and two long sleeved form fitting dresses. I love the fit. I my neck line does not look like the pictures though. The way the roll falls, it shows the hem on the other side. I am working on that. A nice brooch on the neck line keeps it in place until i can figure out what I am doing wrong. Maybe my neck line is too low for the roll?

    • Deby Coles says:

      Hmm, I’m not sure what the problem could be. The body of the t-shirt should fit close to your own body, and around the neckline it should lie flat to your chest, with just the roll softly gathering on the outside. If your inside seam is showing it seems to suggest that its too large for you and therefore you have too much fabric loose there. But without seeing it I can’t say for sure what the problem is. Sorry. Would you like to post a picture in the new forum that will be launched soon? There is a section for questions about the So Sew Easy patterns.

  11. Natalie Q says:

    This is a terrific pattern. Made it last weekend and wore it immediately. Got so many compliments on it I’ve made two more this week! Even my hubby said he really liked it – and he hardly ever notices my sewing! Thanks so much for the pattern. It’s fantastic.

    • Deby Coles says:

      Yay – I’m so pleased. I love it when things turn out well. Do you have any pictures Natalie? This pattern hasn’t got the attention I think it deserves and so I’d love to be able to show some more examples(my photos weren’t the best!) Would you load your review and project onto the pattern page at Craftsy, or send me a photo to use on the Facebook page?

  12. Charlene says:

    The tee went together quickly and is comfortable to wear. I plan to make more in various sleeve lengths

    • Deby Coles says:

      Great to hear – thanks for coming back to let me know how you got on. Would you share your completed project on Craftsy and link it to the pattern so we can all take a look? Thanks

  13. KendasCrafts says:

    Thanks for the free pattern! Can’t wait to try it!

  14. Pam @Threading My Way says:

    A great looking t-shirt, Deby. Love the patterned fabric.

  15. Rose :: finecraftguild.com says:

    Nice, Deb! They look great on you! Thx for sharing the pattern.

  16. selina says:

    What a lovely gift. Thanks you. I haven’t made clothes in ages but this is just the thing to get me back into it.

  17. Audrey@That Recipe says:

    I love this, but sewing knit scares me. Ok, truthfully it frustrates me to no end. But you make it look easy….

    • Deby Coles says:

      I had some bad experiences early on with trying to hem a knit dress and that’s when I took the Craftsy Sewing with Knits Class. It made SO much difference and now I feel I can tackle them all with confidence. It’s just one more sewing skill to learn and once you have the hang of it, a whole new line of clothing becomes available to you.

  18. ksgentry says:

    Love this top. One that you can dress up or down. Perfect fit.

  19. Wow! Gorgeous pattern and one I will definitely wear all of the time! thanks!

  20. Hellie's Corner says:

    I love your T shirt.

  21. Katy says:

    Wow – thanks so much for this! I want to learn to sew with knits this year, and have been looking for a pattern to inspire me… I think I’ve just found it!

    • Deby Coles says:

      That’s great. This one is a nice easy place to start. Good luck with it, knit fabrics aren’t as scary as they seem. Just test your stitches on some scraps before you begin.

  22. Michele R says:

    Deby, I’m a little unsure of how much fabric to order from fabric.com. Is there a chart with the yardage requirements for the various sizes? Or do they all require the 55 inches, as you demonstrated in the example for the largest size? This means I would need to order two yards in all, is that correct? Sorry, I’m still a beginner 🙂

    • Deby Coles says:

      I’ve not done a yardage chart for each size because it also depends what length sleeve you want as well, and on the width of the fabric – so many variables. Plus, it takes me ages to work it out and if I make a mistake it could be a disaster! If you tell me what size you will sew and what sleeves you want, and the width of the fabric you are thinking of buying, I can work it out for you.

      • Michele R says:

        I went ahead and ordered two yards of 58″ wide jersey. I’m between a small and a medium and will probably make a 3/4 sleeve tee. I figured that should give me enough plus a little to spare in case I make a mistake, right? I imagine I will get better at figuring out how much fabric I need as I gain experience. Thanks very much for your prompt reply!

  23. Ashley @ 3 Little Greenwoods says:

    I love the neckline of your shirt! It’s a great detail!
    Pinning to our Party Board!

  24. Rebecca says:

    Thanks for the pattern. I am a binder sewer but look forward to trying the pattern Wish me luck!

    • Deby Coles says:

      Rebecca, I’m fascinated by what you mean by a binder sewer. Its not a term I’ve heard before. Do you mean more of a quilter than a clothes sewer? I hope the pattern works out well for you.

  25. Zylo says:

    I love those kind of neckline! I just think they’re so comfortable and flattering, plus they add interest to a plain shirt. I’d want to make these out of a jersey material, but I’m terrified of sewing with it. I tried to alter a tank top once using a knit fabric and my seam stretched to the sky and just ruined it.

    • Deby Coles says:

      Don’t be afraid to give it a try. The roll neck is much much easier to add than a regular thin neckline binding. It sounds like you may just have used a slightly too aggressive stitch on the previous jersey project. Some of them stretch all out of shape when you sew, IF you use a stitch they don’t like. But find the right stitch and they behave themselves nicely. Its a good idea to make a stitch sampler when you try out a new fabric, see which stitches look good, and which ones cause the jersey to stretch. You can also use a stay tape to stop the seams and hems stretching while you sew. Use a water soluble tape which washes away again afterwards leaving your seams all flexible and soft.

  26. Chelle Chapman says:

    ACK! I have that same blue/green circle print fabric & didn’t know what to do w/ it! HA! NOW I know!!

    • Deby Coles says:

      Ooh, that printed jersey is perfect for this pattern. Just the right weight and softness. I like the solid jersey with the stiffer neckline, but this softer one in the print, I wear it all the time! That fabric is a perfect match for this pattern. Hope it works out well for you Chelle.

  27. Michele R says:

    Thank you so much for the free pattern and your video is outstanding!! I am a beginner at sewing, so your clear instructions were so helpful, and the video made it so easy to understand. Looking forward to more of your patterns and videos.

    • Deby Coles says:

      That’s very kind of you Michele. Will you be giving this one a try? It’s really not difficult and with different fabrics you can get a lot of different looks on this one.

  28. Lorna says:

    With t-shirt weather just ahead I love this pattern, my favourite neckline is the roll/cowl and you make it look so easy. I will have to go knit fabric shopping- oh dear what a terrible thing to have to do.

    • Deby Coles says:

      This one is certainly nice and easy to sew and the relaxed neckline does away with trying to get a neat finish on a neckline binding. I’m so sorry to hear you will have to shop for fabric (again), I wish I could be there to support you through your ordeal 😉

  29. Mandy says:

    Another great pattern! I can’t wait to try it. Thanks again Deby. I just love it!!

  30. Jen says:

    Wow! You have created a very versatile pattern! I think you do such a great job explaining all the details too. I know so little about sewing, and you make me feel as though I could tackle some of your patterns, and succeed!! 🙂

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