“A t-shirt that doesn't look like you are wearing a t-shirt”– I thought this was a strange request until I saw 3 more women asking for the same thing.
One of these women sent me a very long and emotional email about she struggled with her weight since she was a young girl, how she had never felt comfortable in her clothes, and how she hid for so many years under sweatpants and extra large hoodies. Sarah, that is her name, wrote how she has a dog now and she is walking regularly, but that sometimes she lacks the courage to step outside because she doesn't want to go back to the sweatpants and ugly t-shirts and that it is getting too hot for hoodies. She said she needed a top to feel good in, but at the same time comfortable while she is losing the weight. I think she is on to something and I figure she is not the only one. I hear you girl!
Here is a free easy t-shirt pattern that can be made in less than 2 hours and wear with leggings and a light jacket, to drop your kids at school and head to the gym or the park for a walk with the dog. It's all about looking good without having to make too much effort and what is best, it is super easy to make. I've made the pattern to cater for seven sizes from 8 to 20. The finished garment measurements are all below.
This free easy t-shirt pattern is ideal for a curvy beginner sewist. A very loose fitting A-line top with a self-tie neckline.
We've got a tremendous amount of content and tutorials on So-Sew-Easy.com. So as not to repeat techniques for readers who have already seen and followed this content, but at the same time provide guidance to our new readers and beginner sewists, we'll try to place links to specific tutorials below which will help you with various aspects of the project. If you already know how to use these techniques, you can skip straight through to the tutorial.
Required materials & supporting tutorials
- 3/4 to 1 1/2 yards of rayon knit. See recommendations below. For a previous tutorial on How to shop for knit fabrics online, please click the link.
- sewing thread to match. We have a good selection of thread in the So Sew Easy Store if you need any.
- bias tape your own or bought. For a full tutorial on how to Use bias tape for a neckline or armhole facing, please click the link.
- a jersey or ballpoint needle. Preferably a Schmetz.
- stay tape or stretchable fusible interfacing. For a full tutorial on How and where to use Knit Stay Tape, please click the link.
- a twin needle (optional). For a full tutorial on How to use a twin needle, please click the link.
- a walking foot (optional). For info on More presser feet than you will ever need, please click the link.
- binding foot (optional). For a full tutorial on How to use the binding foot, please click the link.
Fabric recommendations from Fabric.com
Download the free pattern
Finished garment measurements
Step 1: Print out the pattern and cut the fabric
I am using a scrap of fabric and don't have enough to cut both back and front on the fold of the fabric, so I have added the 5/8″ seam allowance at the back. Whatever you do decide to do, don't forget to add the seam allowance.
Step 2: Fuse the tape to the neck shoulder and sleeves and hemlines
Alternatively, you can make your own 1/2″ strip of stretchable fusible interfacing cut on the bias.
Step 3: Attach bias tape to the peek-a-boo hole
Place the front print facing up, pin the bias tape to the seam at 3/8″ and stitch.
Step 4: Fold the bias tape to the wrong side of the fabric and iron and pin in place.Step 5: Sew the shoulders with right sides together
Sew the front and back at the shoulders and then sew the sides seams. Finish the seams either with a stretch stitch in your normal sewing machine or with the serger.
Step 6: Attach bias tape to the neckline
Cut a bias tape of approximately 1 3/4 yards long. Leave 17-19 inches of the bias tape hanging on either side of the neckline, then start pinning the rest to the neck.
As mentioned before, pin the bias tape on the right side of the garment and sew at 3/8″, iron and fold back inside. This time I will use the binding foot. I have a feeling it will work well to make this type of neckline.
This step can be a little complicated so I made a short video showing the procedure as well as the use of the binding foot. Hope it helps.Subscribe to the YouTube channel:
Step 6: Hemming the sleeves and bottom
Make sure you have stabilized all the edges of the sleeves and the bottom with the stay tape or the stretchable fusible interfacing.
Pin back to the inside (wrong side of the print) the amount equal to the stay tape (1/2″)Use a twin needle or a jersey needle and your walking foot to finish the sleeves and the hem, and you are ready for that long walk in the park. It doesn't look like a t-shirt and that is the point;) The rayon jersey I have used is very soft and drapes very well. I hope you like this free easy t-shirt pattern. It was the perfect opportunity to use the binding foot and the only difficult part was finding the model.
Next time we are sewing clothes, we will be showing a bit more skin. In the comments below let me know what would you like to make next. In the meantime – Happy sewing!
Love this pattern. It was easy to make and I love to wear it. It hides all the problems with my figure.
Love the easy design but the pattern seems to have a set in sleeve whereas the picture is of a drop shoulder. Am I misreading the pattern?
HI Jill can you send me the link of the pattern you have, I am a bit confused not sure what is happening.
It would be nice if you would include LONG sleeve options! It’s not warm right now here in certain parts of the world. Your patterns are nice such as this one and the wrap dress but you refuse to include long sleeve options! Whyeeee????
I will consider styles with sleeves. Thank for your feed back.
I just lengthen them with some (kitchen) parchment paper.
i love it! Thank you for sharing with us! This looks comfy and easy to make.
I love this idea. I cannot find the seam allowance on either the instructions. Please help.
Please find it on Step One.
I love this! I think I’m going to try lengthening it to make a dress as well. Thanks for a great (free!) pattern!
I know people that changed the peep hole to a heart. I akso know peoole that put an extra peep hole on each side of the peep hole. They made the peep holes more drop and a snap instead of a tie/ ribbon.
oooh – a snap sounds lovely good idea
I think it is really cute and might consider making it but so crazy with the holidays now.
For Spring will be perfect, enjoy the holidays!
Thanks for your generosity, Mayra! Can you tell me how much ease you allowed so I can judge which size I need from my measurements? Also, if I wanted to make self bias for the neckline, how much extra fabric would I need?
Hi Kathy, I will need the pattern to be able to answer your question, but I am away from my sewing studio. I am currently in South America, Chile to be exact, 27 hours away from my machine and fabrics. If I remember correctly it would be about 6 inches of ease, but I am not certain. Take your measurements and the finish measurements of the garment and work out what is the best size for you. The fit is supposed to be roomy at the waist as in an A line top.
I often find two pieces of knit fabrics in my local Joann’s remnant bin. They are usually less than a yard each, but at the reduced price, two pieces are just the right amount for a shirt like this one. Plus, the style allows the interesting prints/designs of the fabric to stand out.
I am super self-conscious about my large upper arms. I’m always on the lookout for garments that have longer (and looser) sleeves. This looks to certainly fill the “loose” requirement but difficult to tell how long the sleeves are. I need something to golf in that I feel good in! Thank you so much!!
HI, Nancy Hard to know what you are looking for without measurements. All I can suggest is to have a look at the finished garments and compare it to your own measurements. Let me know if this answers your needs.
I was looking at the finished sizes. Are those real? They seem larger than most say 12 or 14 sizes.
Larger than must 12 and 14? In what country and using what standard. Please read the story at the beginning of the post. I have made a pattern using a very flowy fabric, this style is not your textbook ease allowance. It is to be worn as it is on the mannequin and design for an apple or inverted triangle shape woman who is in the process of losing weight.
I’m normally a U.S. size 14 but according to your finished measurements chart, I’m a size 12! It works for me!!
Thank you for all of the wonderful patterns and tips you share so generously.
It is my pleasure Suzanne, Happy sewing!
I downloaded the pattern but my tablet crashed. Husband gave me a new tablet so how do I get the pattern again?
Hi, Martha, very easy, first you kiss your very generous husband, second you will find your pattern on “my pattern library in your Craftsy account. Enjoy your new table and pattern.
Now I’m on the correct page! I love the look of this flowing t-shirt. I have lost all the weight I wanted to lose, and then some. I just think it would feel so good on the skin. I’m thinking of making it up in Telio (fabric.com) ITY. Whatcha think?
Hello Cheryl, Personally, I would go for Telio.
I think, if you folded both selvage edges to the center (this makes a fold on each edge) you could make the T shirt without a seam.
An excellent point Glenda, but my fabric was not wide enough.
Wish you had it in larger sizes.
HI Cindy, check the finished garment measurements, you could still work with it? If not send me your bust and bicep measurement and I will be able to add it to the video on how to grade the top larger.
I have a similar pattern that I love! It has a button instead of a tie. It would be an easy change for anyone that wants a variation. I have a lot of light poly knits to use up. May try it with one of them.
I love this pattern. I just started working for a shop that sells sewing machines and there is a lot of lifting and this looks really roomy for that type of work.
I do have a question, how do I print the pattern that is just one size. I buy from other places that set their patterns up so you can print the size you want. I may have missed this in your instructions.
Thank you for your help
Mayra, I have to write and tell you how kind you are to respond to Sarah this way. These days especially, we need demonstrations of respect and concern for others, and one person, like you, can start a ripple that reaches around the world. Thank you so much.
Oh, and your non-T-shirt is lovely! Most of us women don’t look that good in most T-shirts–they really don’t do that much for us–but this one you came up with for Sarah is really pretty. I’m keeping the pattern to adapt for myself!
I agree, what a great way to acknowledge a fellow human being by gifting and sharing through sewing. Through sewing, we can push our limits and create what we want or would like. Another beautifully drafted pattern from Mayra!
Mayra, you do good work. I have used many of your patterns and learned a lot along the way. I now sew for family….paying it forward. Thanks again 🙂
I like this for a modest top over leggings, skinny crops or capris. Super cute. It also would look cute with a belt to add shape if you are having a confident day. Lots of options. Thanks.
Indeed, Steff, that is exactly what I had in mind, I even use it at the gym with leggings.
I have been looking through your patterns and tutorials (not just this one) and have a question only slightly related to this particular pattern. You mentioned the woman who was struggling with feeling good in her clothes while losing weight. I would LOVE to make a pencil skirt using your pattern and even more things for Spring. However, it has been a very long time since I have worn skirts. I am nervous about selecting a flattering skirt length (been strictly a jeans person for years) AND worse yet, I am wondering if women nowadays tend to wear a “shaping garment” (such as SPANX) under their skirts or do they just accept the “jiggle?” Even thin women juggle a bit in skirts normally. Also – I love, love, LOVE your patterns, tutorials, etc. Thank you for all the help you give people worldwide.
Thank you, Shirley! The reason SPANX is so popular is that is the number one garment worn at the Oscars under all those amazing frocks. I personally can not wear SPANX because I find it hard to breathe. However, there are many types of shapewear that will smooth out the bumps and bulges that are making you hesitated to use a skirt. Pencil skirts are ideal to make you feel confident once you have lost a bit of weight. The length will depend on your height. I will make a post about this because I think many will benefit from your questions. Stay Tuned 🙂
Me encantó este modelo. Te felicito por ser tan creativa. Mil gracias por compartir. No soy muy dada a hacer ropa, pero has compartido modelos que me han animado a hacerme algunas piezas sencillas. Gracias por eso. Saludos de una fan en Venezuela
Just wondering what the length is? I can never find shirts long enough to wear with leggings.
Hi Regina, this top is very easy to lengthen I will put the link, on how to do it. It is long enough for leggings but then again how tall are you?
I wonder if we can alter this to make a dress?
Hi Emily, anything is possible.
I am not able to wear rayon (skin allergy). Is there another fabric that you would recommend for this?
I would recommend bamboo or linen knit. Both are very soft and natural.
If you have difficulty with rayon, you may have problems with bamboo-based fibers, too, as the fabrics produced from bamboo are often similar (and some newer rayons are made from bamboo). Perhaps a soft, lightweight cotton or washable silk knit will be more comfortable and just as easy to sew. Cotton is usually easier to care for than linen or rayon. Washable silk knits can feel very luxurious and are durable, but are a little more slippery to handle. There are also some newer polyester knits that are more breathable than those made in the past that may work for you, if you can tolerate polyesters.
On page 2 of the pattern instructions it says, “Also note that you will need to cut two straps at 4 inches by 22 inches, for which no pattern piece is supplied – it’s just a rectangle!” I cannot find anything in the sewing instructions about using this piece. In the picture above showing the pattern layout there is a front facing. I cannot find where this is used either. Other than that this looks like a great pattern!
Sorry, that is a typo, those are instructions for another pattern. I will have to delete the PDF and reload it again, then you will be sent a message to reprint the pattern because something is changed. That is why I have not bothered to do it. The pattern is fine do not cut any straps.
What a terrific design especially for those of us with a few more curves. Thanks for thinking of us. Love, Jen
Can you do a summer tank with yoke, like New Look 6871?
Like the look of softly flowing center inverted pleat and a yoke is nice for using coordinating fabrics, lace, trims etc.
This is a wonderful pattern for those of us who have chronic pain issues–it just floats over your skin. Because knits cause pain issues I use hankerchief linen or a very light linen and it works wonderfully. Thank you for sharing your designs.
Can this pattern be used with a woven fabric? If yes, are there modifications needed? Knits are typically hot. I would like to use cotton or linen.
I used a rayon and cotton knit and live in Singapore (always hot here), it is very comfortable, but if you want to use it on a woven make sure the size you choose will be comfortable around the armhole and that the fabric drapes well, If you use linen I strongly recommend to pick a very soft type so it is not bulky. I would love to see your final product. Cheers!
Gorgeous fabric Mayra and a lovely relaxed style of top. I’ve featured your fab t-shirt today.
This is a nice pattern for women who like fuller styled tops. However, I think someone who isn’t that body type might think they’re wearing a caftan.
I noticed the bottom of the shirt photo in my email looks to be knotted to one side but the website photo shows it hanging loose.
Perhaps the knotted option looks more attractive on slimmer women.
Hi Marlette, yes, you can either tie it, use a belt or let the top hang loose depending on the occasion and the look you’re aiming for.
I can’t access the pattern either – just get a blank aqua page……
Hi Suzanne, please try again. Sewing4free.com got a huge amount of traffic when we launched that pattern and sometimes the server struggled to keep up I think. We’ve upgraded the server and added more memory this afternoon so should all be fine now. Here’s the link: http://sewing4free.com/peek-a-boo-a-free-easy-t-shirt-pattern/
Thanks Mayra. At first it looked as if I was still going to have a problem (aqua screen again) but I refreshed and the pattern appeared!
What about if I’m not so curvy?…
Hi Melinda, the top is meant to be worn loose so it would probably be OK. You could also just take it in a little depending on your size. However, this design is purposely for the curvy girls who don’t always have patterns made specifically for them. Hope you understand.
Sorry, but the pattern did not show up when using the link….
Hi Ellen, please try again. Sewing4free.com got a huge amount of traffic when we launched that pattern and sometimes the server struggled to keep up I think. Here’s the link: http://sewing4free.com/peek-a-boo-a-free-easy-t-shirt-pattern/
How wonderful!!! I really like the generous proportions on the bottom of the top. Comfort and style for us curvier women. I believe this is a slam dunk. 🙂
Thank you for sharing this pattern! I need about a million of these shirts for myself! I’ve got a Craft Gossip post scheduled for tomorrow that features your free pattern: http://sewing.craftgossip.com/?p=87086 –Anne
Hi Tried to download the free pattern but the page could not be found. Can you help?
Hi Zuzette, please try again. Sewing4free.com got a huge amount of traffic when we launched that pattern and sometimes the server struggled to keep up I think. Here’s the link: http://sewing4free.com/peek-a-boo-a-free-easy-t-shirt-pattern/
Thanks SEW much! I just printed my pattern, I SEW look forward to making this!
Thanks Dara. Let us know how you go!
Love it! Did you use a regular woven bias tape or did you make some from the jersey knit?
Hi Brenda, I actually used woven bias tape, but you could use either. With the woven, it is less stretchy with the ties and I think it adds a bit more structure to the t-shirt. Let us know what you decide to try. Happy sewing!