Hacking your Favorite T Shirt Pattern

Today we continue our pattern hacks with a great way to breath new life into your favorite T-shirt pattern.  If you are looking for a fun shirt pattern to add to your repertoire, check out the EBTKS Henley - it is a unisex pattern with a ton of options included.


A good basic T-shirt pattern is a great one to have in your pattern collections. Today I’ll be sharing a quick and easy tutorial on how to change your basic t-shirt into a more flared shit with a hi-low hem. I will be using the Everything But The Kitchen Sink Henley from WinterWear Designs for this tutorial, but you can use whichever pattern you have in your collection….or you could by the pattern I’m using because it is already full of so many options.

I know lots of tutorials suggest that you trace around a t-shirt you already own to make your pattern pieces initially, but I have to admit, for me I would rather use a pattern and alter it. When I pay for a pattern, especially when it is a knit one, I am paying for the fit across the chest, around the neckhole, the sleeve and armsycles and the length. These are the things of value for me in a real pattern rather than one you just make from a pre existing tshirt, and if they are a little off, which is what happens most of the time when you make a pattern from pre existing clothing versus traditional pattern making, to me it just doesn’t sit as well in the areas I mentioned above. Anyway, now that I’ve got that off my chest, let’s get started!! Take your pattern pieces, mine are below.I  am just using the variation in the pattern for a basic t-shirt.

Next we are going to change the shape of the t-shirt. Grab your front pattern piece. Place a dot about an inch out from the bottom of the hemline. Draw a line directly from the bottom of that armhole seam to the dot. This will be your new side seam.

To get a hi low hemline, mark a point on your pattern piece about 1 inch up from the hemline on the edge of the piece that sits on the fold of the fabric. Draw a curved line down and along until it meets the side seam.

Repeat the process for the side seam for the back pattern pieces.

To get a hi low hemline, take a point directly below the middle edge of the pattern piece (mine is about 1.5 inches below) and curve it up to meet the bottom of the new side seam.

You now have two new pattern pieces and can cut your fabric as per the pattern directions.

Next, sew your pieces according to the pattern instructions. The only tricky thing to look out for is the hem - we have cut it on a curve, which can make it very easy to stretch out of shape when hemming. Hem using the pattern directions but do it carefully and feed the fabric through your machine without stretching it, so that the hem sits nicely. If you do stretch it a little, blast the life out of it with some steam - steam is really good at helping snap knit fibers back into place when they have been stretched.

And there you have it - another look for your t-shirt pattern, making it even better value for money. And whilst I would have loved to get a pretty picture...sometimes you just cannot get three years olds to cooperate no matter what you try. If you know the secret, please let me know!! Thanks for reading along.