How To Sew A Shirt From Scratch

Shirts have become unisex apparel, as both men and women today adorn this sophisticated and formal attire to different places. While there are plenty of online and offline stores from where you can quickly grab a shirt for your day, there are ways in which you can sew a shirt from scratch. Yes, there is no rocket science, and you definitely don’t need to be a designer in order to sew a shirt from scratch. Read along with the articles as we share some of the best ways in which you can sew your own shirt or gift to your loved ones.

How to Sew A Shirt From Scratch

Sewing a shirt is easy as pie. You need to first cut the fabric in two halves according to the measurements. Again, you need to cut the fabric for the collar and sleeves according to your preference. Once you have cut all the material, follow the step by step guide to sewing the shirt.

Step By Step Guide To Stitch A Shirt

Now that you have decided to sew your own shirt, you need proper guidance to reach your destination. This step-by-step guide will help you in making a shirt in a few easy steps.

Materials To Be Used:

  • 2 yards cotton fabric (plain or patterned)
  • 10-12 plastic buttons
  • White thread
  • Extra strong thread

Tools Needed:

  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Buttonhole chisel
  • Iron
  • Sewing scissors

Step 1 – Cutting


Pre-wash the fabric before you start with the cutting process. Always straighten the edges before you draw the scissors. Now start cutting the material in two fronts (two sleeves, two collar blades and folds, two yolks and folds. Keep an extra fabric for the sleeve pocket. Make sure to mark the sleeve for placket placement.

Step 2 – Making Front Pockets and Plackets

Take the fabric left for the placket and cut two stripes (11/4” – standard measurement) from the front edge minus 5 inches. Press 1/2” under along the front edge and 11/4” topstitch it along the edges. Cut the pockets in the shape and size you want. Measure the shoulder and pin the pockets in the right place. Make sure to strengthen the stitch on top corners of the pocket.

Step 3 – Time For Yoke And Side Seams

Fold back the fabric in half and baste it 1”. Now open and press it to sandwich it between the yokes before sewing. Don’t forget to press the yokes away from both sides. Sew the front of yoke lining and topstitch the outer yoke.

Step 4 – The Collar and Buttons

the collar and buttons

Press a collar band to the collar blade and then press the seam allowance on the bottom edge. Sew the collar blades. Clip the corners and topstitch 1/8”. Now sandwich the collar blade in a collar band.

Before making the buttonholes try practising it on scraps. Mark the collar buttonhole which should be aligned with the placket’s centre line. Once you have prepared the buttonholes to mark the button placement, now sew the buttons on the right marking with extra strong threads. Sew ½” of the side seam allowance and trim back ¼” seam allowance.

Step 5 – Hem Up Your Shirt

Choose basting with the longest stitch and fold ¼” and again fold ¼” to sew with basting thread.

Step 6 – Sleeve Plackets

sleeve plackets

Cut placket pattern and match with the placket placement. Cut two stripes ¾” to 1” wide. Fold a corner and similarly the other, cut the folded marks and press interfacing. Press well and pin the plackets. Cut Y shaped corners, press under the seam allowance and fold the placket. Fold under the placket and topstitch down. Sew the underarm seams as well.

Step 7 – Time To Make Cuffs

Press seam allowance ½” of cuff pieces. Sew the interface and non-interface piece and trim the seam allowance. Fold the corners and give it a good press. Wrist edge must be longer than the cuffs. Pin the cuffs on sleeves and then sew it. Keep ½” space from the front edge of the cuff for the buttonhole. Pin your sleeves and sew near the armhole.

Give the shirt a proper run through and make sure everything is at the place. Cut out the extra thread and iron the shirt before putting it on.

Can You Sew A Shirt Without A Pattern?

can you sew a shirt without a pattern

A shirt pattern is what we call the measurements; it helps in making the work easier for you. But, you can definitely sew without a pattern, but that doesn’t mean you don’t follow the guide. If you don’t have a pattern, you can always take a peek into your wardrobe and pick out some of your old clothes for reference. You can disassemble them to see how they were put together. This will help in cutting your own fabric in the pattern.

If you haven’t stitched without a pattern ever, it is best advised to start with something basic and try simple shapes and designs. Also, taking some of the apparels that you have created earlier as a reference would be much better rather than the readymade ones. Try recreating it and understand how you can create apparels without a pattern.

Throughout the process, make sure the apparel has the wearing ease, and it does not etch to your body. Your cutting process should be entirely based on what the garment measurement is. If the traditional way doesn’t suit you, you can always take up a drafting course to better understand everything. There are many YouTube tutorials as well that can teach you the right way to go about it.

What is the Best Fabric and Printing Method For Shirts?

When you are planning to sew a shirt from scratch you would want to take things from scratch. Not only the sewing part but you can also decide the fabric and printing method for your shirt. When it comes to fabric for shirts, there are plenty of suitable options like cotton, organic cotton, polyester, linen, rayon, etc.

If you intend to add prints on your shirt, then you can use the DTG printing method which is long used for printing blank shirt fabrics. It is a printing method wherein you can print a design directly onto the fabric.

Whereas, in screen printing, you need to first create a virtual design on your system and then print it on your fabric via machine. It can become an extensive process, but you may find the precise design. DTG printing is a traditional yet effective method that most of the people prefer for shirt printing.

Related Questions

How To Sew Shirt Collars?

how to sew shirt collars

Sewing a shirt collar is no big deal, but you need that perfectly crisp collar. Start with attaching fusible interfacing to give a proper structure to the collar. Now sew the collar seam, make sure to mark properly before sewing. It is important to sew the shirt edges properly. Now trim the edge and turn it. Complete the collar by pressing it to give a more finished and crisper look.

How Long Does It Take To Sew A Shirt?

If you are sewing with a machine, it will hardly take an hour to make. In case you are hand stitching, you might want to take out some more time from your schedule. After cutting and arranging the pieces, sewing can take up to two hours.

Is It Cheaper To Sew Your Own Clothes?

People who are intrigued by the concept of designing clothes from scratch often have this question. When it comes to comparing the cost of store bought clothes and the fabric you need to stitch clothes, the latter one would cost you more. It is not just the fabric you need to make clothes; you will also need other raw materials as well like threads, patterns, designs, or embellishment, etc. Not to forget the time it will take up from your day. In terms of expenses, buying clothes is much cheaper than making them from scratch.




I'm Jessica Flores, a professional fashion designer and an expert seamstress. Crafting has always been a deep-seated passion of mine, one that has flourished and evolved over the years. I've dedicated considerable time to both studying and practicing in the realm of fashion and sewing, amassing a wealth of experience and skills. It brings me great joy to share these insights and experiences with you all, hoping to inspire and foster a similar passion for the art of sewing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *