It's summer. It's hot. And all your doll wants to wear is a simple T-shirt and a pair of jeans or shorts. While preparing the last "Kenswear" report, I was quite surprised to find I had never done a tutorial on making Ken a proper T-shirt. Far away from the extravagance of Haute Couture and all the other fancy duds, the T-shirt is an ubiquitous fashion staple. There is, however, a lot to making a perfectly fitting T-shirt. Since all of my guys need T's and tanks to wear under their blazers, jackets or--now in mid-summer--all alone with shorts, I took my time to make the perfect pattern.
One thing to note: the items on this page have no back closure. So when planning the neckline, you will need to insure your garment will fit over the doll's head. Should you decide you want a crew neckline or that you want to get him in and out of this garment more easily, you will need to plan a seam down the back, and close it with velcro--the way Mattel makes its dolly T-shirts.
2. Here is a back view of what it will look like on the back
3. Draw a line down the center front of the doll on the fabric. Also, design your neckline. Since this is a tank top, I've made a scoop neckline down to the middle of his bust line. Note: A photo of an actual tank top will help you gauge out deep you should design your neckline and armholes. Unless you plan to skip the trim, be sure to cut a little deeper than what you want because you will add the knit trim later. Cut away some of the fabric around the neck so that you can work better.
4. Draw around his arms. Then mark where the side seams should meet.
5. Take a second square of fabric and tape to the doll's back to hold in place while you work. Un-tape the front and carefully, fold it over the back at the sides.
6. Mark where they join at the sides
7. Pin the front to the back at the shoulders.
9. Draw the center back line in the center of the doll.
11. Cut away any excess of fabric around the neck or armholes.
12. Pin your shirt together to check for fit. Be sure to mark the hemline. Now remove from the doll.
14. Put tracing paper over each pattern and trace off.
15. Fold along the Center Front line.
17. Open the pattern and verify. Make corrections. Just be sure each side is symmetrical to the other.
18. Now overlay the front to the back and check to make sure the shoulders and the sides match and are of the same length.
You could stop there and simply turn down the edge (or leave it rough). Lamar, in the opening photo, sports a simple tank made from a rayon/lycra knit. Since the edges don't ravel, I've left the edges along. Otherwise, continue on for Marlon Brando "Streetcar Named Desire" classic tank.
21. Once I've removed this trim from a T-shirt, I fold it in half then carefully press it. (Press without scrubbing so you don't overstretch the trim.)
23. Fold the armhole edges over and glue in place.
24. Carefully pat so as not to stretch.
26. For a circular neckline, I take my knit trim and begin pinning it, starting at the center back, then around the neckline. When you finish, simply overlap the trim slightly at the center back. Take the time to adjust everything, making sure nothing is stretched and that the knit is fairly uniform around the neckline.
Here is a closeup view of what the finished result will look like.
27. When you have finished, take your iron and carefully press (don't scrub) the neckline.
28. Sew one side seam. Then turn up your hem. Check to make sure the edges will match once the other side is stitched. Adjust if necessary, then glue or stitch down. Sew the other side. Press out the seams.
Again, what distinguishes a real T-shirt from an ordinary top is the ribbed knit edge. This also helps to keep the neckline from prematurely stretching out.
I've not added a logo or clip art to Sean and Zak's T-shirts, but here is where you can have fun with iron-on decals or stickers
Trace off the top, from armhole to armhole. I lowered the armhole by 1/4 inch (5mm). From the bottom of each armhole I drop a straight line down to the hemline. (I added an addition 1/2 inch (1cm) to the bottom of my sloper.)
2. Cut in the neckline. I've chosen a V neck which is about 1-inch (2cm) from the bottom of the neck of the original sloper. I also lowered the neckline in the back by 1/4-inch (5mm)
3. Add seam allowance.
4. Make a sleeve pattern. Put the front and back slopers together at the neckline/armhole point. Angle them so that there is a wedge opening of 1/4" (5mm) at the top.
Draw a straight line (red) from the apex of that V-opening.
5. Trace the armhole of the front and back + 1/4" (5mm) on each side.
6. Decide on the length of the sleeve. Here, I've drawn 1" (2 cm) lines down from each point. The lines you draw should be parallel to that straight (red) line. The shape this forms is now your sleeve.
7. Add seam allowance.
Because this is a V-neck, my start point for adding the trim is at the lower point of the V. As with the Tank top, I folded under the edge and glued them in place. I start at the bottom of the V, pinning the trim around the neckline, being careful not to stretch the trim nor the neckline. The end point of the trim is simply overlapped over the start point. You can stitch them together at the back.
HIP HOP HOT
My oversized T-shirt from the menswear report was certainly noticed. Getting the look was super easy!
You can either make a note to lay out this pattern so that the top of the pattern falls on the fold of the fabric, or you can create a simple pattern piece by tracing off the T, then flipping it vertically and adding it to the original pattern at the shoulders like the pattern you see above. Fold the edges over and close with hook and eye.You can also turn it into a tunic by leaving the seams at the sides from the midpoint down.
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