This basic pattern is assuming you’re using fabric with high lycra or spandex content, or knit fabrics with a lot of stretch but that spring back into shape well after stretching. Stretch fabrics are trickier to work with, so get a little extra to practice your stitches. See the Fabric section in Part 1 for tips on working with stretch fabric.
First we are going to make some adjustments to measurements. I’ll give instructions based on a scoop neckline, but you can substitute other necklines if you'd like. Eventually I'll get around to posting some, but until then there's google!
· Add ½” to your Length from Waist to Hips. We’ll call this number “I”.
· Measure the distrance between “B” and the top of the shoulder. Add ½” and we’ll call this number “J”
Fold your test fabric in half so that the stretchiest part is running horizontally. Sketch out the following shape to the measurements you wrote down earlier. (Trace and cut on the bold red lines. Approximate the general shape; doesn’t have to be exact)
Cut out two copies of the shape you’ve traced. Because you’ve cut it on the fold you should now have two symmetrical pieces for the front and back of the shirt. Unfold them and lay them together with the right side (the side you want showing when you wear them) together.
Now we’re going to construct sleeves. We’re assuming long sleeves, but to make them shorter simple adjust the length.
Sleeves have a rounded end that allows them to fit over the shoulder without bunching under the arm.
We’re going to use the following measurments:
Upper Arm circumference (where it joins shoulder, arm down at side), plus 1” (we’ll call this number “K” )
Middle arm circumference: (bicep) plus ½” (we’ll call this number “L”)
Arm length (Shoulder to wrist, arm relaxed at side) (we’ll call this number “M”)
The basic shape for a long sleeve is this:
If you’re working with a commercial pattern you’ll have a set shape to cut out, but if not then you’ll have to do some trial and error to make the sleeve fit the shirt. The rounded end should match up with the edge of the armhole on the shirt, plus 1” for a seam allowance.
My favorite method to find the right fit is to fold the right side of the fabric together, in half at line “M” in the drawing above. Lay the shirt as constructed so far flat on the table. Line the fold up with the seam at the top and use pins or basting stitches to attach the sleeve to the sleeve opening, using a ½” seam allowance on both sides. When you reach the side seam of the shirt, mark both pieces of the the sleeve fabric with a pencil or chalk where they will meet.
Unpin the sleeve fabric and lay it flat but still folded so that the marks are visible. Draw a line ½” below the mark, down the end of the sleeve. Cut along this line.
Draw another line at the mark itself. Stitch down this line to sew the sleeve into a tube.
Re-pin the sleeve back onto the shirt, lining up the sleeve seam and the side seam of the shirt. Use a basting stitch to attach the sleeve and check it for fit. Once you’ve adjusted it, stitch over the basting stitches, then remove the basting stitches.
Finish the sleeve with either a rolled hem (fold up 1/4" then again 1/4" to tuck the raw edge under, then stitch) or french hem at the cuff. A french hem means you'll have to add an additional inch onto the original sleeve length. Essentially you fold the hem under (to the wrong/seam side of fabric) 1 inch, then back over the top (right side of fabric) 1/2". This creates four layers of fabric but gives you a visible cuff.
Finish the bottom edge of the shirt with a rolled hem.
Finish the neckline with a rolled hem