How to Make Your Own Shirt without a Sewing Machine
For a new experience in personal designer clothing, you can make your own shirt even if you do not own a sewing machine. Shirts can be various styles and you can opt for gillie, pirate, casual or dress shirts depending on your preference and your sewing experience. If it is a costume you are making, then it is not as important to be as precise as if you are making a shirt for every day wear.
Step 1 – Pattern Marking
Set out the fabric on a flat level surface and place the pattern down flat and on top of the fabric. Tack the pattern to the fabric along the dotted lines of the pattern paper. Secure it with the tacks at least every two inches and make sure that the fabric remains as flat against the pattern paper as possible, otherwise you might end up with bunching in the middle.
Step 2 – Cutting
Once you have completed tacking the pattern to the fabric, take the scissors and cut around the very edge of the pattern. Cut both the fabric and the pattern at the same time and stay within the guidelines. These lines are dotted lines which indicate the spare material that will become the hems. You should end up with the back, the two halves of the front, the two pieces for the sleeves, the two cuff pieces and the collar.
Step 3 – Tacking the Body
Begin tacking the body together. Take the two front sides and tack the inner seams together. You should end up with three pieces tacked together by two seams. When laid out flat the middle piece will be the back of the shirt and the two sides will be the front two halves of the shirt.
Step 4 – Sleeves, Cuffs and Collar
Tack the sleeves together as far as the pattern states to. You will need to make room for the gap which appears before the cuff. Tack the hem of the gap back. Take the two cuff pieces and follow the pattern instructions for them. All cuffs will differ according to the style of shirt. You may need to starch the cuffs and collar, depending on the style, also.
Step 5 – Sewing the Shirt Together
Follow the suggested order for putting the shirt together, according to the instructions. Thread the needle with enough cotton to last the length of one whole seam. Sew the seams with tight knit stitches so that you do not end up with gaps and holes in your shirt seams when you are finished. The general stitching that a sewing machine would achieve would be a double running stitch, going from over to under and under to over. In the absence of a sewing machine do a running stitch one way and then turn around and come back the other way covering all the gaps in between the previously sewed stitches. Assemble the shirt piece by piece, sewing them in the same way with the running stitches.