How I copied a shirt - DIY

How I copied a shirt - DIY


This is how I copied a shirt. There is this shirt that I really love. It fits well and it looks good on me. One of those rare few. I wanted more of this kind of shirt but I wasn't able to locate any more.

So using the skills that I have and what I have learned recently I set about to copy this shirt so that I can have as many as I want in all the different fabrics that I want.

Here is the before.

The Front of the Shirt


Back of The Shirt

This is what I did. I found in Home Depot these clear garbage bags. I use them to copy off the shirt. I just cut it open so that it was a large flat sheet of plastic.  I then laid out my shirt as flat as I could get it. There was some manipulation of the shirt to get it to lay as flat as possible. I found that if I tuck one half into the other half it lays a bit flatter.

Once you have the shirt laying as flat as possible, here for the pictures I am using the facing as a demonstration, you then lay your plastic over the part that you are copying. Smooth out all the wrinkles and pin it down.

Starting out

Then trace around the piece marking where the seam lines are. You will go back in later and add seam allowances.

Copied facing

Here is a close up of what it should look like. Also remember to mark anything like button holes so that when the shirt comes together you have that information already and you don't have to go digging for it.

Close up of facing

Once you have everything marked you can then cut out the plastic. Don't cut on the line. Cut around the piece leaving about two inches around.

I found a roll of this paper at Home Depot in the painting section. I was walking by and it caught my eye. It is the kind of paper that painters put down on the floor of a house to walk on so that the floor stays clean. It works wonderfully for pattern paper.

Lay your plastic pattern on the paper and trace around. I used my tracing wheel but I am sure you could use a pen to help you. You just need something that will make marks through the plastic onto the paper.

Tracing the pattern

Like these marks. I know that they are a bit hard to see but if you look real close and near my pencil marks you can see little holes in the paper. That was my tracing wheel poking holes through the plastic and onto the paper. I then went and using a pencil marked the lines.

Once I had everything marked in pencil I went back and cleaned up the marks and straightened out my lines as best as I could.

Marks in the paper

Here are the parts of my shirt that I copied.  For the sleeve I had to fold the sleeve in half and copy, marking the middle and which side is what. Then I just flipped the sleeve over, lined up the marks and finished copying the rest of the sleeve.

Copying the sleeve

For the front and the back where you have darts you will have to play with it a bit. I marked the straight lines first. So the top, center front or back to the dart. I also mark the dart itself. I then pinch the plastic on either side of the dart so that it lines up the dart and mark the pinches so I have an accurate measurement on either side of the dart line for the dart. Then I pinch and pin it shut. Matching up my lines and finish marking the seam lines.

Always compare to the shirt that you have. I would hate for you to do all this work and then find that the shirt doesn't fit because you missed something.

Copying the front

Copying the collar

Close up of facing

Back of shirt

Back Yoke

Once you have all your pieces copied and transferred you can cut them out. This is where you will see if your marking are accurate. In the pictures below I have my patterns cut out without seam allowances. I will mark those on the fabric and cut them out that way. Keeping the allowances off my patterns allow me to align them to see how well I did and if there are any changes that need to be made before I cut the fabric. I want to make sure that all my seams line up and if there are any differences that I can make the adjustments in paper and not in fabric.

Make sure seams match

For these pictures I just used my flexible ruler to take accurate measurements around the shoulder first and then around the sleeve.

Measuring each seam

I want to make sure that they match as closely as possible to the shirt. I do this with the collar, side seams, around the shoulder and sleeve, and the facing. If anything is off even by a little bit it will mess up the entire shirt when you try to sew it together.

Making sure they match as close as possible.

Once my pattern is perfected I then trace my patterns onto the fabric, add seam allowances on the fabric and cut the fabric out. Then you put the fabric together.

And here is the after.

Blue and white polka dot shirt

It fits perfectly. I have a broad back and it fits across my back and the armholes which I have always had problems with fitting.

And now I have an awesome pattern to make more shirts with. Yay!!

Leave me comments below or ask any questions.

How I put together the shirt from a copy

How I put together the shirt from a copy

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