D.I.Y. Square Shirts

Square shirts are the best.  They can be cropped and worn in layers or they can be longer like mod-mini-tent dresses.  They are a great style to wear while you transition from summer to fall and an easy way to get introduced to pattern making and sewing.  So, get out some pattern paper and your sewing machine and let's get started!

This is a tutorial for how to draft and sew a square shirt. Some light pattern making and sewing is required.
Materials you will needs:
  1. Pattern Paper (or a few large pieces of paper)
  2. Long Ruler
  3. Scissors
  4. Pencil
  5. Sewing Machine & Surger
  6. 2 Yards of Two-Way Stretch Jersey.
  7. Thread

A. Shirt Width: 32"
B. Neck Width: 9"
C. Front Neck Drop: 2"
D. Back Neck Drop: 2"
E. Armhole: 5 3/4"
F. Sleeve Opening at Wrist: 3"
G. Length for Cropped Top: 15"
H. Length for Long T-shirt: 24"
I. Length for Tent Dress: 30"
*These measurements are for a small/medium (but fits most) square shirt

  1. Start drafting your pattern by making a large rectangle in the dimensions of your square shirt - 32" wide by 30" long.
  2. Draw A line down the center front pattern piece for the body of the square shirt/tent dress.  You can use the same rectangular pattern piece for the front and back of your shirt.
  3. Mark a 5 3/4" opening on the  body pattern piece for the sleeve opening.  See the red marking in the diagram below
  4. Scoop the neck out for the body.  There should be a 9" wide front neck hole that is 2" deep at the center front/back and 0" at each edge.   
  5. To draft the sleeve, start by drawing a 12" x 10 3/4 rectangle.
  6. Draw a line down the center of the rectangle parallel to the 12" long side. 
  7. Measure 3 3/4 " out from the center line on either side and draw a line to the opposite side of the paper.  You should now have a trapazoid shape that measures: 11 1/2" x 12 x 7 1/2 x 12.
  8. The diagram below shows you what your pattern pieces should look like when you have finished drafting your patterns.
*This diagram is to scale for the tent dress version 32" wide by 30".

Now you are ready to cut out your pieces of fabric.
You will have:
1 pattern piece for the front/back body - 2 fabric pieces; one for the front and one for the back
1 pattern piece for the sleeve - 2 sleeves in fabric

Sew the pieces together with 3/8" seam allowance.

There are many ways to finish the hem, neck and sleeve openings.
I surged the edges of the neck, sleeve openings and hem.  Then I folded the neck edge under and top stitched the neck opening with a zig zag stitch about 1/4" from the edge.
I gave the hem and sleeves a 2" hem with a straight top stitch.

Detail of inside and outside of the neck hem with zig zag topstitching

Detail of the outside of hem with straight stitching for topstitching

Detail of the inside of the hem 

Other hemming options:
1) Leave all the edges raw
 2) Surge the edges and leave them like that 
 3) Use a double needle machine to finish your hem

Mini Tent Dress

Long Square Shirt

Cropped Square Shirt

And you can always leave the sleeves off....