Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Tee Shirt Nightgown Tutorial

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Our Crafting Hope group is going to be making summer pajamas for kids that are staying with their Momma's at the county Women's Shelter.  I posted earlier about the generous pattern donation from Peek a Boo Patterns. I think those will be awesome pj for the kiddos. But I wanted a less intimidating option for those with a bit less sewing experience so I drafted up this tutorial for a quick nightgown out of an adult tee shirt.
This is my friend, Jessica's daughter. Isn't she adorable? Jess is an amazing painter and awesome seamstress with great style and an even greater heart. She's been my partner in crime in this Crafting Hope venture from the start. Thanks Jess!  If you haven't ever, check out her blog and her Etsy stores, k?

Here's what you need to make this quick little nightgown:
  • One Adult sized tee shirt. I used a mens 2XL. You could probably get away with using a smaller shirt if you have a smaller kiddo.  The nightgown I made was a girls size 8 and the length from the 2XL was just right.
  • Matching thread
  • A ball point needle -- it's not a deal breaker if you don't have one but it will make sewing the knit fabric that much easier for you
  • Your sewing machine and basic sewing supplies
  • A tee shirt that fits your child (or a basic bodice pattern)

Cutting out your pieces:
  1. Fold your tee shirt in half. Do your best to make sure all of the wrinkles are out and everything is good and even. This can be difficult if you are using a tee shirt that is worn and stretched out. Just do your best.  It's a nightgown, so it doesn't have to be perfect. I bought this tee for my husband in his early days of youth ministry when we were lobbying for a 15 passenger van to haul the students around in. It says, "Church vans move me" and it still makes me chuckle. Don't judge.
  2. Once your adult tee is folded in half, fold your kids tee in half and place it on top of the adult tee. You are going to use this as a template for cutting out your nightgown.  You can see, I put the collar of the kids tee right under the collar of the adult tee so I could take advantage of the entire length of the shirt.
  3. Take a deep breath. . . you are going to cut a basic A-line shape from the bottom of the tee shirt up to the arm pit area of the kid's shirt you're using as your pattern.  If it makes you feel better, you could use a marker to mark the line before you cut but again, this is a nightgown and doesn't require perfection.  You can make a wide A-line or a narrow A-line. That's all a matter of preference. I made mine fairly narrow because I don't like the idea of a lot of fabric flapping around. But that's just me.
  4. Now, tuck the sleeve of your tee shirt up and get a feel for how the arm hole is curved. You are going to cut a very similar line from the arm pit up to the shoulder. 
  5. Cut across the top of the shoulder following the shoulder line of your tee shirt.  Give yourself about an extra 1/2" above the tee shirt shoulder so that you have room for your seam allowance.
  6. Finally, cut from the top edge of the shoulder down in a gentle curve along the kid's shirt neck hole. Give your kid back their tee shirt.  Separate the front of the nightgown from the back.
    On the front neckline, cut a slightly deeper arch.  You do not need to account for seam allowances along the neck or the arm holes because you will be binding them.
  7. Very carefully, cut the ribbed neck band off of the adult tee. You could take the time to pick out the stitches to remove it if you prefer but I didn't want to take the time. You will use this around the neck of your nightgown.
  8. Cut two strips of fabric that are 1 1/2" wide from the widest part of the adult tee sleeve.  You will use these to bind the arm holes.
Sewing things together:
  1. It is best to use a ballpoint needle when sewing knits. Also, you will want to use a very narrow zig zag stitch. This will allow the stitches to move and stretch with the fabric.  A normal straight stitch will break. With all that in mind, put right sides together and sew the nightgown front to the nightgown back at one of the shoulder seams.
  2. Lay the nightgown out flat, right side up. Take the collar binding that you cut off of the adult shirt and pin it to the right side of the nightgown (raw edges together). Sew the neck binding onto the nightgown with a 1/4" seam allowance. Cut off any extra binding. Press the binding up.  
    Top stich the neckline just under the binding seam.
    Make sure you use your small zig zag stitch since this is the one place on the night gown that will get the most stretching.
  3. Pin, right sides together, at the second shoulder seam. Be sure you match up the edge of the neck binding and the neck binding seam. Sew the shoulder seam.
  4. Take one of your 1 1/2" strips and fold it in half, wrong sides together. Iron.  Pin the binding on one of the arm holes, raw edges and right sides together. Sew the binding on with a 1/4" seam allowance. Trim excess binding. Repeat for the second arm.
    Iron seam bindings flat.
    Top stitch.
  5. With right sides together, pin and sew up the side seams of the nightgown. I use about a 1/2" seam allowance. Turn rightside out and you are done!
Since you used the hem of the adult shirt as the bottom of your nightgown you have no hemming. And because knit doesn't fray you don't need to worry about finishing any of your seams.  Once you've made one of these and learned the process you should be able to whip them out pretty quickly.

Please let me know if you have any questions or any points need clarification.  If you leave a question in the comments, make sure you are not a no reply commenter or leave an e-mail address where I can answer you.


1 comment:

  1. Seriously LOVE this, Linds! And I'm cracking up at that T. :) Love my ladies in this post - all of 'em!