Every Day Shirts for Little Boys

boy shirts

UPDATE: I’ve added the pattern I drafted for a 4T to the end of this post for those of you without onsies- check out Dana’s advice on how to make it bigger if you are trying to size up)

When I started planning for this week my goal was to sew for the little man. After all in every day sewing easy to find girl fabrics and fast to put together clothes tend to have me sewing for her, and not him.

Near the end of last week I looked at my stack of patterns and fabrics and realized I had somehow done it again… So I went on the search and found this great shirt tutorial for a “90 minute shirt” from MADE. Perfect! (I’m going to run through a fun variation on the bottom of this post.) The kicker is I still needed fabric.

Well it turns out I have yards and yards of casual boy fabric in my house. Want to know where?

My husband is a marathoner. And not a casual one. The count is somewhere near a dozen and he is registered to complete his second full length Ironman next fall. Those are the big races, people who have (or are) runners in their lives know this means the shorter distance races in between those add up way past the point of keeping track. What does this have to do with fabric? Almost all of those races come with a T-shirt. We have Tupperwares full of race day T-shirts. He decided to part with like 8 of them this past weekend (baby steps).

boys shirt

The HUGE benefit of upcycling T-shirts is my hemming is cut down to almost nothing! You simply steal the hems from your existing shirt.

Dana at MADE runs through a tutorial on drafting and creating this pattern on her site. The best part is it can be tweaked a bunch of different ways, and it’s a little more interesting than a basic T. Big win for boys!

The body of this shirt is drafted off an existing onsie, I was nervous because the onsie I found (that I was willing to chop up) was MUCH smaller than his current size. Her tips on this worked like a charm! There are directions on drafting a sleeve also, but I never seem to get that shape just right free hand. So I have a couple go-to pattern pieces in my cupboard including a basic sleeve that I know fits him. I pulled that out. Time saver!

I made shirts to fit a 4T. An XL Man’s shirt would probably work just fine. I was working around a lot of advertising on the backs, so it was a bit tight for me. I wanted the logo on the sleeve of the red T so Cub is just going to get a shout out too!

Here is how I created my Layer T-shirt Sleeve:

diy boys shirtI didn’t think to take pictures the first go, so I apologize the fabric below doesn’t make for the clearest pictures!

I started with the sleeve chopped from a T-shirt and my sleeve pattern.

boys shirt

I folded my sleeve pattern up so I was left with a short sleeve. Line up the new bottom of your pattern with the bottom of the existing sleeve, hem done.

boys shirt*Remember this is only half a sleeve, so I traced and then mirrored my pattern. Don’t draw down your center line.

Your sleeve will look like this:

boys shirt

Now you’ll cut the bottom layer. I folded my sleeve pattern the other direction. Now the bottom of the sleeve is being cut. Remember you’ll need room to overlap and still maintain your sleeve length. I lined this piece up with an existing hem also.

boys shirt

Sew both pieces into a tube. Right sides together.

boys shirt

Now we’re going to attach them. Flip your short sleeve right side OUT. Keep your long sleeve wrong side OUT. Put your long sleeve inside your short sleeve. I stitched over the existing hem in the black sleeve to attach the two pieces.

boys shirt

Can you see the hem lines? Make sure you are stitching your raw edge of the long sleeve inside the short sleeve hem.

Once you have the stitch line in simply pull the long sleeve down through the short sleeve.

boys shirtAnd then you’ll end up with a “layered sleeve”! No hemming needed.

boys shirt

Treat it just like you would any other sleeve!

I winged this, but it worked great for me- do you have another method for layered sleeves in boy’s shirts? Tell us about it in the comments.

Want to join Kids Clothes Sewing Challenge? It’s only day two there is still time! Find it HERE.

Find my 4T template 4T shirt template. I kept each pattern piece to one sheet of paper so you’ll have to draft the bottom few inches of each piece there are measurements included.  Please remember this isn’t my design, it’s based on the tutorial HERE so all of her terms of use will apply. Thanks!

Happy Sewing,


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