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Tutorial: How to add a bottom band to a basic t-shirt

This is it! The last installment in this round of t-shirt hacks.  And we’re wrapping it up with a simple hem modification — as I’ve said before, changing hemlines is possibly the easiest way to mix up a pattern.  Today we’re simply adding a band to finish the bottom of our t-shirt.

Creative Counselor: Banded hem t-shirt


Modify Your Pattern:

1.  This hack doesn’t technically need a flat pattern modification.  You can easily just calculate the dimensions of your band and cut a square.  But regardless, the first thing you need to know is how long to make your band.  And for that, you need to know the total width of your hemline.  I didn’t want to add length to this shirt, which means that I needed to remove some length from my bodice pieces.  I knew I wanted a 2″ band and my pattern included a 1″ hem allowance.  So I folded up the bottom of my flat pattern pieces by 2.5″ on the front and back bodice.  (That is removing 3″ total of length and adding back in a 1/2″ seam allowance).

Creative Counselor: Banded hem t-shirt

2.  Now measure the total width of the new hem.  That will mean measuring the bottom of both your pattern pieces, subtracting out the allowance, and then doubling it.  On my pattern pieces, that measurement ended up right at 37″.

3.  Calculate your band.  I wanted a 2″ band, so the height of the band piece was easy.  I took 2″, multiplied it by 2 (since it will be folded), and then added 1/2″ seam allowance to each side.  That means my band piece was 5″ high.  For the width, I subtracted 2″ from the 37″ hem width and then added seam allowance to each side (37-2=35+1=36).  That means my full band piece needs to be 36″ wide by 5″ high.  And since I like to cut things like this on the fold, I cut a new band piece that is 18″ wide by 5″ high, cut on the fold.

Creative Counselor: Banded hem t-shirt

Construct Your Shirt:

1.  Construct your shirt according to the pattern instructions (or whatever hack you choose to follow), until you get to the hemming part.  Once you get to hemming, attaching the hem band is exactly the same method you would use to attach the neckband!

2.  Sew the short ends of your band, right sides together.  Press the seam, and then fold the band lengthwise, wrong sides together, and press.

3.  Mark the quarter points on your band and also on your shirt.  Line up the quarter points on the band and the shirt with the raw edges lined up.

4.  Sew the band to the hem, stretching the band slightly to fit the hem.

5.  Press the band down, and topstitch if desired.

Creative Counselor: Banded hem t-shirt

If you’ve enjoyed hacking one basic pattern, don’t let the end of this series stop you!  There are only so many tutorials I can do at once, but the hacking possibilities are practically endless.  Here are some others I thought about:

  • Add length (and maybe a bit of width) to the hem to make a t-shirt dress.
  • Make multiple cuts from the hemline up to the neckline and spread the pattern out to make a swing top.
  • Change the set-in sleeves to raglan sleeves.
  • Take the neckband piece and make it several inches taller for a scarf-neck tee.
  • Make cuts up from the sleeve hem up to the sleeve cap and spread the sleeve piece for a flutter sleeve.
  • Use my V-neck tutorial, and extend the V all the way to the side seam.  Cut two front bodices for a faux wrap.
  • Cut the bodice off at the waist and add a skirt of your choice.  A circle skirt would make a great skater dress, or you could go with a simple gathered skirt.
  • Add some length to the shirt, and add a kangaroo pocket.

I could go on — if you have other hacks that you’d love to try, mention them in the comments!

And don’t forget that you can pick up the Only Tee (affiliate link) for 35% off with the code “B2B” and be sure to link up your basic makes here.

All fabrics in this post are sponsored by Simply by Ti Fabrics.

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