How To Make Shirt Template

How To Make Shirt Template

How To Make Shirt Template

The Art of Crafting a Perfect Shirt Template: A Comprehensive Guide

In the realm of garment design, mastering the art of creating a shirt template is a cornerstone skill. Whether you’re an aspiring fashion designer or simply looking to customize your wardrobe, a well-crafted template serves as the foundation for countless shirt designs. This comprehensive guide will delve into every aspect of creating a shirt template in standard American English, providing detailed instructions and expert tips to help you achieve professional-quality results.

Understanding the Shirt Anatomy

Before embarking on the template-making process, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the anatomy of a shirt. This includes identifying the key components of a shirt pattern:

  • Front and Back Bodice: These pieces form the main body of the shirt, extending from the shoulders to the hem.
  • Sleeves: Attached to the bodice, sleeves come in various shapes and lengths, such as short sleeves, long sleeves, and sleeveless.
  • Collar: The collar frames the neckline and can vary in style, such as round neck, V-neck, or button-down collar.
  • Cuffs: Found at the ends of sleeves, cuffs provide a finished look and can be customized with different closures.
  • Placket: This strip of fabric runs down the center front of the shirt and conceals the buttonholes.
  • Hem: The bottom edge of the shirt, which can be straight, curved, or have slits for added movement.

Materials and Tools for Template Creation

To create a shirt template, you’ll need the following materials and equipment:

  • Tracing Paper or Muslin: A transparent or opaque material used for tracing the pattern pieces.
  • Ruler or Measuring Tape: For accurate measurements and straight lines.
  • Pencil or Fabric Marker: For drawing the template lines.
  • Scissors: For cutting out the template pieces.
  • Tape or Glue: For assembling the template pieces.

Step-by-Step Template Creation Process

Now that you’re equipped with the necessary materials, let’s dive into the step-by-step process of creating a shirt template:

1. Measure Your Body:

  • Take precise measurements of your chest, waist, hips, and shoulder width.
  • Refer to a standard sizing chart to determine your approximate size range.

2. Draft the Front Bodice:

  • Draw a vertical line to represent the center front of the shirt.
  • Measure and mark the neck point, shoulder point, and waistline on the vertical line.
  • Extend horizontal lines from these points to create the shoulder and waistline.
  • Draw curves to connect the neck point to the shoulder point and the shoulder point to the waistline, forming the neckline and shoulder slope.
  • Determine the desired chest width and draw a curve from the waistline to the center front line, parallel to the shoulder line.

3. Draft the Back Bodice:

  • Repeat the steps for drafting the front bodice, adjusting the curve of the neckline and shoulder slope to create a slightly wider and rounder back.
  • Align the side seams of the front and back bodices.

4. Create the Sleeves:

  • Measure the length and circumference of your arm.
  • Draw a rectangle for the sleeve, with the length along one side and half the circumference along the other.
  • Curve the top edge to fit the armscye (the opening on the bodice for the sleeve).
  • Add seam allowances to the edges of the sleeves.

5. Design the Collar:

  • Choose the desired collar style and draw it onto a separate piece of tracing paper or muslin.
  • Measure the length and width of the neckline and ensure that the collar fits snugly around it.

6. Draw the Cuffs:

  • Design the cuff style you want and draw it onto tracing paper or muslin.
  • Determine the circumference of the sleeve opening and add seam allowances to the edges of the cuff pattern.

7. Add Seam Allowances:

  • Draw seam allowances around all edges of the pattern pieces, typically ranging from 5/8" to 1" wide.

8. Assemble the Template:

  • Tape or glue the pattern pieces together, aligning the seam lines.
  • Cut out the assembled template along the seam allowances.

Tips for a Well-Fitted Template

  • Use a well-fitting existing shirt as a reference for measurements and proportions.
  • Incorporate your natural ease measurements into the template to ensure comfort and movement.
  • Test the fit of the template by sewing a muslin prototype before cutting into your final fabric.
  • Adjust and refine the template as needed until you achieve a perfect fit.

Advanced Techniques for Template Customization

Once you’ve mastered the basics of shirt template creation, you can venture into more advanced techniques to customize your designs:

  • Darting: Adding darts to areas like the bust or waist can refine the fit and create a more tailored look.
  • Pleating: Incorporate pleats into the bodice, sleeves, or collar for added volume and texture.
  • Asymmetry: Experiment with asymmetrical designs by shifting the neckline, hem, or sleeve lines.
  • Curvature: Introduce curves into the bodice or sleeves for a more feminine and flattering effect.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: What is the difference between a shirt template and a pattern?

A: A shirt template is a paper or muslin representation of the pattern pieces, while a pattern includes the seam allowances and instructions for assembling the shirt.

Q: Can I use tracing paper or muslin for my template?

A: Yes, tracing paper and muslin are commonly used materials for creating shirt templates due to their transparency or flexibility.

Q: What size should I use for my template if I’m a beginner?

A: It’s recommended to start with a size that closely matches your body measurements. You can then adjust the template as needed for a more customized fit.

Q: How can I ensure the accuracy of my measurements?

A: Use a flexible measuring tape and take measurements over a closely fitted base layer. Double-check your measurements before using them to create your template.

Q: Is it necessary to create a muslin prototype before sewing the final shirt?

A: Creating a muslin prototype is highly recommended, as it allows you to test the fit and make any necessary adjustments before cutting into your final fabric.


Mastering the art of creating a shirt template empowers you to design and sew customized shirts that perfectly fit your body and style preferences. By following the step-by-step instructions, incorporating expert tips, and exploring advanced techniques, you can transform your garment design dreams into well-crafted creations. Remember to practice and experiment until you achieve the desired results. Happy sewing!

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