A couple of weeks ago I posted about my hack to the Brindle and Twig Ringer Tee pattern to give it a popper opening/closure and make it easier to get on and off. I thought that I would put together a proper tutorial. This method will work for any t-shirt pattern with a shoulder seam, and doesn’t have to be limited to just children’s clothing. You could just as easily use the same method to add a fun feature to an adult jumper too. I’m using the Ringer Tee pattern pieces again simply because it is a readily available and free pattern so any of you that want to give this a go, can!
The pieces that we are altering are the front, back, and the neckband. You will first need to trace off new copies of these pieces in the relevant size. Leave space around the pieces for the modifications.
The Ringer Tee has the front and back pattern pieces cut on the fold. We are going to make the pattern asymmetrical, so you may find it easier to trace the pattern piece off complete so that it can be cut on a single layer.
Decide how much of an overlap you want at the closure. I chose 1/2″ or 13mm.
I also decided that because it is a jersey pattern, and jersey does not fray I was happy to leave the inside edge raw or overlocked, rather than concealing the cut edge.
Step 3: Front Pattern Piece
You need to know what seam allowance the pattern you are working with uses. The Ringer tee has 6mm seam allowances.
Draw the seam allowance on to one shoulder seam. (the blue line in the picture)
Draw on another line which is 13mm (or whatever overlap you decided on) from the seam line. With my 6mm seam allowance this makes 7mm extra length in the shoulder. This extra area is shaded in green.
Step 4: Back Pattern Piece
Draw the seam line onto the same shoulder as you did for the front. (It will look like the opposite shoulder because the pattern piece is effectively back-to-front.) See the blue line below.
Draw another line twice the overlap away from your seam line. If you are using a 13mm overlap, this new line needs to be 26mm from the seam line. The extra area is shaded in green again.
Step 5: Neckband
Your neckband needs to have the total additional length added to it. This means the length added beyond the seam line. In my example that is 27mm. (13+26-6-6=27mm)
Step 6: Cutting out and first shoulder seam
Cut out the pattern pieces. Cut a tiny notch at the seam allowance line on the front and back shoulder on the side which was modified. Sew the other shoulder seam (the one without the pattern alterations) as in the pattern instructions. Press the seam to the back.
Step 7: Neckband
Fold and press the neckband in half. Stitch it to the neckline. Press the seam down towards the body of the top. It should now look like this, with the neckline finished, and one shoulder open.
Step 8: Prepping second shoulder
Finish the shoulder seam allowances if you wish. Press over 13mm on the front and back shoulder seams. Use a strip of fusible hemming web to keep the fold in place while you complete the rest of the construction.
Step 9: Prepping the overlap
Overlap the back shoulder over the front, using the shoulder seam notches to align properly. Use pins to keep the overlap in place.
Step 10: Sleeves
Insert the first sleeve, matching the shoulder notches to the central notch of the sleeve. Once it is sewn, this will keep the overlap in place.
Insert the other sleeve.
Step 11: underarm and Side seams
Sew the underarm sleeve, and side seams together in one continuous seam.
Step 12: Cuffs and Waistband
Sew the short edges of the sleeve cuffs and waistband. Press them in half wrong sides together.
Sew the waistband and sleeve cuffs to the body.
Step 13: Attach snaps to open shoulder
Attach snaps to the open shoulder seam, aligning the two halves. I used two snaps on this 3-6 month size, but on larger sizes it might be better to use more.
You may wish to use jersey snaps like these which have multiple prongs because they are less likely to pull out with time and wear. I generally use Prym vario pliers to apply snaps. Much easier than all the hammering!
All finished and ready to wear!
6 thoughts on “Tutorial: How to hack a t-shirt to have a popper closure”
Thanks so much for this, just what I need to know and it saves me having to think about it. I made this tee shirt for my baby grand daughter, but it’s a struggle to get it over her head.