Summer Shirt Tutorial

Summer Shirt Tutorial-FI

For Throwback Thursday I thought I would “bring home” a tutorial I shared over at Project Run & Play two years ago! Dinah barely 3, Esther was practically still a baby and Miriam was just a twinkle in our eyes. As a matter of fact…Esther should fit into Dinah’s shirt and Miriam is close to fitting into Esther’s!

Hi, everyone!  My name is Harmony and I have been blogging over at Sew in Harmony since last fall.  I am a wife and a mommy (to two precious but BUSY girls) and I also work at our church part time coordinating our children’s ministry.  Sometimes I sleep, but I rarely clean anything…that’s how I get it all done!  I am ecstatic to be guest posting here at Project Run & Play!  I have been following along since Season 2, but this past season was my first season to SEW along.  It was really fun and challenging.  I brushed up some old skills, learned some new ones and discovered what my style really is.  For the Signature Style Challenge I focused more on my “dressy” style, so for my tutorial I wanted to share a signature look that is a bit more casual.

Fabric (about 3/4 yard)
Matching thread
Coordinating Piping (optional)


(All the math in sewing!  I wish I paid better attention in geometry!)  You will need your child’s chest (C), hip (H) and strap (S) measurements.  Place those numbers into the following formulas to get the measurements for the cuts you will need to make.  All seams are 1/2″ seams (Except where piping is used).  If you want a looser fit, simply increase the ease in each formula.

Front Band Width (FBW) = (C ÷ 2) + 1” (ease) + 1” (seam)

Back Bands Width(BBW) = (C ÷ 4) + 0.5” (ease) + 1” (seam) + 1” (button placket)

Body Height (BH) = Desired length from chest to hip + 1.25” (hem allowance)

Body Width(BW) = (H ÷ 2) + 5” (ease) + 1” (seam)

Strap Length (SL) = S + 1” (seam)

Ruffle Length = S x 1.5 (gathering ease-increase or decrease as desired)


My measurements (approximately 4T size)

FBW = (22 ÷ 2) + 1 + 1 = 13”

BBW = (22 ÷ 4) + 0.5 + 1 + 1 = 8”

BH = 11 + 1.25 = 12.25”

BW= (22 ÷ 2) + 5 + 1 = 17”

SL = 8.5 + 1 = 9.5”

RL = 8.5 x 1.5 =12.75”


Cuts to Make

Front Band: 3” x FBW (Cut 2)

Back Bands: 3” x BBW (Cut 4)

Body: BH x BW (Cut 2)

Straps: 4” x SL (Cut 2)

Ruffles: 3” x RL (Cut 2)

Note:  For my 18 month old, I shortened both the band and the ruffles to 2.5”

Make Ruffles

Round off the ends of each ruffle piece.  Remember to make them mirror images of each other.  (I simply used the edge of a plate as a template.)

Finish the rounded edge of the ruffle using a narrow hem or rolled edge.

Gather the unfinished long edge of the strip.


Make Straps

Fold strap pieces in half lengthwise and press.  Reopen and fold raw edges into center and press.  Press strap closed.  Should be 1 inch wide.

Mark 3/4” up from each end of the straps.

Sandwich the gathered edge of the ruffle pieces between the strap pieces and pin.  Make sure the hem of the ruffle matches up with the marks.

Stitch strap closed close to the edge and top stitch along the opposite edge if desired.  Press.


Make Bands

Sew back pieces to front pieces along short edges for both outside and facing. Press seams open.

Optional Step: Attach piping to the outside band.  Stop piping 1½ inch from the left bottom edge.


Attach Straps

Safety pin straps to facing wrong side to right side in the location you want them…I angled them in just a bit in the back.

Try this on your child to be sure straps are the correct length and in the best position.

Baste straps to facing in seam allowance.


Finish Band

Place facing and outside bands right sides together.  Pin top edge and sides.

Stitch from bottom of curved side all the way across the top and down the other edge.  Leave the bottom open.

Clip corners, turn and press, making sure that facing is completely invisible from the front.


Sew Shirt Body

Place body pieces right sides together and sew both side seams.  Finish your seams and press towards back.

Gather the top edge of the body piece.


Attach Shirt Body to Band

Place bottom edge of the band and top edge of the body piece right sides together and pin.  Match up side seams and adjust gathering as necessary.

Overlap ends of the band. The end of the band with curved piping goes on top.

Stitch body to band, making sure to stich very close to the piping.  Note: It was a little finicky for me when I got to the overlapped ends.  Just go slow and double check that you are stitching close enough to the piping.

Finish seam and press up toward band. (I didn’t take a picture of this because my serger was being grouchy and my “finished” seam looks terrible.)



Along the hem press under 1/4 inch and then fold up another 1 inch and press.  Stitch close to the fold to secure the hem.

Mark your button placement and make your buttonhole(s).

Attach your buttons.


Finito!  Now you have a sweet little summer shirt.  Perfect for picnics and popsicles!  I would love to see your creations!  If you make one of these sweet shirts or a variation thereof, please come add it to my new (very new) Flickr group…Sewing with Harmony.

As a bonus, I have a quick tutorial on how to add a gathered cuff to an existing shorts pattern.  Come on over to to say “hello!” and check it out!


Thanks to LiZ and Elizabeth for the invite!  So glad I was able to join in the fun!  I hope you all have a lovely summer!

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