How to Adjust a Hand-Drafted Pattern for Working with Knits Part 1

Today I will be showing you how to adjust a pattern drafted for working with wovens to work with knit fabric. There are several differences, such as there are no need for darts. I will be demonstrating by drafting and sewing a t-shirt. It will have minimal extra, (although I couldn’t resist flounces), so that we can focus on the drafting.

Draft the Pattern


  • First trace your slopers on to another sheet of paper. Never work directly on your slopers.


  • Cut out the dart on your front pattern.
  • Cut a slit from the armscye to the dart apex.
  • Place your new pieces on another piece of paper and trace.


  • Measure the dart widths.
  • Move in the side seam and the shoulder seam that amount.


  • Adjust the neckline as you would for any pattern.


  • Decide on a length for your t-shirt
  • Extend the center front line this amount.
  • Measure around you the widest point between your waist and the spot that your t-shirt will end.
  • Divide this measurement by four and mark out from the bottom of the previous line at a right angle.
  • Using a ruler draw in the line between the outer waist point and the outer end of the bottom line.
  • Check for right angles at the bottom.


  • Extend the waist in this manner for the back as well. Check that the side seams are the same length as well as the shoulder seams. I had trouble with this.


  • Measure on your arm where you want the main sleeve to fall (not including the ruffle).
  • Make a line there.
  • Measure around your arm.
  • Mark half of this measurement out from the center of your new line.
  • Do the same on the other side of the center.


  • Measure the top edge of the sleeve out from the center on each side.
  • Measure the front armhole.
  • Compare the front sleeve with the front armhole measurement. The front sleeve should be one inch longer then the armhole.
  • Check the back the same way.
  • If they do not match:
  • If the sleeve is to small, for little changes increase the amount the sleeve cap curves.
  • For large changes extend the sleeve cap line.
  • I had to do both. My changes are in green.
  • If it is too large: for small changes lessen the sleeve cap curve.
  • For large changes enlarge the armhole.


  • From the points you marked on the length line draw new side seams to the final sleeve cap ends. (mine are in dark blue)


  • Measure the bottom of your sleeve.
  • That is the circumference of your first circle.
  • Find the radius C=pi(r)^2
  • The second circle will have the same center. Its radius will be the previous circle’s radius + desired ruffle length.


Congratulations! you have finished drafting!

Sew the Shirt


  • Time to cut out all your pieces.
  • Cut the fabric so that it will stretch the most widthwise.


  • Sew together as you would any shirt.
  • I used my serger, with a 4 thread overlock with safety stitch. I found this to be quite nice.

Here are some directions on how to assemble the shirt. If you already know this part, or have a different way of doing things, ignore this. I wrote this for people who already know what they are doing in terms of the actual sewing, but if you want a reminder:

  • Sew the shoulder seams.
  • Sew side seams.
  • Sew the side seams for the sleeves.
  • Sew the ruffles to the sleeves.
  • Sew the sleeves in place (Watch that you place them in the right way!).
  • Serge ruffle edge.
  • Coverstitch the hem and neckline.


I found that labeling the sleeves and other pieces helped me keep them straight.


This is what the sleeves looked like before getting attached.


Final product. Slightly on the large side. This was a first try, part 2 will show my second try!




Thank you for reading! I hope this will be helpful.