Boy’s Dress Shirt Pattern + Tutorial (FREE!)

Boy's Dress Shirt Pattern and Tutorial Free
Welcome to my Boy’s Dress Shirt Pattern and Tutorial! I have been putting in the hard yards these last few days to get this boy’s dress shirt ready for you all!  If you follow me on Instagram you might have seen the updates, if not follow me!
Simple this shirt maybe but there is still quite a bit of work involved in making a pattern and turning it into a PDF.  Luckily I enjoy the process!
Boy's Dress Shirt Pattern and Tutorial Nina Makes
This shirt is a classic style dress shirt for a little boy.  The Pdf pattern is in Size 7/8 which is a little on the large side for Harry but will last him a little while.  So far I have only made the one size but feel free to adjust it to make it work for you!  I also have plans for a more fitting version…I’ll let you know when that makes it on to the current to do list!
Boy's Shirt Pattern Free Nina Makes
I love that it is so simple to dress boys up.  Just a nice pair of shorts/pants and a dress shirt and you’re away!  You can add a sweater vest for cooler times or even make a long sleeved version.  Use contrast stitching for a more modern look, although I’m not sure I’m the person to be asking about cool…34 (nearly 35) years old surely I’m way too old to know whats ‘cool’ anymore!  In fact the word cool probably isn’t cool anymore!

 

What you will need to make the Boy’s Dress Shirt Pattern

  • Fabric – Take your pick as long as it’s fairly lightweight it should be fine.
  • Bias Binding – 1cm Single Fold
    • Neckline – 44cm (17 1/4”)
    • Hem – 100cm (39 1/2”)
  • Pattern – You can download my Boy’s Dress Shirt Pattern here.  As always my patterns are hand drawn (yes I’m talking pencils, paper, erasers and fine tip sharpies) so they are not computer software perfect but they are most importantly free!
  • Note: Seam Allowance is 1cm (3/8”) unless otherwise stated

Step 1 – Print and Assemble your pattern and cut your pieces

You will need to print the pattern in actual size (no scaling), it will print on both A4 or letter size paper.  Print out just the first page if you are unsure and measure the test square before printing the rest.

Boy's Dress Shirt Tutorial Step by Step

The pattern has arrows to show the grainline and instructions on how to cut your pieces.  I cut my pocket and back yoke pieces on the bias because I liked the look of the plaid going at an angle.  That is totally optional you can cut those pieces on the grainline too if you prefer.

NOTE: If you are using interfacing cut the collar piece as noted on the pattern, and cut two strips of interfacing 2.5cm (1”) wide and 51cm (20”) long.  These are for the button placket and are optional but a good idea on thin fabrics.

Step 2 – Create Button Placket

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I like to get this step out of the way and create the button placket first.  This will keep these edges neat and prevent them from fraying making harder to do at the end.  Above you can see what they will look like once finished!
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You can decide which side you want the buttons on (most men’s shirts have the buttons on the right side and the left lays on top).  Which is what I have done here.
Lay your left side front right side facing down and lay the interfacing in place right against the raw center edge of the fabric.  Trim the curve at the neckline to match that of the fabric piece.
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Head over to your iron and press in place.
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While you are at the ironing board fold the interfacing over and press.  If you are not using interfacing fold over by 2.5cm (1”) and press.
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Fold over and press again.
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Sew down the folded side using a 0.5cm (3/16”) seam allowance, remember to lock stitch or reverse over a few stitches at the start and end.
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Fold the placket back out one fold, it is laying right side facing up in the photo above.  Press again.
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With the right side facing up topstitch both edges nice and close to the edge.  This will keep it sitting flat rather than folding back under.  And that is the left side finished.
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Now for the right side place and press your interfacing 0.5cm (3/16”) in from the raw center edge.
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Press the raw edge over on top of the interfacing (or just press over the same width if not using interfacing).
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Fold over and press again to completely encase the raw edge and interfacing.
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Sewing on the wrong side of the fabric, stitch close to the folded edge to keep the folds in place.
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And topstitch the folded edge too.
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And now you should have two pieces that look like these!!

Step 3 – Join Back Pieces

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You should have two back yoke pieces and one back piece.  You will see that the two back pieces don’t quite line up, this is to allow for two small pleats, so lets pin these first.
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Measure in 5cm (2”) from the armhole edge on both the left and right of one of the yoke pieces.  Mark with a pencil or a pin.  Also mark the centres of both the back and the back yoke pieces, it will make the next step easier.
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With the right sides facing pin the back piece on top of one of the yoke pieces, one pin at each end and one in the middle.
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Place small darts folding over towards the outside edge at each pencil mark (or pin).  Now the raw edges line up nicely as the back and the yoke piece are the same width.
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Lay your second back yoke piece on top with the right side facing down.
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Pin in place, making sure that the darts stay in place.  You should now have your back piece sandwiched in between two back yoke pieces.
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Sew with a 1cm (3/8”) seam allowance, just using a regular straight stitch.
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When folded back open the seam is hidden inbetween the two layers of the back yoke.
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Press well!!!  I can’t stress enough it is all about the pressing if you want a neat and tidy finish at the end!
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Then topstitch the pressed seam so that it stays neatly in place.  Beautiful!

Step 4 – Attaching Shoulders

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Lay your pieces with the right sides facing out (the right way around!) as we will be french seaming the shoulder seams.  Pin the shoulders in place, lining up raw edges.
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Sew with a 1cm (3/8”) seam allowance, and then trim half of this allowance off as shown above.
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Fold over to encase the raw edges.  Press the seam and sew again with  a 1cm (3/8”) seam allowance, the raw edge is hidden inside just like with the back pieces.  For more detailed steps on french seams check out my post on that here.
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Press the seam flat and top stitch in place, this is optional but I like the look!  Make sure both sides fold the same way.

Step 5 – Attaching the sleeves

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This would have to be my least favourite part but it must be done so better get on with it!  Mark the center of the sleeve as shown above.
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Mark the center of the shoulder (NOTE: it is not the shoulder seam, that sits slightly to the front) by holding the two armpit ends together.
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With the right sides facing join these two points together lining up the raw edges.
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Carry on pinning from the center down each side till the sleeve is pinned in place.  As you can see above the edges don’t line up perfectly.  I have left the sleeves slightly larger to allow for any differences in shoulder seams, it would be much worse if they were too small at this point!  We will tidy that up when we sew the side seams.
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Sew the pinned seam using a 1cm (3/8”) seam allowance, taking care that the both layers of fabric are sitting flat.
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Overlock or zigzag this seam and press towards the shoulder using your iron.
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Then you can top stitch in place.  Again this is optional but it gives a nice look and keeps the seams in place.

Step 6 – Sew Side Seams

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This is a nice simple step and it is coming together nicely now!  With the right sides of the fabric facing each other pin the sides and sleeves starting at the armpit.  Take care to line up any patterns.
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As you can see the little additional tab of the sleeve sticks out but we can trim that off after sewing.  Sew with a 1cm (3/8”) seam allowance.
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Once sewn overlock and press the seams.

Step 7 – Prepare Collar

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You should have two collar pieces (and possibly one matching piece of interfacing).
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Lay your interfacing on the wrong side of one of the collar pieces and press in place.
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With right sides facing pin the two collar pieces together on three edges.  The interfacing is touching the table in the above photo, so that when turned the right way around it will be on the inside.
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Sew around the three sides.  Then trim off the two pointed corners and clip into the curve as shown above.  Do not cut the stitching!
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Turn right way around and press.  You make like to use a tool to push out the points from the inside.  I use my fabric pencils as the have pointed lids, knitting needles work well too, but be gentle.
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Time to top stitch again!  1cm (3/8”) in from the edge this time.
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Now we need to join the neck band onto the collar.  Sandwich the collar in between the two neck band pieces with the right sides facing each other.  Line up the raw edges and pin in place.
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Sew the neckband in place, starting at one curve and going right around to the other.
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Turn around the right way and press.

Step 8 – Attaching Collar to Shirt

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With the right sides facing each other pin the collar in place.  Mark and line up the centres of both pieces as you did with the sleeves first (or match up any patterns).
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The edges may be a little long.
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You can adjust the curve so that they line up!  Don’t forget to pin that in place too.  To hide this seam on the inside we are going to use the single fold bias.
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Add the bias on the inside (will touch the neck of the wearer).  You need to pin it folded open.  The crease closest to the raw edge should be 1cm (3/8”) away from the same raw edge.
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Here you can see it a little closer!  You will need a little overhang of bias too, this allows you to fold it in at the end.
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Sew in place.  Do not sew past the edge of the collar to the end of the bias, just stop and lock stitch at the edge.
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Now it is time to re fold the bias and fold it over to hide the raw edges.  If your raw edge is too wide to fit inside the bias you can trim it back to fit using scissors.  Make sure the back side sits flat as you are going.
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Here is how I folded in the ends of the bias.  Gives a lovely neat and super easy finish!
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Don’t forget to tuck in your tag!
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Time to sew it in place.  I like to sew this and topstitch the neckband in one go, just sew close to the edge of the bias (yes I got my pins backwards…happens all the time!) and when you get to the end pivot with the needle in the fabric and topstitch right around the neck band back to the bias at the other side.
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Here you can see how I went around in one go!
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Not perfect but not too bad either!  Letting go of my perfectionist tendencies!
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Woo hoo it’s attached!  Only hemming, pocket and finishing the sleeves to go.
Update: And Domes or buttons!

Step 9 – Finish Sleeves

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Fold the sleeves in by 1cm (3/8”) and press in place.
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Fold in again by 2.5cm (1”) and press.  Take care where your patterns or stripes end up, you can always make the fold slightly larger or smaller it won’t matter.
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Sew from the inside close to the folded edge, and there you have a neatly finished sleeve.  Repeat on the other sleeve.

Step 10 – Hem

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In place of double folding the hem I am using single fold bias for a nice neat finish.  Pin the bias folded out onto the right side of the fabric, with the crease 1cm (3/8”) in from the raw edge.  Just as you did when attaching the collar.
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Trim the raw edge so the frayed strings are removed and it will fit easily inside the folded bias.
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Fold over the bias tucking in the ends just like for the collar.  You need to fold it so that a little of the shirt fabric is visible on the inside, that way the bias won’t be visible on the outside.
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Oops almost forgot, it’s a good idea to press it first!
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Then pin it all in place, take extra care pinning the side seams so that they will sit nicely once sewn.
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Take it nice and slow using a regular presser foot, or if you have one you can use a bias binding foot too.  I don’t so slowly it is!

Step 11 – Add a Pocket (Optional)

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Fold all the sides in 0.5cm (3/16”) and press.  Fold the top over again by 2.5cm (1”) and press.  Mitre the bottom corners so you don’t end up with a bulky spot making it difficult to sew in place neatly.
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To mitre the corners, use the fold creases as a guide line them up when folding the corner in and press (left photo).  Then fold sides back over and press again, and there you have a mitred corner!
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Sew the folded top down.  Sew just in from the edge so you can line up with the seam when sewing around the out side edge.
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Decide where you want it and pin in place.  Sewing the triangles at the top will prevent it ripping out or coming undone as easily.

Step 12 – Add Buttons or Domes/Snaps

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Mark the top closure 5cm (2”) down from the edge of the collar.  Then the others every 8cm (3 3/16”) after that.  That should make 5 in total.  I didn’t put one right at the top on the neckband as I never do those up, but if you do then go ahead and add one!
You can add buttons and button holes at this point instead of domes if you like too.
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For domes I do all the top domes first, then using a couple of pins to hold the shirt closed I use the top domes to mark the spots for their bottom halves.
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AND Congratulations you are all finished!!!  Harry is well over it by now…too tired he said!
I would love to see your creations please tag me on social media (links in the green circles on the right side of the page, up a wee way from this super long tutorial!)
Enjoy ♥

12 thoughts on “Boy’s Dress Shirt Pattern + Tutorial (FREE!)

  1. This was a great pattern! I will have to learn how to grade patterns so I can make my son some shirts every year. He’s a little tall and long for his age so he will grow out of this size quickly. Also, you did an awesome job on the instructions. Thank you so much for the pattern!

    1. Hi Rachael, Thanks for you comment! I need to learn how to grade too, it’s on my rather long to do list. If he’s just tall you can easily add a little length, if he’s broad shouldered too then not so much. I’m glad you liked it!

  2. Thank you for the free pattern and fantastic tutorial. I made the shirt last night, and it turned out great thanks to your easy to follow instructions.

    1. Hi Emily, I’m glad you it all turned out perfectly for you, clear instructions was my goal. If you are on social media please share a photo and tag me in it so I can see! (or use the #ninamakes) Thanks for your comment 🙂

  3. Thank you so much for the pattern and the very clear tutorial.
    Are seam allowences included in the pattern, or not?
    Thank you.

    1. Hi Cristina, yes there are seam allowances included of 3/8″(1cm). There are some areas sewn with a different seam allowance and those are written in the tutorial in the places they are needed. I recommend you read through the whole to tutorial before starting to avoid any surprises. Enjoy sewing up your Boy’s Dress Shirt!

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