DIY Half Under-Tee

Merrick's Art Half Tee

Outfit Details:

Red Lace Dress, Black Lace Dress (budget friendly version here), Navy Lace Dress, Cream Lace Dress

There are so many gorgeous lace pieces on the market right now and I want to wear all of them. But because of the lace, most of them require some kind of layer underneath to cover my undergarments. I know many of you struggle with the same thing!

I’ve purchased fitted cap sleeve tees in the past, but they add bulk at my waistline since the stretchy material tends to bunch or roll. So a half tee is the perfect solution. It’s a little cap sleeve fitted tee that is only long enough to cover your bust, and it’s perfect for layering under dresses or tops without a heavy or bulky extra layer. And when you make it yourself, you can make it as long or short as you need, or make the neckline as wide or high as you need. It’s completely customizable!

Merrick's Art Navy Lace dress
Merrick's Art Half Tee

Once I made one of these tees, it opened up so many more clothing options for me. I’ve found that my nude colored one works for nearly every clothing item, but occasionally a colored half tee works better, like the red one I made to go under this red dress. Below you can see it with the red underneath and also the nude underneath.

The best part about this tutorial is that it’s SO incredibly easy. From start to finish, I can make one in about three minutes. There are a few extra optional steps that add about ten minutes, but still it’s so simple.

Here’s what you’ll need:

1/2 yard of medium weight knit (try this one or this one)
note: try to find one that is polyester/spandex blend. Try to avoid the ones with Nylon because they won’t hold up as well.
matching thread
serger (optional)this is the one I have and love

(if you’re wanting to learn to sew, check out my online sewing course! It would make a fantastic gift for Christmas!)

Half Sleeve Tutorial_Merrick's Art

Step 1. Cut your pieces. Use an existing cap sleeve top as your pattern — use this video as a guide if you have trouble creating a pattern from your clothing. If you don’t have a cap sleeve top, just use a fitted top of any kind and free hand the cap sleeves.

Step 2. Once you have your two pieces cut (they should be identical), pin them together with the right sides of the fabric touching.

Step 3. Sew the shoulder seams and the side seams up with a serged seam, or with a small, straight stitch.

[optional steps below]

If your fabric is a little more delicate (like a nylon blend), you’ll probably want to hem your sleeves and neckline so they don’t fray or fall apart. Follow these steps to hem.

Step 4. Cut a 2″ wide piece of fabric that’s the same shape as the neckline. Cut two of these — one for the front, and one for the back.

Step 5. Sew them together on the short sides to form an “O”. This is the neckline lining.

Step 6. Place the lining over the tee neckline so the shoulder seams match up. Pin together.

Step 7. Sew with a straight stitch all around the neckline, securing the lining to the tee. Fold the lining inside the tee and pin in place. Then sew around the neckline with a straight, wide stitch to keep the tucked lining in place.

Step 8. Now tuck the sleeves under 1/4″ and sew around them with a zigzag stitch or a double stitch (using a twin needle like this one). Either of these kinds of stitches allows for some stretch so you can easily get the tee on and off without breaking the threads.

Step 9. Hem the bottom of the tee using the same instructions in step 8.

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  1. Elisabeth says:

    Thanks for the tutorial! Do you have any recommendations on a good place to buy the medium-weight knit?

  2. Benedetta says:

    Very smart… great diy!!!
    Be Happy with Fashion

  3. Kimberly Hutchings Hibler says:

    Genius. I’ve been wondering how I could wear these gorgeous lace dresses with my g’s.

  4. Jeff Laskowski says:

    Wow! Beautiful dresses and lovely ensembles.

  5. Tayci Mecham says:

    Yes! I love this so much! i have the perfect nude color fabric and now I can make or buy or the lace things! 🙂 Thanks Merrick!

  6. Fabiana Aguilar Fernandez says:

    Perfect cocktail dress!!!!

  7. Fatima says:

    I was curious about your solution to this problem! How does it look from the back? I notice the red dress has an opening in the back

  8. Hannahrose Jordan says:

    This is a totally not-being-rude question. (although it is personal, so you don’t have to answer. I’m just super curious) how in the heck can you afford to wear a $395 dress??!!! (the black one…beautiful.) seriously though.

    • Merrick says:

      Thanks for your honest question! The reason is that I work hard. And I often wear budget friendly pieces from Old Navy, Asos, Target, H&M, etc. I don’t splurge on an expensive dress often, but for classic pieces I can wear for years, it’s worth it for me to get the perfect one that

  9. Erin says:

    I have tried the downeast wonder tee. they are great at the shoulder line as there isn’t much bulk added and they have great coverage but I am wondering if you have found a better one that has a bit lower neckline. I know your post is telling us how to make one and I hope to find the time to get the right fabric but I was hoping you found the perfect tee to cover undergarments that I can buy ; )

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