How to Make a Spiderweb Shirt

I just made the coolest shirt, and I’m going to share how to make it with you!  I’m so excited by how this turned out.  It’s a spiderweb shirt, just in time for Halloween.  This shirt takes a lot of patience to make, but it’s definitely worth the effort.  Read on to find out how to make your own spiderweb shirt!

First, you need a black shirt, and a white shirt.

Start with the too-large black shirt

  • Remove the sleeves just past the seams (leaving the seams attached to the shirt).  Turn the old seams under and zigzag them to hem them (using black thread).
  • Take in the sides a little (pin with safety pins so you don’t stab yourself while measuring!).
  • Add darts in the front, so it fits your curves (if you have them – if not, you’re done already!).  Since you’re adding the spiderweb on top of them, don’t bother to make the darts super even.

Once you have a black shirt to work with, you also need a large white shirt.

Cut the spider web

Cut open the white shirt so that you have the largest canvas with no seams: Cut off the sleeves (removing the seams), neckband, and hem, and then cut up one side and along one shoulder, so that the fabric will open flat.

Put your black shirt on your dress form (or a willing model), and drape the white tshirt fabric over it.  Aim for the center of the white fabric to be on a side seam of the shirt – this is where the middle of web sits.  Once your fabric is roughly pinned in place, draw the spiderweb onto the fabric with chalk.

After you have it marked, cut out all the holes in the web.  Yes, this does take forever.  Use a pair of very small sharp, pointy scissors, like thread snippers – they will more easily pierce the fabric to create the holes.

Before sewing the web to the shirt, gently hand-wash the white webbing to remove the chalk.  Normally chalk comes off in the wash, but you don’t want any of it to get caught underneath the thread and not come out.  You can wash it in the sink with a little laundry detergent, gently swishing it around and then letting it soak for an hour.  Hang it up to fully dry before sewing it to the shirt.

Sew the web to the shirt

Use white thread and a simple zigzag stitch to sew the white web to the black shirt.

Sew down the radiating lines

  • Roughly pin just the radiating lines of the web to the shirt on the dress form.
  • Carefully try the shirt on, and make sure that the bars stretch over your body well (re-pin if necessary).
  • Cut off any parts of the web that extend off the edge of the shirt (it may have stretched out, as mine did, between sketching with chalk and now).
  • Zigzag stitch the radiating lines of the web.  Start at the end of one, stitch to the center, then stitch down the next radiating line to its end.  Just sew a single zigzag stitch down the center of the lines – the goal is to anchor the web in place now, not sew down all the edges.

Sew the outer edge of the web

  • Pin the outer web edges into the curves you want.
  • Sew a zigzag stitch around the outer edge of the outside web circle.
  • Sew a zigzag stitch around the inner edge of the outside web circle.

Sew the inner web circles

  • Pin them into the curves you want.
  • Sew a zigzag stitch around the outer edges of the web circles.
  • Sew a zigzag stitch around the inner edges of the web circles.
  • Sew along the two edges of the radiating lines.
  • Make sure all the edges are sewn down everywhere.

It takes a long time to sew all those edges down, but it looks amazing when it’s finished!  By taking the time to sew along each edge, it won’t unravel in the wash and come apart.

Here is what the inside of the shirt looks like!  You can clearly see all the lines that were sewn.  If you’re looking for a quicker version of this shirt, perhaps try just sewing the white lines directly on the black shirt.

Solve any puckering issues

Almost done!  The shirt might have some odd puckering problems now.  The main problem mine had was in the exact center of the web – it stuck out, because all of the stitching made it a little stiff.

I solved this puckering problem by cinching the center of the web and hand-sewing it with black thread.  The center just looks a little smaller than it used to, unless you get very close to it and notice the black stitches in the middle.

After solving any potential puckering problems, the spiderweb shirt shirt is done!

Have fun impressing your friends at a Halloween party in your new shirt!  Please send me photos if you end up making this – I’ll share them on the blog!  ~Kell

Author: Wynter

I'm a scientist from Ann Arbor, MI! Leatherworker. Sewist. Exuberant gardener. Board game addict. SCAdian. Huge nerd. :)

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  • That is sooooo cool! Not sure if have the patience for sewing down the web but I might try the thread-only option. Thanks for sharing, Kell!

  • You're welcome, and thanks! I'm so happy with this shirt. Maybe another option would be to take some white yarn and sew a wide zigzag stitch over the yarn? It would fill it in with a stronger white than the thread alone, but be much easier than the method I used.