Jump to content
mike lowrey

DIY: altering t-shirts and other shirts

Recommended Posts

thought I'd post this since this seems to be a common question.

I've had quite a few t-shirts that fit fine in the shoulders etc but the hem is too wide. or shirts that are just too wide overall. heres a simple way you can make your t-shirt slimmer.

you need a normal sewing machine and very basic skills in using it, being able to sew a somewhat straight line is enough.

diy_tee1.jpg

the problem: your shirt is not slim enough or too wide at the hem like in the picture.

1. figure out how much you want to take off, if its around 1cm or so you can just alter one side, if its much more you might want to take in both sides to keep the correct shape in the shirt.

2. start sewing from the edge of the shirt:

diy_tee2.jpg

3. if you only want to take in the lower part of the hem you can move towards the edge right away, if you want to take the whole side in you can go all the way to the armpit or even over to the sleeve (see last step)

4. after you have gone over the edge, cut the yarn and tie the ends together with a few basic knots. cut off excess yarn.

diy_tee3.jpg

5. same for the end where you started, unless you didnt start exactly at the edge, you can take a normal needle and sew towards the edge by hand. go over the edge a couple of times so it will last better, finish at the same side as the other piece of yarn and tie them together.

diy_tee4.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

as you can see, this makes the shirt straighter and better fitting:

diy_tee5.jpg

6. if you took in just a little you dont necessarily have to cut the excess part off. if you took in more, the fabric is thick or youre working on a sweater you might want to cut off the excess part.

7. after cutting the slice of fabric off, use the zigzag type of stitching and go over the edge like in the picture (you might want to try this on a piece of fabric if you havent done it before):

note: as Thorns states below, its better to use the other type of stitching for the edges:

"I wouldn't use the zigzag to finish edges. I would use a setting that looks like a zigzag with a line on top and bottom... that way if you let one side of the needle fall off the garment it gives it a more professional looking finish."

diy_tee6.jpg

thats about it, as said you can take in just a little bit or just from the hem or go all the way up to the sleeve. if you go over the sleeve, make sure you follow the original shape or otherwise the shirt wont fit right at the armpits.

diy_tee7.jpg

in this case you have cut the excess fabric off or it will pile up and feel annoying.

let me know if any part is confusing or if you have any questions

cheers

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

hats-off to mike and a beautifully-presented how-to. I'm sure I'll be referring back to this whenever I acquire a sewing machine.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

good thread, we need to build upon this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What we need is one showing how to whittle down a waist, I do it on my tee's but I'm too scared to try on anything else.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

oh and also if anyone has any other how-to ideas I'm open to requests

keri: define "whittle down"? :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

make them smaller in just the waist, most shirts aren't cut small enough in the waist for me and i get this weird creasing in that area.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

well couldn't you just do the same but only shorter?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I do something very similar, but I start on the side and end on the side, because they fit across my chest and at the hem normally, just not well enough at the waist. but I'm terrified to try on my nicer stuff!!! I just need more practice!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks so much Mike! Now I just need to practice that zigzag stitch... Ive had some bad experiences...

Thanks again!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

zigzag is really easy, just take a piece of fabric and try going around the edges, you'll get the hang of it

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Do you think this method would work well with t-shirts that don't have sideseams?

Somewhat related question: Is the non-seamed t-shirt (I don't know the name for it) a relatively new innovation? What's the difference between the two -in terms of cost, fit, etc.-?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

werd: don't have a sewing machine? you don't need one. i do this all the time to my shirts by hand--you just need patience. also, if you're doing it by hand, i wouldn't recommend cutting off the extra fabric, since it could fray and pull the shirt apart eventually.

deedotceedot: yes, it'll work, but i would say sew all the way up the side and through the very bottom of the arm hole, that way you'll make it just look like a seam in any other shirt.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

hehe welcome to the world of alterations. And yes, once you know how to do this, you can reshape anything... jackets, jeans, dress shirts...

However a couple addendums to the list.

1. I wouldn't use the zigzag to finish edges. I would use a setting that looks like a zigzag with a line on top and bottom... that way if you let one side of the needle fall off the garment it gives it a more professional looking finish. (I'm too intoxicated to post pics now so I'll get a couple up tomorrow.)

2. Learn how to bartack. It solves a lot of unraveling issues that you'll come across.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cool thanks ishboo, I'm going to try this this weekend. Would the seam make any noticeable change in appearance? I don't own any t-shirts with sideseams, and can't really imagine what they look like.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

not really, but make sure you sew a very straight seam (pin it in place first)...otherwise the shirt will drape awkwardly and that will definitely cause a change in appearance.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Cool thanks ishboo, I'm going to try this this weekend. Would the seam make any noticeable change in appearance? I don't own any t-shirts with sideseams, and can't really imagine what they look like.

DC, be careful. I got my APC t-shirts all taken in because most T-shirts fit perfect in length and shoulder on me, but the sides are just way too wide. It'd be really easy to fuck up though.

Having skinny arms, I took my t-shirts to a tailor and had her reconstruct my tshirts;

-sides taken in by about an inch on both sides

-armholes reshaped with much higher set armpits

APC t-shirts are seamless. I don't really care either way too much but the fit on Dior t-shirts I love and Diors are pieced together and have sideseams and done with the really high armholes/sharply slanted sleeves, so I had the APC's redone in a similar way. Fit really nice now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Polos are straight for pinch and pin... but I'm still skeptical on the fit of a Longsleeve button up shirt being pinch and pinned under the pit/arm area.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ahh thanks so much for this. I was just going to post a request but I did a search and glad I did! I've had a tailor do my stuff for almost a year but its not worth it for something like an AA shirt that has a crooken hem that I need to fix or something. Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
this thread was impossible to find using the normal search function. i also found this video that quickly shows you the pinch and pin method.

http://consumerist.com/consumer/diy/how-to-tailor-your-shirt-with-the-pinch-and-pin-267503.php

*tip*

You can also use tailors chalk to make a line after pinning to help show where you need to sew. So this way you have a guide that is a more smoothe/straight line for sewing then just following the pins solely.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Luisa via Roma (US)
    Brand - 125 x 125