How to Make a Long Shirt Shorter

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Most men's button-down shirts are designed to be a bit long so they stay tucked in. But when you want to wear shirts untucked for casual events, they can look unkempt and sloppy -- the perfect length for an untucked men's shirt is halfway between the belt and the bottom of the zipper. If you know how to sew a straight line, you can easily shorten your own shirts.

(Image: Beth Huntington)

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Pins
  • Washable marker
  • Sharp scissors
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Sewing machine with a universal 90/14 needle and thread
(Image: Beth Huntington)

Step 1

Put on the shirt and use a pin to mark where you'd like the new hemline to fall. Take the shirt off.

(Image: Beth Huntington)

Step 2

To determine how much of the shirt to cut off, measure from the bottom of the hem to the pin. Subtract 1 1/4 inches from this measurement to allow for a hem. For example, if your new hemline is 4 inches from the bottom of the existing hem, then 4 - 1 1/4 = 2 3/4. You will mark 2 3/4 inches from the bottom of the shirt. Use a measuring tape and a washable marker to mark the cut line across the bottom of the shirt.

(Image: Beth Huntington)

Step 3

Cut along the line you marked.

(Image: Beth Huntington)

Step 4

Fold the raw edge 1/4 inch under toward the inside of the shirt and press with an iron.

(Image: Beth Huntington)

Step 5

Use straight pins to pin the pressed edge in place.

(Image: Beth Huntington)

Step 6

Use a 90/14 needle and a medium stitch length to sew along the pressed edge. Be sure to remove the pins as you sew.

(Image: Beth Huntington)

Step 7

Now fold 1 inch under toward the inside of the shirt and press again with an iron.

(Image: Beth Huntington)

Step 8

Pin the pressed edge in place.

(Image: Beth Huntington)

Step 9

Sew along the previous stitch line to create the hem, removing the pins as you sew.

(Image: Beth Huntington)

Now when you untuck your shirt for a more casual look, you will not only have comfortable access to your pockets, but you can show off your jeans without looking frumpy or disheveled.

(Image: Beth Huntington)

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