How to Make Long-Sleeve Shirts Into Short-Sleeve Shirts

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Things You'll Need

  • Long sleeve T-shirt

  • Tailor's chalk

  • Ruler

  • Scissors

  • Iron

  • Sewing machine

As the cold snowy days of winter turn into the warm sunny days of summer you may find yourself sorting through your child's closet to decide what stays and what goes. Save yourself some money on his summer wardrobe by transforming his favorite long-sleeve T-shirts from winter into weather-appropriate summer clothing by shortening the sleeves. Chances are that the shirt won't fit him come next winter anyway, so get a couple more months of use out of it.


Step 1

Put on the shirt inside out. Mark with a tailor's chalk the desired length of the sleeves on one sleeve. Remove the shirt.

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Step 2

Flatten the shirt and fold it in half, aligning the two sleeves with the chalk mark facing up. Cut both sleeves widthwise 2 inches below the chalk mark. Unfold the shirt.

Step 3

Fold the cut edge of each sleeve up by an inch. Iron the folded edge of each sleeve. Fold each edge up another inch and iron them again. Sew around the bottom of each sleeve with a 7/8-inch seam allowance, and again with a 5/8-inch seam allowance.

Step 4

Turn the shirt right side out. Iron around the bottom edge of each sleeve once more to smooth the seam.


Change your machine's needle to a ball point needle, if one isn't already in your machine. The ball point needle prevents skipped stitches and damage to the knit fabric of the shirt.

Test your machine's tension and stitch length settings on the excess sleeve material. Adjust them as needed.

Stretch the knit fabric slightly as it goes through the machine to ensure the best results. Do this by stretching the fabric with equal pressure in front of and behind the needle. Don't stretch so much that you are pulling the fabric through the machine.


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