How to Alter a Woman's Shirt to Make It Smaller

Alter your favorite shirts to show off your slender frame.
Alter your favorite shirts to show off your slender frame. (Image: Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images)

After losing weight, you don't have to spend a large amount of money to replace your wardrobe. You can custom alter some of your closet essentials at home with just a little bit of time and patience. Purchase a single well-fitting shirt, and utilize it as a guide to bring in the sides and the sleeves of a baggy shirt. You can employ the guide shirt to alter regular T-shirts, jerseys, cotton-blend shirts and even sweatshirts.

Things You'll Need

  • Close-fitting shirt
  • Chalk
  • Sewing pins
  • Sewing needle
  • Thread
  • Scissors
  • Iron

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Lay the larger shirt inside out on your work surface. Place the close-fitting shirt on top of the larger shirt.

Trace around the sides of the shirt with a piece of chalk. Continue tracing underneath the arms and down the length of the underside of the sleeves. Remove the close-fitting shirt.

Insert sewing pins along the chalk line, and try on the shirt to confirm a good fit. Take off the shirt. If the shirt still fits too loosely, draw a new chalk line just inside of the first line. If the shirt fits too snugly, draw a new chalk line just outside of the first line. Insert sewing pins, and try on the shirt again.

Sew a small straight stitch along the chalk line beginning at the bottom hem of the shirt, working up to underneath the arms and down the length of the sleeve.

Try on the shirt again to confirm the fit. Take off the shirt, and cut off the excess fabric beyond the new seam line. Leave about 1/4-inch of fabric. Fold the 1/4-inch of fabric over, and iron to lay the fabric flat against the shirt.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you do not have a close-fitting shirt to lay on your larger shirt, turn the shirt inside out and put it on. Gather the excess fabric at the sides of the shirt and insert pins. Gather the fabric underneath the arms and down the seams of the sleeves. Insert pins, and sew along the pin line.

References

  • "The Sewing Bible: A Modern Manual of Practical and Decorative Sewing Techniques"; Ruth Singer; 2009
  • "Reconstructing Clothes For Dummies"; Miranda Caroligne Burns; 2007
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