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How to Fix a Too-Wide T-Shirt

For a month or two, there’s been a pile of clothes sitting in my office, waiting for me to mend/modify/refashion them.

A pile of clothes that need mending.

During the school year, I just cannot seem to get to projects like these because daily life uses up all of my hours.

But formal school is done for the summer (woo!) and so I’ve managed to work my way through the pile.

One of the items waiting for help was a striped hand me down t-shirt for Lisey. It was a fairly loose design, and I’ve come to the conclusion that the flowy tshirts that are in style right now aren’t a good look for my girls and me…we kinda get lost in them.

So, the shirt needed to be made thinner.

I laid it out flat on the floor and placed one of Lisey’s well-fitting shirts on top.

Two shirts stacked on top of each other.

Then, using the blue shirt as a guide, I snipped off the striped fabric to match the shape of the blue shirt. I pinned the sides together and then sewed straight up the side.

A shirt trimmed to be narrower.

The really great thing about knit fabric is that it doesn’t fray, so there’s no need to worry about the raw edges…they’ll just sit there happily.

A striped white and purple tee shirt.

I was a little unsure what to do about the sleeve, but I just kept on sewing, following the curve of the shirt, and the sleeves worked out just fine.

This leaves you with a slightly less finished-looking hem at the waist and at the sleeve, but it’s barely noticeable, and I’m not picky enough to do the seam up properly (that would involve picking out the original sleeve hem).

I know myself well enough to know that if I went that route, I’d never get jobs like this done, and I’d rather have them done imperfectly than not done at all.

A striped tshirt underarm seam.

This is why no one has ever accused me of being a perfectionist.

Lisey wearing a striped tshirt.

I realized that this could also be a great technique to use on knit shirts that have gotten progressively shorter and wider with wear. If you sew the side seams in, then you end up with a properly-proportioned shirt in a smaller size.

So, I guess that’s just a good solution if you’ve got someone smaller around to wear the newly-small shirt. 😉

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Saturday 29th of June 2013

I do this all the time with my own knit tops. Why do they stretch so much laterally?

Live and Learn-Toss and Turn

Saturday 29th of June 2013

So simple. Why didn't I think of that?


Thursday 27th of June 2013

I do this with my t-shirts, Kristen - great way of salvaging a few gems from the 90s (what was it with me buying everything L/XL back then?) I sew-then-cut first too!


Wednesday 26th of June 2013

I have done this for the past 3 years for my daughters baseball t-shirts and school spirit wear. For whatever reason the adults that order these shirts in adult sizes when many of the children are still in youth sizes. My first ones were done just as you but I purchased a serger and now my life is forever changed - it cuts and sews at the same time.


Wednesday 26th of June 2013

Thanks for the tutorial! I was actually planning to to this to save some of my t-shirts (and after reading "Overdressed" from one of your earlier posts). :)

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