the cheaters method of shirt downsizing

November 3rd, 2011

HOW TO: cheaters shirt downsizing

Remember this shirt? At $2 it was such a bargain from my local thrift store (and toooootally made me think of this Madewell shirt and this Jcrew shirt my lovely friend Kendi has), but was 2 sizes too big. So I made a “quick and dirty” alteration, and now it fits perfectly. Admittedly, I hate mending, and I hate alterations – but they are necessary evils, and an alteration i end up doing A LOT is downsizing shirts.

I think you will love this, because this little trick is an easy way to make a too-big shirt fit. I call it my “cheater” method, because it is definitely not the correct way to downsize a shirt, but works most of the time, as long as the shirt is only 1 or 2 sizes too big. Any bigger than that, and you risk weird proportions at the end.

Here’s what you do…

Tadaaaaaaa!!

HOW TO: cheaters shirt downsizing
Now, don’t forget: this will only work for shirts that are 1 maybe 2 sizes too big. The reason for this is that the top of the sleeve seam should sit on your shoulder correctly, and every size larger than your actual size pushes the shoulder seam further away from your actual shoulder – meaning that using this alteration for a shirt that is way too big will result in the shoulder seams hanging down your arm, and well, that just looks weird. Not to mention, it’ll be uncomfy. If your shirt is a couple of sizes too big, it’s best to remove the sleeves completely, alter them separately from the shirt, and then add them back.

16 Responses

  1. Meg says:

    This is an awesome tip! Thanks for sharing. I think even I could handle this.

  2. La Chapstick Fanatique says:

    I have totally done this before. And after i sew I just chop the extra off with scissors. It doesn’t look good on inside but it looks fine on the outside.

    http://lachapstickfanatique.blogspot.com

  3. Sarah says:

    I’ll definitely have to try this! I find a lot of great shirts at the thrift stores but usually they are too big for me. Now I have a way to alter them! Thanks!!

  4. Sarah says:

    This tip is pretty handy and has great timing… I am about to embark on a downsizing effort for a friend who’s lost 2 sizes in recent months!
    Do you think it would work with french seams, for longevity’s sake?

  5. Thank you! I will give this a try.

  6. Trudy Callan says:

    I love this method. Sound so easy. Thanks.

  7. Brigita says:

    Great cheater method! Thanks for sharing, it will come in useful.

  8. Elle Croft says:

    This is such a cute outfit! And such an easy alteration…I think I have a shirt this may work on…

  9. Theresa says:

    This is great! Shirts are often too wide in the bust and waist for me (but fit my relatively broad shoulders) – this method seems perfect to fix this problem!

  10. mil says:

    You have so many good ideas you will have to write a book!

  11. --ginger. says:

    Thaaaaaannnnkkkkk you. I’ve been considering and hacking at a much more annoying way of doing this and I OFTEN pick up a shirt 1-2 sizes too big. Thank you. Thank you, Megan.

  12. Leesa says:

    Great tip but I don’t think this is really cheating. I do professional alterations for a living and this is exactly what I would do except I would pin it on the customer to get the fit they want. I usually finish with french seams because they are easy and look nice.

  13. DOING THIS! I love these little tutorials. They make my day!

  14. As the grand-daughter of two tailors, I can confirm that this is DEFINITELY CHEATING, but I like it anyway!
    Love your blog.
    Claire

  15. Lisa says:

    I did the same thing with a couple of cardigan sweaters that were too big. Worked great.

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