How to Alter a Dress Shirt

by Pam Pleasant ; Updated September 28, 2017

Losing weight is great for obtaining a slimmer figure. But after losing a few pounds, some of your clothes may not fit well anymore. A new wardrobe may be the answer, but spending a lot of money on new clothes might break your budget. Learning to alter a shirt yourself is one way to get the fit you are looking for. You can alter the whole shirt or just pick one area that needs to be fixed. Instead of spending money and time at the mall.

Reduce the waistline. To trim the waistline, try your shirt on inside out. Take sewing pins and mark the places you would like to be altered. Starting from under the arm to the bottom of the shirt. Take the shirt off and lay it on a flat surface. Starting with the sides of the shirt, cut off the excess material next to the place you have set your pins. Then sew the seam. Use the pins as your guide for a straight line stitch.

Shorten the sleeves. If the sleeves of the shirt are too long, start by trimming the cuff off. With small scissors or a knife, gently remove the stitches in the cuff and set it aside. Try the shirt on again and measure how many inches you would like taken off the sleeves. Then, cut off the excess material. Sew the cuff back onto the shirt.

Slim down sleeves. Repairing bulky sleeves can be done by trying the shirt on inside out and marking off the excess material with sewing pins. Start placing pins down the inner arm area to the wrist. Cut off the extra material. You will also have to remove the cuff for this project.

Shorten your shirt. To shorten a shirt, lay it on a flat surface. Use sewing pins to mark how many inches you would like to take off. Remember that dress shirt bottoms have a curve, so follow the original pattern of the shirt.

Add shape to a shirt. For a fitted look, try the shirt on inside out. Using sewing pins, mark a spot right under the breast area. Take the shirt off and make a fold vertically down the shirt, starting at the pin under the breast area. Place the pins 1/2 inch away from the fold and continue the pin pattern going down the shirt. You can either stop 2 or 3 inches from the bottom or tailor the shirt to the end. Sew the seam, following the pin pattern. You do not have to remove the excess material.

Tips

  • You can also loosen clothing that is too tight by removing the stitches in the seams and using the extra material available, before resewing. Always try the shirt on and measure your cut with sewing pins to avoid cutting off too much material.

Photo Credits

  • Pam Pleasant

About the Author

Pam Pleasant has been writing professionally for three years. She attended Mott Community College in Flint, Mich., where she studied English. She has published more than 45 articles, and they are uniquely written by her, here at Demand Studios.