Generic T-Shirts share common problems, the fit might me too big, the underarm can be too low, and the sleeves may be too big as well. Checking the fit is the first thing you must do when altering your own T-Shirt style. When checking the fit there are questions you must ask your self: Is the T-Shirt too loose or too long? Are the sleeves too loose or too long? Is the neckline too high or too low?
Here you will learn the step-by-step process of altering a T-Shirt that fits. You will learn how to do a T-Shirt fitting and how to correct the fitting. If you have any t-shirts sitting in the closet that is in desperate need of an update. Now is the time the change that unpleasant t-shirt to a fabulous T-Shirt!
Tip: you can use this information for altering a T-Shirt created from a pattern.
View “Altering T-Shirt: Video Clip” for a sample visual concept of this project.Note: Keep in tune to future postings on great information on how to transform your T-Shirt and other clothing
¼” Masking Tape or Scotch Tape
Clear ruler or rotary ruler
Thread (that match your fabric)
Doing a Fitting:
- Put on the T-Shirt so it is centered and hanging properly on your body.
- Pinch in the side seams on each side of the T-Shirt to make the fit closer to your body. Pinch in even amounts on each side. Safety pin both sides. Continue pinching and safety pinning up under the arm on the sleeve.
- If the neckline of the T-Shirt is too low, raise it by raising the shoulder line of the T-Shirt. While looking in the mirror, pinch up on the shoulder line of the T-Shirt by starting where you sleeves and shoulder line meet then continue toward your neckline. Do this for both shoulders. Adjust to where your necklines lie comfortably and evenly. You can use dressmaker’s pins for the shoulder lines.
- If you want to change the style of the neckline, you can mark out a new neckline by creating various necklines by starting with a crewneck T-Shirt . Look in the mirror, take your masking tape and cut a piece approximately 12” long. Start by pressing the tape down at your shoulder line, continuing around the front of your T-Shirt, creating your new neckline. You can also draw a new neckline with your tailor’s chalk.
- For a more sculptured look put in darts. Darts are stitched fabric folds that come to a point. (See Sewing Terms Tab for information on how to make a dart.)
- If the T-Shirt sleeves and body are too long, fold them under to the length you like then hold them in place with your dressmaker’s pins. Make sure that the sleeves and body of the T-Shirt fall evenly by measuring them with your ruler or tape measure.
Note: The marked and pined seams should be corrected when you take off the T-Shirt and place it on a work surface. When marking a line you can mark on one side of the T-Shirt then copy the line to the other side of the T-Shirt using a tracing wheel and tracing paper. When adjusting the sleeves and neckline allow a ½” seam allowance. When adjusting the body’s edge allow a 1” seam allowance.
Correcting Your Fitting:
- Turn your T-Shirt on the wrong side of the fabric and lay it flat on a work surface.
- With your tailor’s chalk, mark the fabric following the safety pins on the side seams. Mark all pinned areas of the fabric then turn the T-Shirt on the right side of the fabric so that you can remove the pins.
- After removing the pins, turn the T-Shirt back to the wrong side of the fabric the calk marks will be your new tapered line.
- With your clear ruler draw a line connecting the marks. This is your sewing line to take in the T-Shirt. If you have darts, make sure to mark them as well.
- Cut the T-Shirt to form front and back side seams. Extend the dart so that the deeper part starts from the side seams. Stop the dart just before the bust point.
- Begin by first sewing the darts you marked. Then baste the newly marked lines for the side seams.
- Turn the T-Shirt to the right side of the fabric and try it own. If you like the fit, take it off and turn it back to the wrong side of the fabric.
- From the sewing line, mark a ½ “seam allowance then cut the excess fabric away.
- If the sewing seams fit too tight, you should make the side seams looser. If the fit is too loose, you can take in the side seams.
When you hem the edges (not seam allowance) of knit fabric, zigzag stitch or serge the edge then blind stitch the hem to the fabric. This way you do not have to worry about the fabric buckling around the edges.
A fitting is a trial and error process until you are satisfied with the fit.
View “Altering T-Shirt: Video Clip” for a sample visual concept of this project.