Easy t-shirt alterations

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I had a closet full of t-shirts that didn’t fit, until I discovered that I could alter them in just about 20 minutes. The process is simple and will help you reclaim those free t-shirts that seem to multiply.

resize a tshirt!

Step 1 – Choose a shirt that fits well as a guide. 

I was inspired to try this technique when my son’s tee ball shirt was too big, resulting in him refusing to wear it to the game. I figured making the shirt fit was easier than dealing with a 5-year-old tantrum, so I chose his favorite shirt to use as a guide. He didn’t even have to be in the room! I didn’t use pins or take any measurements. This technique is really simple.

Step 2 – Line up the shirt that fits with the big one.

tshirt alterations - line up two shirtsTurn the big shirt inside out and lay it flat, smoothing out all of the wrinkles. Then, place the shirt that fits on top so that the collars line up nicely.

Step 3 – Use tailor’s chalk to mark the edges of the shirt that fits. use tailor's chalk to trace the shirt

Simply trace around the sides of the shirt. This will be your guideline when sewing. Remember, you don’t want to sew the arm holes shut!


Step 4 – Sew along the chalk lines.

I used a sturdy zigzag stitch for this, but I don’t think I needed to. Also, you may have noticed in the picture that the thread does not need to match the fabric for this, since all of the stitches will be hidden.

Leave openings along both sleeves and along the bottom hem. (The shirt is no good if you can’t get in it!)

Step 5 – Cut the sleeves to the length you prefer.

You don’t have to trim them at all, or you can cut them to the same size as the shirt you used as a template.

Step 6 – (Optional) Cut the bottom hem to the length you prefer.

Before making cuts at the bottom, I had my son try on the resized shirt. He actually preferred the longer length, so we left the original hem. When I did this project for my own shirt, I decided to cut off some from the bottom, then simply sewed around the edges so they didn’t roll up.

That’s it! This project is really easy and you can turn all of the boxy, unflattering t-shirts piling up in your closet into your favorites!