Resizing a Shirt

I want to preface this post by asking you not to go out to thrift stores and buy plus sized clothing just so you can resize it to make it smaller. I only made this shirt smaller because it was given to me by the previous owner and I could picture a cute project. So that being said, I had to resize this men’s XL shirt to fit me as an overshirt without looking like I was wearing my dad’s clothes before I could make it pretty 😊.

This part of the project does require a bit of previous knowledge on sewing like how to use a sewing machine. If you aren’t interested in the resizing portion, I will be posting the decorating post on Friday so keep your eyes peeled!

Here’s what I used:

A sewing machine

White thread

A jean shirt

Seam ripper



Washable Marker


A partner to help pin me

I started by trying this shirt on for my mom. We both agreed that the main changes needed were in the shoulders, arm length, and width at the waist. However, I was looking to keep this loose so I could wear a sweater under it in the fall so I didn’t need to take much off. She pinned my shoulders to see how far the seam needed moved in and how short that would make the sleeve. We settled on taking the seam 1.5 inches in and shortening the arm another 1.5 inches. The waist needed to come in about 2 inches, but only about 1” down by the hips.

Once we pinned everything to make sure it would fit, I carefully took it off and got to ripping. First, I wrote down the measurements I mentioned above, then took out the pins and carefully used my seam ripper to take the arms off and set them aside. I buttoned the shirt, turned it inside out, and laid it down flat so I could use the washable marker to draw a line where I needed to sew and then pinned along that line.

I sewed the side seams with a simple straight stitch, leaving about 3 inches from the bottom open for slits. Then I trimmed off the excess fabric, leaving half an inch beside the seam, and ironed both seams towards the back of the shirt. At the top of the slit, I made a small cut so I could iron the seam open and β€œfinish” the slit.

Since this was a jean shirt, all of the seams had top stitching. To top stitch, you need 2 seams on the outside of the shirt just along the seam, holding the excess seam down. The way I do my top stitching is by aligning the edge of my presser foot on the edge of the seam I just made (the needle should be on the side of the excess fabric- here it’s the back of the shirt) and sewing a straight stitch all the way down the shirt. Next, I align the presser foot on the same side but this time I set the seam crease on the tick of the presser foot closest to the needle. It should be about 1/8th of an inch from the crease. I sew that all the way down just like before.

At the bottom, I did the same things to the slit. One side was already done, so I top stitched the other side to just above the slit. Once I was at the top, I turned 90 degrees and stitched to the other side. You can see how these slits look in the picture above.

Now it was time for the sleeves. Since I needed to take off 1.5” from both the sleeve and the shoulder, I went ahead and trimmed that off. I didn’t need to account for seam allowance here because I had just taken out the shoulder seam and the extra half inch I wanted was already included. Usually I only do quarter inch seams, but since this needed top stitching I wanted to be safe with a half inch allowance.

With the shirt inside out and the sleeve right side out, I put them right side to right side and pinned them aligning the seams first. If your sleeves and arm hole don’t fit perfectly, you can put tiny cuts in the seam allowance to help allow them to mold around a little. Once I had my sleeves pinned, I sewed each of them with a straight stitch at a half an inch. Then I ironed the seam towards the shoulder so I could top stitch on the shoulder instead of the sleeve.

Just like before, I top stitched the sleeve seams onto the shoulder area and tried it on. Everything fit exactly how I wanted it to! It was loose enough for a sweater to fit underneath but tight enough that I didn’t feel like a child wearing adult clothes! But this project isn’t over yet… I did a little sprucing up and made an adorable spooky themed shirt! Check back on Friday for how it turned out 😊 As always, if you take any fun pictures or videos of any crafts, tag me on Instagram @SmileMakePeopleWonder and use the hashtag #DandelionSmiles. Don’t forget to subscribe so you don’t miss out on the next exciting idea.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: