How to Down-Size a Sweatshirt for a Better Fit
I've had this TRUCKEE sweatshirt for many years. I never wear it because it fits like a sack. I want to narrow the body and the arms and shorten the overall length so that it's something to enjoy wearing.
Decide the Final Size
There are a couple of ways to do this.
- One way is to take your various torso measurements, mark the shirt accordingly, cut it up, and re-sew.
- A second way is to use a shirt that already fits well as your guide/pattern.
- So, my final size is my existing shirt that fits well.
Let's Get Started
- Turn your target shirt inside out. (This will make it ready to sew.)
- Lay your guide shirt over the top of it and pin together. I want to keep the shoulders and tops of the sleeves the same, so I line them up.
- I'm also going to cut off the hem and cuffs to make them shorter—you may like your length.
If you are using a regular sewing machine you have a couple of options:
- Cut the excess fabric now and leave a 1/2" seam allowance. Remove the guide shirt and go seam it up!
- Leave the guide shirt in place and seam 1/2" from its edges. Afterward, unpin the guide shirt, cut away the excess fabric then sew a second seam or do a zigzag stitch.
I am going to go straight to my serger, follow the guide shirt, and cut off the extra fabric at the same time. See below.
Reattach the Cuffs and Hem
- Turn your sleeve right side out.
- Turn your cuff right side in, and nest them.
- Pin to keep from shifting.
- Sew or serge for the amount of ribbing you want to keep.
- Repeat for the other cuff and the bottom.
With a serger, you cannot backstitch to secure your seam. Use any seam sealant instead. These are found in fabric stores, craft stores, or large chains. A couple of drops will dry to a permanent waterproof closure. Cut off the extra "tail" after it dries. AFTER it dries.
You're done! Enjoy!
You now have a shirt that was sitting around doing nothing that you can wear often. This technique can be used for a variety of situations:
- Hand-me-downs that are great, but too big.
- A super-sale in a store for a garment that is too large.
- Make matching Father/Son, or Mother/Daughter tops when only the larger size is available.
Have fun making something new and useful.
Questions & Answers
Will down-sizing methods work with t-shirts?
Yes. Any knit, and many woven materials, should be fine.Helpful 1
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