Taking in the Sides of a T-Shirt

2 Materials
30 Minutes

My son is tall and skinny, and some t-shirts don’t fit him the way he likes them to fit. This t-shirt in particular was really sort of boxy. While it fit well in the shoulders, it was huge at the hem. We agreed that taking in the sides of the t-shirt would make it fit him a whole lot better, so I got to work…

This is a super-simple alteration that anyone who can sew a straight stitch on the sewing machine can do!

First, determine how much the shirt will need to be taken in. I took in nearly 2″ on each side for a total of 4".

The trick is to make sure that the new seam will blend – for lack of a better term – “seamlessly” with the existing seam. I used a chalk pencil to draw a new seam line that curved from the sleeve seam then ran parallel to the existing side seam into the hem. (I did not remove the hem.)

It is hard to see in the photos, so I took a close up…

Once I had the new seam marked, I folded the shirt in half lengthwise, matching up the sides, then cut along the chalk line. I placed a few pins along each side to hold the shirt together.

I used a serger to sew the new seam then wove the threads back into the seam. A regular sewing machine with a narrow zig-zag stitch will work equally well – just feed the fabric through the presser foot without stretching.

He is so happy with it – it is almost like having a brand new t-shirt! Well, in all honesty, he’s had the shirt forever but was just waiting for me to get started with this simple alteration for him! (Good work takes time, right?)

Suggested materials:
  • Thread
  • Serger

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Cher | The Craft Alternative
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  • Tina Tina on Apr 25, 2022

    Thank you for this I've just been though my Tshirts I got in the sale this is a perfect how to for me to make them fit since I got them I've lost 2stone and now they are to big you have just saved me a lot of money now I can alter to fit

    • Hi, Tina! I'm so glad the tutorial is useful for you! I had to alter most of my son's t-shirts because he's so tall. Good luck with your projects!