Today I’m going to s with you all my experience with tailoring a button up shirt. Like many women out there, I have a difficult shape to find clothes for. My shape becomes a little bit of an issue when searching for button up shirts. They are almost always too short or too baggy. So, I decided it was time to learn how to tailor a shirt so that I can purchase shirts that are slightly too big and tailor them to fit me just right. I’m not, by any means, an expert seamstress, but thanks to my mom teaching me how to sew doll clothes when I was little, I do know a little bit about sewing clothing.
I watched a few you tube videos and found a few other blogs that show how to tailor a shirt, but unfortunately, I didn’t find anything on how to tailor a woman’s shirt to fit you better. I did find a few tutorials on tailoring a men’s shirt to fit a woman, and I found an excellent tutorial by Gaby @ The Vault Files on how to take in your pants, that I felt comfortable enough to start messing around with it.
I found a shirt from Old Navy that I loved the fabric and general shape of, but to get it long enough (and wide enough in the bust so that it didn’t pull the buttons) I had to get one that was way too big in the waste. I was intentionally looking for a shirt where the length fit right on the hips and arms, and where the size was correct in the shoulders, arms and bust. I also got one that was supposedly a fitted shirt, so I could copy the curves in the shirt when taking it in. This made my project much easier.
To begin, I put the shirt on inside out (doing up all the buttons), and got a general idea of how much I wanted to take off the sides. In Gaby’s tutorial, she actually pins the pants while they are on her body. I tried this, but it’s impossible with a shirt because you move too much when you’re trying to pin the shirt, and it’s hard to tell if you’re getting the same amount on each side. So instead, I took a general measurement, and took the shirt off and started pinning.
I didn’t want to adjust the arm holes, so I started taking in the shirt just under the arm pits. I took off about 1 1/2″ on each side, working in from the armpit sly and then folding the general shape of the shirt all the way down to the bottom. I pinned one side, then matched it to the other side to make sure they were the same. Then I put the shirt back on, being careful not to prick myself with the pins.
I had to let the shirt out about 1/4″ on each side because I originally pinned it slightly too small. I wanted to still have room to breath and move. Then I tried the shirt back on, made sure I was happy with it, and jumped over to my sewing machine. If you don’t have a sewing machine, you may consider reading about different sewing machines available.
Sewing the shirt was extremely easy. I just folded the line of my pins on both sides, back stitching at the bottoms for extra stability. The hem on the bottom of my shirt ended up being uneven, and I originally thought about fixing it, but after I put the shirt on, I realized you really would never know it wasn’t intentionally made that way, so I left it. Once I had sewn each side, I put back on the shirt. (I still hadn’t cut any fabric off). I ended up deciding I wanted the shirt to flare a little more at the bottom, so I made a new line and un-stitched the first one. (This is why I didn’t cut any fabric off until the very end.)
Once I felt like my shirt fit the way I wanted it to, I used a serger to cut and serge the inside seems so that it would stay together longer. If you don’t have a serger, you can do a zig-zag stitch along the seams to help with fraying.
I’m extremely happy with the way it turned out. It really was so simple, it took me about 2 hours start to finish. (And a good part of that was cleaning up the huge mess I made with my sewing machine.) I will definitely do it again!