Refashion 101: How To Take In a Shirt

how to take in a big shirt_refashion101

When it comes to clothes refashions, a few basic skills can go a long way! Today I am tackling a refashion must know, how to take in a shirt.   This can seem intimidating at first if you are a beginning sewer but have no fear, it is very easy and only requires sewing 2 lines.   So many of my refashions come from larger shirts that once belonged to my husband.  Starting with a bigger shirt allows for so many refashion possibilities!  So let’s start at the beginning with this Refashion 101: How to Take in a Big Shirt.

resize a shirt DIYThis is kind of ironic that the shirt I chose to refashion was a camouflage men’s slim fit shirt.   The camouflage must be hiding the bagginess because it appears less baggy than it really was.

inside out pin itAnyways, start with your big baggy shirt and put it on inside out.  Using straight pins, pinch and pin the extra baggy fabric to the desired fit.  Start at the sleeves and pin all the way down the side.  Do this on both sides.

mark it

Carefully take off your shirt.  Using a marking pencil, draw a line where the pins are.  This will be the line that you sew.

match up linesMake sure that the ends of the bottom of the  shirt, the ends of the sleeves of the shirt, and the armpit seams all match up nicely.

How to take in a shirtNow you are going to sew along the lines that you marked.  The picture above shows where you will be sewing.


Start at the sleeve and sew until the middle of the armpit.  Once there, lower your needle.  Lift your presser foot and pivot so that you can now sew straight down the side.  Sometimes I like to do a few backstitches right at the armpit too so that it has extra strength for that often moving area.

try it onTurn your shirt right side out and try it on.  It will look and feel a little funny at first because it has those big seams that need to be cut.

trim seamsIf it feels like a good fit, you can take it off and trim the extra fabric aways from the seams.  Serge or finish with a zig zag stitch if desired.


too big shirt refashionNow that wasn’t too bad?! You now know how to take in a shirt! Air fist bump.  You can follow this same tutorial if you want to refashion some adult shirts into kids shirts as well!

Want to see some of my refashions where I use this technique? Check out my Sewing and Refashion Pinterest Page!

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  1. Just did this today with a tshirt that I had previously thought that I wouldn’t ever wear. Now it fits perfectly, and I love it! Thanks for the tutorial. It was by far the easiest one to follow that I had found. 🙂


    • greylustergirl says:

      Your comment made me so happy Emilie! I am glad that it was easy to follow! Thanks for stopping by and keep refashioning!

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