Alter a Boxy T-Shirt (You CAN Sew)

August 26, 2011 at 12:14 PM 11 comments

Keeping It Simple

If you like your t-shirts to be a bit longer than the average t-shirt available for women, there is a simple solution! Either purchase the shirt up a couple of sizes (meaning, you should purchase an XL if you wear a medium), or simply purchase a men’s t-shirt, and alter the larger shirt to fit. Yes, I said


Don’t be afraid of this word. Alter is a good word after all, and it means you will be making your clothes fit better thereby creating a flattering image rather than making you look frumpy and unkempt.

I prefer for my shirts to hit me at my resting low hip (when I am just standing around doing nothing). This way, when I move or reach for something, I’m not showing off my midriff (which, after 4 kids, doesn’t need to be seen…but I digress). In order to accomplish this preferred length, I must purchase my shirts a few sizes larger than my actual size. If you are a tad fluffy, then the only way to go is to purchase larger men’s shirts since their sizing is a bit more generous – boxy, but generous. The problem then becomes that the shirt swallows me whole. It is the right length, but that is the only thing right about it.

So, in comes the alter part: (I am by no means an artist, so please bear with me on the following sketches!)

1.  Pre-wash and dry the larger shirt, and turn it inside out. (You weren’t really expecting a sketch for this part, were you?) 😉

2.  Lay it on a clean, flat surface like the kitchen table with the front of the shirt facing up. Fuss with the shirt to smooth it out and align all of the seams.

3.  Following the seam, remove the sleeves.  Then, remove the underarm seam from the sleeve.

4.  Lay a shirt that you love the fit of (even if it is too short) on top of the larger shirt, being careful to line up the collars and keep things centered and smooth.

5.  Tuck the top shirt’s sleeves inside.

6.  Use a washable or evaporating fabric marker to trace the outside contours of the fitted shirt onto the big shirt. (Decide if you’ll want to hem up the sleeves [below] so that you can cut those accordingly right now.)

7.  Pin on the inside of the lines you’ve drawn. (I pinned on the outside of the lines and found it to be more difficult when sewing.)

8.  Using a straight stitch (5-8 spi), sew on the lines you’ve drawn. (Let the machine’s feed dogs do the work. Try not to push or pull the fabric. Remember to lock your seams.)

9.  Try on the shirt. If it does not fit well, go back and adjust the position of the seams you’ve sewn. You haven’t cut away the fabric, so the fit is not yet permanent – win!  If it fits well, then go back and cut away the excess fabric.

10.  Attach the sleeves (pin 1st working from the shoulder seam out to the underarm). Because you’ve altered the shirt size, the sleeves will overlap at the underarm. Finish attaching the sleeve, and cut away the excess fabric where the sleeve meets the shirt. Seam the sleeve from the overlap out, and then use a rolled hem to finish the sleeves.

Now you have a longer, less boxy, more modest, feminine t-shirt! Good work!


Entry filed under: Modesty Matters.

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11 Comments Add your own

  • […] posted here: Alter a Boxy T-Shirt (You CAN Sew) « Modesty Matters' Blog Filed Under: How To Sew A Rolled Hem Tagged With: Singer Sewing […]

  • 2. Lisa  |  August 27, 2011 at 9:24 AM

    That looks great! But I think I’ll just send my shirts to you. 😉

  • 3. Cricket @ Thrifty Texas Penny  |  August 29, 2011 at 10:49 AM

    Fabulous! They would probably take a few months to get to on my to do list though.
    Stopping by to say hello from the Monday Alexa hop.

  • 4. Marilyn  |  August 29, 2011 at 12:11 PM

    How awesome.. I love it…I’m following ya officially from Motivate Me Monday At Keeping It Simple.. Lovely blog you have here.Can’t wait to read more.. Hope you can stop by & visit me sometime / follow back.. TY So much.. Have a great week.Marilyn from

  • 5. Edie Carter (@247mama)  |  August 29, 2011 at 1:34 PM

    I think even I could do this!! Great idea! I am always looking for longer shirts. I’m here from the Alexa hop. I’d also like to invite you to participate in my brand new homeschool hop here!

  • 6. SJ @ Homemaker On A Dime  |  August 31, 2011 at 1:18 AM

    This wonderful post totally contributed to the blog party’s success! Thanks for linking up at Creative Bloggers’ Party & Hop 🙂

    • 7. modestmomma  |  August 31, 2011 at 7:34 AM

      Thank you, SJ! I went over to link up and the linky is closed. Sorry I missed it, but thank you so much for the invite!

  • 8. karin chudy  |  August 31, 2011 at 8:00 AM

    great job on this. It is my hope someday to learn to sew. 🙂
    Thanks for stopping over at

  • 9. Tommy  |  February 20, 2013 at 7:36 PM

    Have you ever thought about creating an e-book or guest authoring on other websites?
    I have a blog based upon on the same ideas you discuss and would
    really like to have you share some stories/information.
    I know my audience would value your work. If you’re even remotely interested, feel free to send me an e mail.

  • 10. Juanita  |  September 23, 2013 at 11:28 PM

    Hello there! I could have sworn I’ve been to this website before but after reading through some of the post I realized it’s new to me. Anyhow, I’m definitely glad I found it and I’ll be book-marking and checking back often!

  • 11. Shellien Gilliland  |  November 16, 2013 at 1:55 PM

    Thank you so much! Daughter’s big dance today and matching T-shirts way too big! Now she has the tailored look she loves!


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