Thursday, November 3, 2011

Refashioning - How to enlarge a too small t-shirt

This tutorial will only work if your t-shirt is longer than you would normally wear it. I am a short person so am quite happy generally to shorten my tees. Or you may wish to use co-ordinating or contrasting fabric from another tee. I have also seen this done simply to featre a favourite piece of woven fabric so that is another option for you.

I generally wear an XL but found this perfect size M at the oppy today. I knew that I really wanted to spend some time playing around with unfitting clothing and doing some refashioning so this was a perfect start for me.
First I cut off the hem just above the stitching line. 
Then I cut a section approximately 7 cm from the bottom of the t-shirt. You must work out how much you will need to add according your t-shirt size.

The best way is to measure your bust. Then measure the bust of the t-shirt when it is lying flat and unstretched. Take this measurement away from your bust measurement and you will have the overall difference. Next you need to divide this for the two sides and add on two seam allowances. This will tell you how wide your inserts need to be. Hopefully you will still have enough length on your finished t-shirt for your height as well as inserts that are long enough to go from waist hem to sleeve hem. Please calculate these before proceeding.
After that I carefully removed the side seam being sure to only cut off the smallest amount. 
 The 7cm (0r whatever size you are dealing with) strip from the bottom of the tee is then split into two pieces by cutting the side seams out.
One piece gets sewn into the gap at each side, being carteful to align hems at the waist. 
After that you simply cut off the extra pieces at the sleeve and hem according to your taste. 
 If you want to turn over a hem at the sleeve you will need to leave enough allowance for this when you cut off the extra bit.

Please don't forget to clean your seams according to your favourite method.

If you are a novice when it comes to sewing with knit fabrics like I am then I would suggest taking a slow speed and gently feed the fabric in from the front and side. 
DO NOT pull from the back or you will stretch the fabric.

I used a 1/4 inch seam in size 3 stitch length (Brother machine) and cleaned the seams with a simple zigzag, feeding the seams in slowly again so as not to buckle them. Of course if you have an overlocker or serger and know what you are doing with knits this will all be a breese for you. As it is the project does not take a long time.


I may or may not be back to show you how I further embellish this top. (that's if I even do!).


  1. great tutorial! i have totally learned the hard way that pulling on the garment or going to fast with certain types of fabric, doesn't turn out so pretty.

  2. I don't think I'd be game to give this a go. All my attempts at stretch sewing have been disasters. :(
    Anne xx

  3. You've done it again McGoo! Sheer bloody genius!

  4. Clever work & such a nice colour for this Summer, love Posie


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