+ Tailor it to fit February: How to take out a tee shirt

My little brother, who’s not so little anymore, just turned 19 and still holds onto those beloved grown-out-of high school clothes. Hmmmmm sounds exactly like me! Like brother, like sister I guess. He has been bringing literally a big full of clothes over to my house to repair, shrink, make bigger etc. and this was one of the tops. It fit perrrrrrfectly! I was so excited. 
So what is the difference exactly? Well, I added a good inch and a half to the sleeves and the bottom, widened the shirt by 5 and a half inches, and widened the sleeves by 3. I was so nervous about ruining his shirt, am I’m so happy he loved it. Thanks for letting me cut up your closet John :)
See the panels
Old tee shirt or fabric (you can make it match or not)
Tee shirt that is too tight
Perfectly fitted shirt
Sewing Machine


1. Measure your small shirt against a perfectly fitted one. Measure the sides of the shirt to the bigger shirt. My brother’s needed 2 inches on both sides and I added a half inch for seam allowance. 
2. Then measure the sleeve width’s difference, my brothers was 3 inches with a half inch for seam allowance. 
3. Then measure the length from the end of the sleeve to the armpit (my brother’s was 6 inches) and from the armpit to the bottom of the shirt but add a few extra inches for hemming (my brother’s was 23 inches). Add these measurements together too (29 inches).
4. With an extra shirt or fabric, mark out the extra material you need to make the shirt fit, plus an inch to the width for seam allowance. Do this by marking the end of the sleeve to the bottom of the shirt (for example 29 inches from #3). Then split this measurement into the sleeve length measurement (6 inches) and the length of the armpit to the bottom (23 inches). Measure the width you need and cut (3 inches + .5 for sleeve and then taper it to 2 inches + .5 for the armpit to bottom).
5. Now cut! I wasn’t very even.
6. Cut the sides of the shirt and underside of the armpit.
7. Seam rip the hems of the sleeves and the bottoms open an inch or two around the newly cut openings of the tee shirt.
8. Then pin the strip of fabric right sides together to the shirt newly cut openings. Make sure to pin all the way through the seam ripped openings.
9. Then then hem back the few seamed ripped openings with the new panel in there to complete the shirt and sleeves.
10. Iron!
This is what the inside and outside look like.


  1. Cool and nice work! Cute brother :)

  2. Whoa! This is brilliant! I should do this for my older brother – he too wears small shirts from high school (its only been 5 years…) Not gonna lie, I have a couple shirts that could benefit from this as well! My biggest problem – how do you find fabric that matches? I have a crazy orange shirt that needs this desperately, should I just carry it around with me when I go shopping till I find something?

  3. This is perfect! I have such a hard time throwing out clothes. I’m 26 and still rocking a few shirts/pants from high school. Waste not want not 😉

  4. You do such an awesome job! your brother is so cute! If only I were 7 years younger 😉


  5. that’s neat! i would have never guessed.

  6. Wow, who would have guessed this? Really good work!


  7. Wow did not know this…. thanks.

    xxx from Barcelona!!!


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