Monday, March 7, 2011

How-To Tuesday: How to tailor a shirt

Welcome to the very first installment of what I hope will be a long series of highly informative, entertaining, or just plain silly posts on our How-To Tuesdays.

[I know it's Monday. I wanted to get it up early to give you all a chance to link up. And make sure I did Mr. Linky right.]

Today I am going to share with you a little secret that tailors everywhere do not want you to know: How to tailor your own shirt.

You see, last year, the Husband decided one morning that he wanted to get in shape. All he pretty much had to do was decide that and 20 pounds fell off his body.

I tried really hard not to hate him for it.

Being the frugal man that he is, he did not want to run out and buy all new shirts. We figured we could tailor the ones he wanted to keep, and buy some new ones, as well. So we researched how to do it, purchased a sewing machine, and made the greatest discovery ever. This is so easy, it's ridiculous.

Start with the shirt you want to take in. Put it on inside-out.


Pull the fabric to your desired fit, and start pinning. You need to pin both seams on the sides - going all the way up the length of the shirt.


In order to avoid any bunching, you need to make a continuous seam from the sides to the sleeves. If you are not taking in the sleeves at all, just sew up around the armpit and taper off until you meet the existing arm seam. If you are taking your sleeves in, keep pinning to the end of the sleeve.


Carefully remove the inside-out/newly pinned shirt from your model, being careful to not scratch his face with the pins.

Because when you do that? He doesn't like it. At all. And WILL complain loudly.


Then sew a straight line from the bottom of the shirt up to the sleeves, again, tapering off as necessary. Because he didn't want to take the sleeves in (you know, to accomodate those large, manly biceps), I simply tapered my seam until it met the existing arm seam.


Before cutting off the excess fabric, try the shirt on (right side out this time) to make sure it is a good fit. If you need to take it in a little more, you can. If you took it in too much, you can unpick the seams and start again.


Then carefully, OH SO CAREFULLY, cut off your excess fabric.

Be sure your shirt is not bunched up underneath, or you will cut a large hole in the shirt. And it might happen to be the expensive dress shirt that was your husband's favorite. The one he loved more than all the other shirts. And there will be no repairing it. And you will feel terribly guilty. And he will feel terribly sad.

Not that I'd know anything about that, ahem.



And that's it! Takes less than 10 minutes to do, and saves you oodles of money at the tailor. Which then leaves more money for shoes. Yay!

It works great for women's shirts, too.

Especially if you happen to be smaller-waisted and larger-chested like me. In order to find shirts to fit me in the chest, they are often baggy and big at the waist. Drives me insane.

Enter the self-tailoring.

I bought this tank top at Ann Taylor Loft and fell in love with the ruffly flowers and beading. See? Look how adorable:


Only problem was, all they had left on the rack was a size L, which was too big for me. Rather than walking away from the store in despair, I bought it, knowing how easy it would be to tailor the shirt myself.

Here is the before:


Notice how baggy the fabric is at the waist (and chest). Not a good fit. Made me look larger than I actually am - something I avoid like the plague.

And here is the after:


So much better, right?

I do this now to any shirt that doesn't fit well. If I find something I love on the rack in a store, that maybe is too big in some spots, I buy it anyway, take it home, and fix it right up. Works like a charm.

Now it's your turn. What can you teach me how to do? Type the link to your post in our Mr. Linky here, grab a button from my sidebar, and play along. We all have something we can do. Let's share it.


Lala said...

That is SO clever! I sometimes buy things too big 'cause they look cute & are on sale- but then I take them to my mom (or grandmother)for them to fix. I think I need to get a sewing machine... I'm inspired!

danandcindy said...

Hey Dummy, Your towels on the top shelf in your intentionally left-open closet are slightly disheveled. What an embarrassment. Next time close the closet door.

Christie said...

Oh Dan. If only you knew the amount of sleep I will lose tonight thinking about those disheveled towels...

jen@odbt said...

You make it look so easy. I was just thinking that my top was too baggy but how to fix it. Now I need a sewing machine.

Julianna said...

Wait! But... I'm not ready yet! It's only Monday!!!

I have decided to bore you with one of my usless tallents that no one wants to talk ever. I'm gonna try and get it ready tonight, so I can link up in proper fashion.

No worries though, at some point I will indulge you with some of my sewing "tricks" as well. :)

And, Hello? Love the message board for the kids on the wall... so Awesome!

Jessica said...

I just finished my "thing"!! Will be posting tomorrow. (cooking of course and pictures sucky of course, but whatevs). So fun.

I bought Emma a seeing machine for her bday and she loves it. Maybe in a year, I'll hand her this tutorial and get my own in-home tailor.

D-dawg said...

I think I'm doing it. Not because I'm on the ball but I just happend to take pics of what I did yesterday and was going to post about it anyway. Great idea Christie!

Tristan said...

That is awesome! I don't know why I didn't ever think of that!! You have just saved me my friend! Thank you! Thank you!

Molly said...

This is AMAZING! I have lost 30 lbs and about 80% of my clothes don't fit - now I can keep those few favorites! You did a GREAT job at explaining each step and the pictures were very helpful.

Lauren in GA said...

Okay, first off...I KNOW, RIGHT?! When Mike decides that he wants to lose weight, *POOF* the poundage seems to melt away. I have no such weight dissolving miracles occur in my life.

I love your writing so much. I find such joy in reading things like, "[Cough*wuss*cough.]" I always laugh. Imagine The Husband not wanting his face scratched up with all of those pins.

I am going to post something. I will come back and link up once I have posted. Is that right? That's when I should link, huh?

I LOVED your tutorial. This is such valuable information. Thank you, lovely Stie!

crystal said...

I know how to tailor jeans! I know how to tailor jeans! me-me-me-me-me!

PICK ME! (waving hand like that guy with the 'fro in Welcome Back Kotter)

I will do that for NEXT WEEK'S How To Tuesday, because there is no way in hell it's going to happen between now & tomorrow. Humph. Toddlers!

Thanks for the tutorial--can't wait to try it out.

And i just might hate your big-chested, tiny-waisted self.

In a loving way, of course.

crystal said...

(i second Julianna; THAT MESSAGE BOARD! Tell us how to do that, and I will send you chocolate chip cookies, stat. My hubster can do the wood part, but I need to know how to do the rest.)

Karey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Travelin'Oma said...

Dee just bought all new shirts because you live to far away. They are just like his old shirts, but fit his new svelte body. Your linky love is totally cool!

Travelin'Oma said...

Sorry. I linked wrong. Twice. How embarrassing! Just click here to my how-to on connecting with teenage sons.

Karey said...

I went the ridiculous (but true)route this time. I'll be back with something more helpful next Tuesday.

Yours by the way, is great. I had to do that with a bunch of my daughter's clothes. It let her hang onto some favorites.

Thelma said...

Sorry I didn't comment when I first linked. It was early. I was tired.

Anonymous said...

What a great idea!!! I even own a sewing machine, but never would have had the guts to go to town on any shirts. Love it! Definitely going to have to give this a shot. By the way, just got back from my whirl wind weekend trip to Boston to check out towns/housing. So so so excited to move there.... but a little... umm.. shocked at what you get for the money. Talk about down sizing. Oh well, it will be an adventure. Thanks again for your emails! Take care.

Tristan said...

I just added my tutorial I posted on Sunday. I hope that's ok :)

Katie said...

This will be fun!

Can't wait to see all the ideas

Lauren in GA said...

Okay, I just posted...I think I did all of my links correctly...fingers crossed.

Jamie said...

Love this idea, and can't wait to learn more brilliant new ways to do things. Mine's a little goofy, but it was fun. I think we should all post what we need help on also-that way others will be inspired to share!

I love your tutorial, just what I need for my skinny boys!

calibosmom said...

Woohoo! This is fun and I've already learned some great things from the other posts. Love it! Thanks Stie! How appropriate that my word verification is "droppola"

Suzanne said...

Great stuff! What a cool idea. I'm a friend of Lauren's and saw her amazing post on how to look like Cindy Crawford. I look forward to stretching my mind as I try to find something useful to post every week. Thanks a bunch!

Celia Fae said...

I never knew any of that was possible. I thought all clothing was disposable. Hmm.

Kimberly said...

Billiant. Your post (half of my hubby's golf shirts are too big) so he is excited about this one.

Brilliant. How-to Tuesday. Almost makes me want to blog. I laughed and learned. In that order.

crystal said...

1. Celia Fae makes me LAUGH.

2. Your bro Dan makes me GUT LAUGH.

3. You have hilarious commenters/readers.

4. Can't wait to take in all my husband's shirts. Not mine--yet--for obvious reasons. Gak.

Cares and Mimi said...

What a lovely how-to. My hubs has plenty of shirts to take in. Though I wish I could remember how to thread my machine and sew-hee hee! Cares

Jeanelle said...

I couldn't think of anything interesting to do -- will try harder for next week. This was fun!

Aubrey said...

I eould like to know when you're sending that tank top to me and how you pin it on yourself and get it even--you must be super woman. I'm going tohave to try this on something--even though my sewing skills are questionable.

Celia Fae said...

I can't believe how many hits I got off of this. You should sell ads.

Charlynn said...

Great post, but I'm concerned about how your stitch will hold up in the wash. I would think you would need to finish it with a serge machine. Let us know if they hold up after a few runs in the washer. Thanks.

♥Maren said...

This is a GREAT idea... LOVE IT! (Almost makes me wish I had a blog.)

It has been so fun to read everyone who played along!

Heidiram said...

So I finally posted. But still haven't figured out the add the link part. Maybe someone can teach me to be a little bit more technologically literate.

♥Maren said...

Love your shirt. I am wondering why I don't have a matching one...

Cara @ Gardenview Cottage said...

that's a whole lot of awesomeness if I do say so myself! Thanks for the tip♥