Because now you can.
- ll-fitting knit shirt ( too large is best)
- chalk or a chalk pen
- sewing machine
N.B. This technique doesn't require a pattern, but makes you do some drafting. If that freaks you out head over to Burda Style and download the Lydia pattern. Use it for your armhole, sleeve cap and side cutting lines.
1) First, turn the shirt inside out and lay it down as flat as possible. Try to align the side seams. My T was not cut on the straight of the grain and was always wrinkled somewhere. Do your level best. Cutting up the side seam and the sleeves off might have helped me.
2)Then put a shirt that fits you well on top, centering it and aligning the shoulder seams. Fold a sleeve over along the armscye seam.
3) Following the contours of your shirt, and 1/4 inch outside its edge, draw a cutting line from the shoulder down this seam to the bottom of the armhole and then down the side seam to the shirt bottom. You might just barely have enough fabric at the bottom of the armhole.
4) Carefully cut along this line.
5) Next, cut the other side seam open and cut off the sleeve from the sleeve side. This shows the front of the sleeve cut off. Cut it off completely.
6) Unfold the shirt so the back and front are in a single layer connected only at the shoulders.
7) Now fold the shirt exactly down the center front with shoulder seams aligned. The bottom may not match up. Trace the outline of the re-shaped side and then cut it out. This assures the sides are symmetrical.
8) Repeat this process on the back. My shirt was cut so far off the grain that folding in half resulted in these wrinkles. Just remember, you are just copying the contour of the side and armhole seam from the first side to the other half.
9) Now you're done cutting the body. Refold the front over the back. Take a sleeve and place it under the armhole so it is the length and angle you like. (I might have liked mine angled down a bit more.)
10) If the sleeve extends farther than an inch below the body armhole, trim the underarm sleeve seam so that is only 1 inch plus seam allowance larger (see below). On the sleeve draw a line parallel to the hem about 1" long at the where the sleeve meets the underarm and about 2" long at the shoulder cap fold. Connect these two lines with a curve that roughly follows the armsyce.
11) With right sides together sew the new side seams of the body (and sleeve if it was too wide). Turn the sleeves right side out, put them inside the shirt so that right sides are together, pin and sew. Use a stretch stitch or a short and narrow zig-zag stitch (my setting was a length of 2 and width of 1).
If you are going to serge this, you will want to split the underarm seam so that you can sew from hem to hem.
If you like the neckline, you are done!
12) If you don't, carefully cut off the neckband, put on the shirt and use the chalk to draw a new neckline. Cut one side only, then fold the front in half lengthwise, transfer the cutting line to the other side and cut.
13) Now to neaten up that neckline. There are a lot of options, but this is what I do because 1) it is easy and 2) the bottoms of t-shirts don't usually fit over my hips. Cut off the bottom of the t-shirt at least 1/2 inch above the hem stitching. With the right side of this strip facing the WRONG side of the neckline, pin in place so that it extends about 1/4 inch beyond the cut neckline and is slightly stretched. Line up the side seam with one shoulder seam. When you get to the other shoulder seam cut the strip so that is goes past the shoulder seam 1/4 inch on either side.
14) Sew next to the shirt's cut edge.
Now turn the shirt inside out and very carefully trim off the excess strip fabric--the part that doesn't extend over the outside edge. This doesn't look good at first, but after washing and wearing that strips curls over the edge and looks finished, plus the neck won't stretch and gape.
Yea! Now you can fit any large T-shirt to size.
This also works really well for re-sizing a shirt to fit a child.