Editor's Note: Charlottesville Crater will publish on the fourth Monday of every month
Sometimes you find a really great shirt, but it’s just a bit too big. Or in my case, my husband finds really great shirts, and then when he’s done with them, I confiscate them to try to make them work for me. Either way, a cool shirt can be saved with a little bit of modification. A T-shirt that is too large can easily be cut down to size and remade to be more flattering. (See photo 1)
First, take the shirt to be modified, turn it inside out, and then lay it flat. Take a shirt of yours that fits correctly and lay it flat on top of the project shirt. Trace around the edge of the shirt that fits, plus about a half an inch to allow for a seam allowance. (See photo 2)
Cut on the line you’ve traced and pin the sides together. Don’t forget the sleeves! The way I’m cutting, I’m leaving the existing sleeves but taking out some of the width. They will still be the same length, because I like longer sleeves on my shirts. If you want shorter sleeves, or even NO sleeves, make sure you trim and pin those, too. Sew up the sides of the shirt and sleeves. Now is a good time to try on and see if you need to take it in any more before you finish. This is also a great time to check the length. I love long shirts and tunics, but I fully acknowledge that long doesn’t look good on everyone.
Now it’s time for the neckline modification. I do this all the time on my shirts. The “stretchy” crew neck collars that are in typical T-shirts are not flattering and sometimes still too tight for me. It’s actually really simple to rip those out and hem the neckline back to look nice. I want a boatneck top with this shirt, but I don’t think I’m going to have quite enough material where it needs to go. That being said, I’m going to try a sort of scoopneck instead. (See photo 3)
Rip out that collar! It’s very simple—take your seam ripper and pull out where it meets the body of the shirt. You may have a little tricky bit where it meets the shoulder seam and back of the shirt, but have no mercy—that collar is standing in your way! Just try not to rip the body of the shirt.
I’m also widening this a bit, so now I’m going to open up the shoulder seam about an inch or so on each side. These raw edges get pinned. You may want to do this while trying it on or use a dress form (if you’re lucky enough to have one) so that you can make sure that it will lie correctly when you’re wearing it. (See photo 4)
Now sew up your neckline, finish off your dangling threads and enjoy your new shirt! I’m loving my new dragon shirt with fluttering sleeves!
Karen is a blogger and crafter who has lived in Central Virginia for 6 years after transplanting from the Shenandoah Valley. She blogs about crafts at CraftyKix.