By Contributing Editor Kristina Strain

Knowing how to take in a shirt or sweater can be the key to converting a shapeless garment into something flattering. This technique can be applied to almost any type of garment: t-shirts, blouses, sweaters, even some dresses. Bulky sweaters, especially ornate tops, and anything that zips down the side are probably not good candidates for taking in, but aside from that, anything goes!

Materials Needed:

Sewing machine
Matching thread
A shirt that fits, to use as a pattern
A marking pen, pencil, chalk, or colored pencil

Time required: About fifteen to twenty minutes

First, turn your shirt to be taken in inside out, and lay it face-down on a flat surface. Turn your shirt that fits inside out as well, and lay it down on top. Line up the collar and shoulder seams as best you can, and trace around the shirt that fits. Pin along these lines.

Thread your sewing machine with matching thread, and sew along the traced lines that run from the undersides of the sleeves down to the bottom hem. Trim about 1/4″ away from the seams. Now, try on your shirt and decide if you want to shorten the hem and/or shorten the sleeves. Mark how short you’d like the hem and sleeves to be, and cut about an inch away from these lines. Cut a half-inch away from the side seams you just sewed, as well. Now you should have this:

To finish the raw edges, zig-zag stitch along them like this:

Turn the zig-zagged edge over to the wrong side of your shirt, and pin in place.

Sew along the edge of the turned-over

zig-zagging, about 1/2″ from the folded edge. Repeat for all other raw edges.

Now, go put on your new t-shirt that no longer fits like a potato sack, and do something to celebrate!

Related Growandmake.com articles to check out:

How to Sew a Button

How to Mend a Seam

How to Take in a Shirt

How to Hem

How to Mend a Hole