quick tutorial: how to make an oversized t-shirt smaller… and edgier

alrighty! seeing how many of you are interested in this tutorial after my previous post (= nobody), i’m gonna go ahead and post it anyway because this is my blog and i can do whatever i want to it and i am still B-O-R-E-D.

so, all you need is an oversized t-shirt, preferably in jersey or it would be even better if you can find scuba or ponte ones (= thicker knit). sweatshirt material is also great.

you can use an old one that you’re sick and tired of, or if you’re like me & many other people who love buying second-hand clothes or clothes from the sale racks which don’t necessarily come in your size anymore, then this is one way to allow yourself to buy a t-shirt that is way too big for you… because you can always make it smaller yourself!

the easiest way to make an oversized t-shirt smaller is of course to take in the side seams. just sew the sides up to your taste and you’re done. the only problem is, sometimes that means you also need to sew the sleeves smaller, right under the armpits, or if you prefer not to, then you just don’t take the sides in all the way to the armpit parts.

well, my way is a bit more… unorthodox, shall we say? and i’d like to think that the outcome is a slightly edgier look than your average t-shirt. :p

ready? let’s do this.


1. since i’ve never done a tut, i completely forgot to take a picture of me wearing the t-shirt before i did anything to it. just use your imagination! anyway, fold the front part of the t-shirt in half, making sure the back part of the t-shirt is away from it. then starting from about 10 cm of the side seam i cut upwards until about 5 cm above the hem, turn my scissors 90 degrees towards the middle part and continue cutting that way until i’ve cut the whole part off . for some reason, i did not cut the corners in 90 degrees angle, but more like slightly rounded. this doesn’t really matter in the end, because you’ll be sewing the corners anyway. (i know… my picture only shows when the cut was already done, but like i said… this is my first tutorial so please bear with it.)


2. next, still with the front part of the t-shirt folded in half, starting from the corner of the hem cut that you did in step 1, cut upwards but make it slightly diagonal towards the side seams, up to about 10 cm from where the sleeve is. i swear i did not make any calculations for this, i just cut as i pleased. if you want, you can of course also measure where the tip of your breast is and cut it right until that part. but me, i’m too lazy to do that, thankyouverymuch. now, in the picture i positioned the t-shirt so that you can see the cut i made in an upside down V shape, but what i did was actually just a normal straight cut (not V-shaped, but as i said, slightly diagonal).

3. now it’s time to sew! first, sew the just-cut hem parts that goes 5 cm vertically. i did this from the right side (which means don’t turn your t-shirt inside out!) because i want the stitches to look perfect from the right side. who cares what it looks like inside. anyway, since my t-shirt is a slightly thick jersey, i only folded it once and sew it normally. jerseys don’t fray, and since this is oversized i couldn’t be bothered to use an overlocker & sew it with twin needles. just sew away with your normal sewing machine! then when you’re done, it’s time to sew the horizontal hem part. i did this part the same way as i did the vertical parts, but made the hem fold just a tiny bit wider, because of what we’re going to do in step 4. and sorry, no pics this time because i couldn’t take pics while i sew!


4. here comes the most exciting part. turn your t-shirt inside out. fold the front part of the t-shirt so that the long slit you made is right on the edge (i started with the left slit, as seen in the pic), making sure that both parts of the cut is lying straight on top of each other. if you’re familiar with the sewing term, basically this is like a “dart”. starting from the top end of the slit and then 1 cm up from that, start pinning/marking the dart exactly there from the edge all the way down to the hem, going wider as you go along to the bottom of the hem. when you reach the hem, try making it so that when the 2 parts meet, they will be at the same length (for example, after aligning the hem it made my “darts” meet at around 1,5 cm from the edge–see the pink pin). if you sewed your horizontal hem too low (step 3), you’ll probably end up with a much smaller “darts”.


after you’re done marking the darts, then all you gotta do is sew them! again, start sewing from the top of your dart (so that’s 1 cm above the top of the slit), making sure that you sew exactly from the very edge of the dart, as seen in the image, and all the way down to the hem. since i marked my darts with pins, all i did was sew from the top and take away the pins one by one as i followed the line downwards.

repeat the same step for the other slit, and you’re dooooone!

vogueshirtremake1here’s a closer look at the finished darts & hem.


you can make the cutout hem wider and higher, of course, depending on how oversized your original t-shirt is.

so, now you know how i remade my t-shirt, and who knows… you might do it too one day! if you do, please let me know as i’d be pleased to see how it turns out. and if there’s any question, just fire it away. 🙂