How To Take In The Sides Of A Shirt?

How To Take In The Sides Of A Shirt?

Taking in the sides of a shirt is a common alteration that can instantly transform the fit and appearance of a garment. Whether you've lost weight, purchased a shirt that is slightly too big, or simply want a more tailored look, this simple adjustment can make a world of difference. With the right tools and a basic understanding of sewing, you can easily tailor your own shirt to achieve the perfect fit.

Determining the desired fit and making accurate measurements are key to successfully taking in the sides of a shirt. Start by putting on the shirt and using pins to mark where you want the new side seam to be. Take note of how much excess fabric needs to be taken in and make sure to measure consistently on both sides for a balanced result. Once the measurements are complete, remove the shirt and carefully take in the sides using a sewing machine or hand stitching, following the marked lines. Remember to test the fit frequently throughout the process to ensure the desired outcome.



How To Take In The Sides Of A Shirt?

Understanding the Process of Taking In the Sides of a Shirt

Altering the sides of a shirt can be a useful skill to have, whether you need to adjust the fit or want to repurpose an oversized shirt. However, it can be a daunting task if you are unfamiliar with the process. In this article, we will guide you through the steps of taking in the sides of a shirt, allowing you to achieve a customized fit and a flattering silhouette.

1. Taking Accurate Measurements

Before you start altering the sides of your shirt, it is essential to take accurate measurements. This step is crucial to ensure that the alterations are precise and the shirt fits you perfectly. Here's how you can take measurements for this alteration:

  • Put on the shirt you want to alter.
  • Stand in front of a full-length mirror.
  • Use a fabric measuring tape to measure the distance between your desired new seam line and the existing side seam of the shirt.
  • Mark this measurement with pins or fabric chalk on both sides of the shirt.
  • Remove the shirt and connect the marks to create a straight line using a ruler.
  • Measure and mark the same distance on the back of the shirt.

Make sure to keep the measurements consistent on both sides and the back. It is recommended to take multiple measurements and average them for accuracy.

Once you have the measurements, you can move on to the next step of the alteration process.

2. Seam Ripping and Pinning

Now that you have determined your desired new seam lines, it is time to prepare the shirt for alterations. Seam ripping and pinning are the next steps in the process:

  • Put the shirt inside out to expose the existing side seams.
  • Use a seam ripper to carefully remove the stitches along the existing side seams. Take your time to avoid damaging the fabric.
  • Once the side seams are undone, put on the shirt inside out again.
  • Begin pinning the new seam lines that you marked earlier. Start at the armhole and work your way down to the hem.
  • Make sure to match the corresponding markings on both sides of the shirt.
  • Pin the excess fabric evenly along the new seam lines, adjusting as needed for a smooth and symmetrical fit.

It is crucial to pin the excess fabric securely to ensure accurate alterations and prevent shifting during the sewing process.

Once the shirt is properly pinned, you can move on to the final step of sewing.

3. Sewing the New Seam Lines

After taking accurate measurements and pinning the excess fabric, it's time to sew the new seam lines and bring your alterations to life:

  • Using a sewing machine or needle and thread, sew along the pinned seam lines. Start at the armhole and sew all the way down to the hem.
  • Use a straight stitch or a zigzag stitch, depending on your preference and fabric type.
  • Remove the pins as you sew to avoid any accidental needle breakage.
  • When you reach the hem, knot the thread securely to prevent unraveling.
  • Repeat the sewing process on the other side of the shirt.
  • Once both sides are sewn, try on the shirt to ensure the fit is as desired.

If the fit is satisfactory, you can move on to the final step of finishing the alterations.

4. Finishing Touches and Care

After sewing the new seam lines and trying on the shirt, there are a few finishing touches and care instructions to keep in mind:

  • Trim the excess fabric close to the new seam lines, leaving a small allowance to prevent fraying.
  • Press the altered seams with an iron to give them a crisp and professional finish.
  • Machine wash or hand wash the shirt according to the fabric care instructions to maintain the alterations.
  • Enjoy your perfectly fitting shirt!

Remember, practice makes perfect. If it is your first time altering a shirt, it is recommended to start with a shirt that you don't mind experimenting with. With time and experience, you will become more comfortable and skilled in taking in the sides of shirts.

Exploring Alternative Methods for Taking In the Sides of a Shirt

In addition to the traditional method of taking in the sides of a shirt, there are alternative methods you can explore to achieve the desired fit:

1. Adding Darts

If you prefer a more tailored and fitted look, adding darts to the back of the shirt can help achieve that. Here's how you can add darts:

  • Put on the shirt and stand in front of a mirror.
  • Pinch the excess fabric at the bust level, starting from the side seam towards the center back.
  • Make sure the pinched fabric lies flat and follows the curve of your body.
  • Mark the pinched fabric with pins or fabric chalk to create the dart lines.
  • Remove the shirt and fold it in half vertically, matching the side seams.
  • Transfer the dart markings from one side to the other using pins or fabric chalk.
  • Using a sewing machine or needle and thread, sew along the dart lines.
  • Trim the excess fabric and press the darts for a professional finish.

Adding darts provides a more tailored fit without altering the side seams directly, making it a suitable method for those who want a fitted waistline while maintaining the overall width of the shirt.

2. Using Elastic

Another alternative method is using elastic to cinch in the sides of a shirt. This method works well for loose-fitting shirts or shirts made from stretchy fabrics. Follow these steps to use elastic:

  • Measure the desired amount of elastic needed to cinch in the sides of the shirt.
  • Pin the ends of the elastic to the marked points on each side of the shirt.
  • Sew the elastic to the shirt securely, ensuring it is evenly stretched and aligned with the markings.
  • Try on the shirt to check the fit and make any necessary adjustments.
  • Trim the excess elastic and finish the raw edges to prevent fraying.

Using elastic provides a quick and simple solution to adjust the width of a shirt, especially for those who prefer a gathered or cinched effect near the sides.

3. Taking In Shirts with Princess Seams

If the shirt you want to alter has princess seams, a different approach is required. Princess seams are seams that follow the curve of the body, creating a more tailored and feminine silhouette. Here's how you can take in shirts with princess seams:

  • Put on the shirt and stand in front of a mirror.
  • Pinch the excess fabric along the princess seams to achieve the desired fit.
  • Mark the pinched fabric with pins or fabric chalk to create the new seam lines.
  • Remove the shirt and transfer the markings to the other side for symmetry.
  • Using a sewing machine or needle and thread, sew along the new seam lines.
  • Press the altered seams for a polished finish.

Make sure to match the new seam lines accurately, as any inconsistencies can affect the overall fit and appearance of the shirt.

In Conclusion

Taking in the sides of a shirt can be a rewarding and practical skill to possess. Whether you want a more customized fit or seek to repurpose an oversized shirt, following the steps outlined in this article will guide you through the process. Remember to take accurate measurements, seam rip and pin the excess fabric, sew the new seam lines, and finish the alterations with care. Don't be afraid to try alternative methods such as adding darts or using elastic for a different effect. With practice and patience, you can transform any shirt into the perfect fit for your body.



Taking in the Sides of a Shirt

If you are looking to alter the fit of a shirt and want to take in the sides, here are some steps to follow:

  • Start by trying on the shirt and determining how much you want to take in from each side.
  • Turn the shirt inside out and lay it flat on a surface.
  • Using a measuring tape, mark the areas where you want to take in the sides by pinning them.
  • With a sewing machine or needle and thread, sew along the pinned lines, making sure to backstitch at the beginning and end of each seam.
  • Trim any excess fabric and press the seams open with an iron.
  • Try on the shirt again to ensure the desired fit.
  • If necessary, make any further adjustments and repeat the process.
  • Eager to take in the sides faster? Consider consulting a professional tailor for expert assistance.

By following these steps, you can successfully alter the sides of a shirt to achieve a better fit that suits your body shape and style.


Key Takeaways

  • Use a sewing machine to take in the sides of a shirt.
  • Measure and mark the new side seams on the shirt.
  • Pin the fabric along the new side seams.
  • Sew along the pinned seam lines, securing the fabric.
  • Try on the shirt after sewing to check the fit and make adjustments if necessary.

Frequently Asked Questions

Taking in the sides of a shirt is a common alteration that can give your shirt a more tailored and fitted look. If you're interested in learning how to take in the sides of a shirt, we've got you covered. Here are some frequently asked questions and answers to help you through the process.

1. How do I determine how much to take in on the sides of my shirt?

When taking in the sides of a shirt, it's important to start with accurate measurements. The amount you take in will depend on your desired fit and the excess fabric available on the shirt. Here's a step-by-step guide to determine how much to take in on the sides:

- Put on the shirt and stand in front of a mirror to assess the fit. - Pinch the excess fabric on the sides to see how much you'd like to take in. - Use a fabric measuring tape to measure the distance between the pins. - Divide this measurement in half to determine how much you should take in on each side. - It's always better to take in less fabric initially and make additional adjustments if necessary.

2. What tools do I need to take in the sides of a shirt?

Before getting started, make sure you have the necessary tools to take in the sides of your shirt:

- Sewing machine: A machine with a straight stitch and zigzag stitch capability is ideal for this alteration. - Matching thread: Choose a thread color that closely matches the fabric of your shirt. - Pins: These will be used to mark and hold the fabric in place. - Fabric scissors: A good pair of scissors will make it easier to cut excess fabric.

3. Can I take in the sides of a shirt without a sewing machine?

While a sewing machine is recommended for a more professional and durable finish, it is possible to take in the sides of a shirt without one. Here's an alternative method:

- Instead of using a sewing machine, use hand stitching techniques such as backstitch or slip stitch to secure the alterations. - Make sure to use a strong, matching thread and take your time to ensure the stitches are secure.

4. How do I ensure the alterations on the sides of the shirt are even?

To ensure even alterations on the sides of the shirt, follow these steps:

- Start by folding the shirt in half, aligning the side seams. - Pin the fabric together along the side seams, making sure the pins match up evenly. - Try on the shirt again to double-check the fit before making any permanent alterations. - Make minor adjustments if needed, taking care to keep both sides symmetrical.

5. Can I undo the alterations if I'm not happy with the result?

It's always best to be cautious when making alterations to your clothing. However, if you're not happy with the results, it is possible to undo the alterations on the sides of your shirt. Here's what you can do:

- Carefully remove the stitches using a seam ripper, taking care not to damage the fabric. - If any excess fabric was cut, you may need to add new fabric or take a different approach to achieve your desired fit. - Remember to take your time and be patient throughout the alteration process.



In summary, taking in the sides of a shirt is a simple and effective way to alter its fit. By following the step-by-step process outlined in this article, you can easily transform a loose-fitting shirt into a more tailored and flattering garment.

Remember to measure accurately, pin and stitch carefully, and make any necessary adjustments along the way. With a little practice, you'll be able to confidently take in the sides of any shirt and achieve the perfect fit.


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