Cutting or Sewing to Make a Shirt Bigger Update 06/2022

In the course of a long workday, have you ever found yourself unable to budge from your chair due to the fear that the buttons on your blouse would fall open? Even the tee you picked up at a concert years ago could not fit you perfectly. Regardless, you’re undoubtedly wondering how to expand your shirt’s dimensions!

In most circumstances, you can increase the size of a shirt by stretching it or sewing it in place. The collar, sleeves, and side seams of a shirt can be enlarged by stretching specific textiles. Cutting and stitching are other options for making adjustments.

In this post, you’ll learn how to stretch a shirt with a number of methods, how to stitch tees and button-downs, and how to refashion your garments with nothing but a pair of scissors!

How To Make A Shirt Bigger

Can You Make a Shirt Bigger?

Depending on the style of the shirt and the material it is made of, you may or may not be able to make it larger.

Most shirts may be made to stretch a little bit if you follow the right instructions. When it comes to stitching techniques, the style of your garment is critical. Blouses and button-downs can be more difficult to change than t-shirts, for example.

The sort of material used also has a significant impact. Cotton shirts can be easily stretched, however, polyester and other synthetic textiles can’t be. Some fabrics, such as linen, will retain existing needle holes, resulting in ugly blemishes that show your adjustments if you decide to stitch them.

Stretching or sewing most shirts to a larger size is possible if you have the correct combination of style and material.

How to Make a Shirt Bigger Without Sewing

Stretching a shirt is the quickest and most straightforward method of increasing the size of a garment. Cotton and cotton-blend shirts, in particular, have a tendency to expand by at least half a size.

There are a number of short stretching techniques that you can use in order to get back into a slightly too-small shirt! In order to expand a shirt without having to sew, these solutions need little work or ability.

To do this, you can wash and stretch the shirt, soak it in water and hair conditioner and then stretch it, or use a specialist stretching tool to increase specific parts of the shirt, such as the collar, to achieve the desired results.

How to Stretch a Shirt

What better way to learn how to alter clothes than with an easy method that doesn’t require you to cut them?

First and foremost, save yourself some time and effort by going through the motions in advance. To find out where the clothing doesn’t fit, try it on yourself. Is the collar of your button-down shirt too tight, although the rest of the garment is correctly tailored? Is your favorite t-shirt getting too close to your breasts, despite the fact that it hangs perfectly?

The inside label of your item should also be checked to see if it’s washable before using any stretching methods. Dry cleaning is required for some textiles, such as silk and wool. Non-washable fabrics should not be stretched with these methods.

Inside the shirt, the manufacturer’s label should also tell you what the material is composed of and the thread count of the cloth. The ease with which a garment can be stretched is highly dependent on the sort of fabric used to construct it.

In comparison to synthetic fabrics like polyester, cotton shirts stretch significantly more easily. Because cotton fibers expand and relax when wet, but polyester fibers do not, this results in a softer, more breathable fabric. Polyester can be stretched, but only with the proper techniques.

The number of threads in a fabric can also have an impact on its ability to stretch. High thread count on a fitted button-down shirt ensures fabric won’t tear when stretched. Stretching could cause damage to a shirt with a low thread count. However, this is not an issue with knit materials, such as the jersey knit used in the majority of t-shirts.

The Wash Method

Turn on your washing machine’s cold setting, then place your washable shirt inside. Put a dry towel over the damp shirt. (Be careful not to harm the fabric by wringing it out.)

Spread the clothing out until there are no noticeable creases or bulges. Extend such parts by gradually stretching them. If the sleeves are too short, for example, softly but firmly tug on the shoulder and the cuff. Take a grip of the side seams just below the sleeves of your t-shirt and tug to see if it helps.

When wet, some materials can expand quite a bit, so be careful not to overstretch!

Allow the shirt to dry after it has expanded to your satisfaction. Then put it on and see if it’s still the same size as it was before!

The Conditioner Method

The washing procedure is pretty similar to this method. Add a couple of tablespoons of hair conditioner to a sink or basin of cold water. For fifteen to twenty minutes, immerse the shirt in this solution.

Drain the cold water from the sink and replenish it with hot water to rinse out the conditioner. Several swishes of the shirt are recommended. If the conditioner still leaves a slimy residue, repeat this procedure until it disappears.

Holding the shirt over the basin will allow the majority of the water to drain off. In order to further dry it, place it between two dry towels and press down on it with your hands.

Finally, flatten the shirt and begin stretching in the regions that need it most!

It’s a great way to stretch out any sports uniform, including rugby shirts, soccer jerseys, and more!

How to Stretch a Polyester Shirt

Polyester isn’t as pliable as other textiles, so it requires a little extra effort to get it to stretch. Polyester fibers do not stretch at all because they are a synthetic fabric primarily made of plastic.

As a result of this fabric’s loose construction, polyester knits do have some give to them. Even though you can sometimes gain half a size utilizing these approaches, woven polyester clothes won’t stretch very much.

The first step is to wash or soak your clothing, so that it is well saturated. Put it on while it’s still moist. If this succeeds, the discomfort will be well worth it. You may be able to keep the new form of your shirt by letting the wet shirt dry while you wear it.

A variation on the conditioner method is to put on the shirt while it’s still damp and let it dry there instead.

Save yourself the trouble and money by purchasing a new polyester shirt that fits properly. Due of polyester’s low cost, stretching and stitching it isn’t worth the effort.

Stretching Tools

These simple and inexpensive solutions may not work for you, so consider purchasing a special tool to assist you get a more stretched shirt.

Isn’t it amazing that you can buy anything to help you lengthen the neck of your button-down shirt? Collar extensions can also be purchased if you don’t want to spend the money on a specialized instrument. None of the collars are actually stretched out by these. They resemble a button linked to a coil spring. An old collar button is replaced by a loop that goes around it, giving you some breathing room!

For those who don’t have the time to manually stretch their shirts, you may always acquire a set of hefty paperweights and use them to stretch out your shirt as it dries..

How to Add Fabric to Make a Shirt Bigger

How to cut shirt to make it bigger

When everything else fails, here are a few ways for expanding your shirt with the use of a sewing machine and a pair of scissors.

How to Make a T-Shirt Bigger with Sewing

T-shirts and knit tank tops are significantly more forgiving when it comes to alterations than most other shirt styles.

To begin, remember these sewing suggestions for knit materials. If possible, use a ballpoint needle in your sewing machine. The rounded tip on this needle prevents it from catching and pulling on the knit fabric.

Check to see if your sewing machine is stretching the fabric. Stack it and feed it through the sewing machine with both hands level. Make sure you don’t pull or tug on the fabric as the feeders slide it under the needle.

You can experiment with the tension and feeding settings on your sewing machine on a scrap of knit fabric if you’re comfortable doing so. To help you out, there are a ton of tutorials on Youtube that demonstrate how to do this.

Add Side Panels

Let’s get started with a simple way for enlarging a t-shirt now that you’re ready. The bust, waist, sleeves, and hips will expand, but the collar will remain the same size.

You’ll need a plain t-shirt in the same color and weight as your t-shirt, as well as matching cotton thread. To avoid drawing attention to your alteration, you can choose a color that complements the t-hue. shirt’s

A pair of sharp sewing scissors can be used to open up the t-shirt by slicing from the bottom of each side seam up to the sleeve and then snipping through the underarm seam. You will now have two matching halves of the shirt, front and back.

Using a pair of scissors, cut the t-shirt open from the bottom of each side seam up to the sleeve, and then cut the underarm seam as well. You’ll now have two identical front and back portions of the garment.

Add Lace

If the collar, chest, and waist of your t-shirt are too tight, consider adding a lace insert or gusset to the back. Keep in mind that the lace will reveal a piece of your back while using this method.

To begin, find the precise center of the back of your t-shirt and cut straight up from the hem through the collar.

For step two, cut out two to five inches wide (depending on how big you want it to be) and one inch longer than the shirt’s collar to hem length.

Top and bottom of lace insert should be hemmed. To ensure a perfect fit, trim the insert to the exact length of the tee shirt.

Using right sides together, pin the t-open shirt’s edge and the lace to the t-shirt. Use a zigzag stitch to finish the raw edges of the lace inset after sewing up both sides.

Lace gussets are also an option if you’re up for the challenge, and they can be used instead of the flat panel of lace.

Add Length

If you’re gardening, stacking shelves at work, or carrying up a baby, a t-shirt that’s just a tad too short could get in the way. Fortunately, lengthening a shirt is one of the most straightforward methods to make it fit better.

The only thing you’ll need is a piece of cloth that’s five inches wide and long enough to cover the hem of the t-shirt. Even better, you don’t have to hem the new addition because you can use the bottom of a different shirt. You can also hem the bottom of a piece of any matching or contrasting knit or lace.

Ruffles can be used instead of the standard flat hem expander for an elegant finish.

To make a loop the same width as the bottom of the hem, stitch the two short ends of the add-on together with a 14 inch seam allowance. Next, pin the interest’s right side to the wrong side of the hem, as shown in the illustration. Then, sew the hem to the top of the garment.

Your t-hem shirt’s will be several inches longer as a result!

How to Make a Button-down Shirt Bigger

A button-down shirt can be made larger by using the stretching procedures outlined before. Alternatively, you might try one of the sewing adjustments detailed here. Even if you’re an experienced seamstress, altering a tailored dress shirt is a task.

Consider buying a new button-down shirt if your old one has shrunk or you have grown so much that stretching it won’t cure the problem.

Before cutting up one of your favorite blouses, practice cutting up inexpensive thrift shop shirts if you want to learn how to alter clothing.

Adding Side Panels

Think back to the last time you made an extra pair of pants by cutting up the side seam of one garment and sewing in a couple of inches from another. A button-down shirt can also be used for this! By removing the side seam of another shirt all the way through the sleeve, you can insert a panel into your blouse using the same process.

However, you will need to remove and reattach the cuffs to complete this procedure.

For the side panels, it may be difficult to find a shirt that matches your button-down fabric and design, so you may choose to add a contrasting color to the cloth. For the insert, some do-it-yourselfers use a stretchy fabric like a henley. This gives the refashioned dress shirt more give and comfort.

A more difficult option is to remove the sleeves and repurpose the material for your side insert. You would, of course, have a button-down shirt without sleeves.

Is the end outcome going to be fantastic? If you’re going to wear your newly redesigned button-down to work, you’d be wise to cover it up with a blazer. Your button-down shirt, on the other hand, will now be a perfect fit!

Add a Gusset to the Back

If you’re afraid of heights, steer clear of this method. The back of your button-down can be gussetted if you’re patient and skilled at stitching. More space in the bust of your blouse or fitting shirt is made possible this way.

When changing bridal gowns, seamstresses may employ this method. Sewing projects with collars or sleeves, on the other hand, may prove to be more work than they are worth for inexperienced home sewers.

I thought I’d provide a simplified explanation for those who wish to give it a shot.

To begin, remove the shirt’s collar and make a cut halfway down the shirt’s back center seam.

then sew a matching or contrasting triangular piece to each side of the open seam.

Back of the collar alteration will be most difficult because of shirt’s wider back.

How to Refashion a T-Shirt

Make a fashion statement or save a too-small t-shirt by cutting it up with scissors for an easy and quick remedy. A fun, flirtatious, and decorative way to transform a too-small tee or even a sweater is to use this technique!

The only limit to this technique is your own creativity. You could choose from a wide variety of styles. To get you started, here are a few ideas!

  • A sleeveless tank can be made by removing the sleeves. Make a rough-and-tumble tank by removing the collar and cutting it to the desired length.
  • You can add a little elasticity to the waist of the tee by slicing a tiered stack of thin slits right in front of the side seam.
  • Adding more hip room is as simple as splitting along the side seam of your tee or sweatshirt and cutting a six-inch slit straight up the seam.
  • In the fashion world, have you heard of those peek-a-boo tops with holes over the shoulders? To make a peek-a-boo tee, simply cut an oval out of the top of each shoulder. It’s that simple.
  • Put a thick piece of cardboard inside your t-shirt and cut a tiered design from the centre of the collar halfway down to the hem with a craft knife if you’re feeling creative. For those who enjoy the aesthetic (as well as a little extra wiggle room), you can repeat the pattern on the back of your tee.
  • Using this method, some talented individuals have fashioned t-shirts with angel wings or butterfly motifs.

Can a Tailor Make a Shirt Bigger?

Dress shirts are unlikely to be able to be made larger by tailors. Because some pants have additional material sewed into their seams, tailors may frequently increase them by one or two sizes. There is no extra material in the seams of coats and shirts, on the other hand.

A tailor can shorten the sleeves and reduce the size of a garment, but this is not always possible. You’ve previously seen how difficult it is to take sleeves and collars off of a button-down shirt and then reattach them. Even though you put in a lot of effort, you may not be satisfied with the final product.

As a result, the shirt loses its original lines and style whenever you have to add cloth. As a general rule, tailors will not participate in a process that will result in a garment that looks less than professional.

Trained tailors advise buying a shirt that is half a size or a size larger than your actual size. It’s a lot easier to shrink a shirt than to expand it!

On the other hand, the average cost of a basic shirt adjustment, such as slashing the sleeves, is anywhere between $15 and $30.

What Else Can You Make Bigger?

If you’re in the mood for a wardrobe overhaul, here are a few extra ideas to consider!

The side seams or front seams of a tank top can be made looser by inserting a decorative strip of crocheted lace. As an alternative to that, you can use the same cutting processes for T-shirts to make a tank top!

Try the stretching methods discussed previously if you want to increase the size of a sweatshirt. A lot of sweatshirts are constructed of cotton fleece, which can be washed and stretched easily.

Cut a 3-4 inch incision in the center of the neckline of a lightweight cotton fleece sweatshirt to increase the size of the neck hole. In order to prevent the hoodie from riding up as you lift your arms, cut side slits in the elastic at the bottom of the garment. Want to make your slacks, sweats, or even jeans a little roomier? To save time and effort, you can get a pants-stretching tool from Amazon!

Another option is to soak the jeans and then wear them. After drying, they should shrink to your exact measurements if you’ve done everything correctly.


Your old t-shirts are begging to be cut into new ones. Perhaps sewing adjustments are intimidating to you, but you’d like to give stretching your button-down a whirl. Either way, you should now be well-versed in the plethora of methods available for enlarging your shirts.

Have you ever attempted to stretch or sew a garment? Is it effective? Let us know what you think by commenting below!

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