How to alter an oversized youth shirt

Friday, April 6, 2018

Our local YMCA offers several sports for young kids, and I try my best to sign my boys up for every opportunity. So far, my five year old has played basketball and two seasons of soccer. T-Ball starts later this month for both my five year old and three year old. There's just one problem - the smallest t-shirt size they provide team members is a youth small.


How to alter an oversized youth shirt

A youth small is much too large for kids that typically wear shirts any smaller than about a youth 7 or 8. My five year old currently wears 5T shirts, and he was drowning in his newest soccer shirt!

I alter his shirts each time, and decided to share a tutorial this time so you can do it too!

Shirt too big? No problem! How to alter an oversized youth shirt

Please note: I do not own a serger, so I just use my regular sewing machine, regular cotton thread, and regular stitching. This means the seams are not stretchy and the stitches/thread can break if stretched too hard. If you own a serger, you can serge all the seams in the tutorial instead (except for the bottom rolled hem). You could also use a zig zag stitch to give a bit more stretch if you wanted.

What you need: The shirt you want to alter, a shirt that fits well, sewing machine (or serger), thread, scissors or rotary cutter

How to alter an oversized youth shirt

Turn the shirt you want to alter inside out. Use scissors or a rotary cutter to cut off the sleeves just outside the seam.

How to alter an oversized youth shirt

If the neck opening is too large, stitch along both top shoulders. Stitch no more than 1/2" from the current seam on each side, then try the shirt on to see if it needs a bit more (or less). Be sure to backstitch to reinforce the stitches along the neck opening.

How to alter an oversized youth shirt

Once satisfied with the size of the neck opening, cut away excess fabric along the shoulders, leaving about 1/4" of fabric beyond the new seam.

How to alter an oversized youth shirt

Next, lay the shirt that fits on top of the shirt you are altering, lining up the shoulders. Cut from the bottom of the shirt to the armpit, 1/2" away from the pattern shirt. Repeat on the other side.

How to alter an oversized youth shirt

Fold the pattern shirt sleeves back, and cut 1/2" away from the sleeve seam.

How to alter an oversized youth shirt

Lay the pattern shirt sleeve on top of the sleeve pieces. Cut any excess off the bottom of the sleeve. Be sure to leave about 1/2" extra to account for the seams. (Note: You can measure the sleeves along the top edge to check the sleeve length. I did not remove any extra fabric off the sleeves this time. If you want to shorten the sleeves, remember to leave 1/2" extra for the seams.)

How to alter an oversized youth shirt

Open the main body of the shirt and sleeve pieces. Place the pieces right sides together, matching up the center of the sleeve piece with the shoulder seam.

How to alter an oversized youth shirt

Begin stitching at the shoulder seam and stitch to the end of the sleeve piece. Move and stretch the fabric as needed to keep the edges lined up.

How to alter an oversized youth shirt

Turn the shirt over, start again at the same shoulder seam, and stitch the rest of the sleeve. (Exact seams are not required. Sewing with knit is quite forgiving!)

How to alter an oversized youth shirt

Repeat with the other sleeve.

How to alter an oversized youth shirt

Fold shirt right sides together, lining up sleeve edges. (Note: I sewed one sleeve inside out and had to rip it out and re-do it after I was all done. This is where you "do as I say, not as I do.")

How to alter an oversized youth shirt

Starting at the sleeve opening, stitch to the armpit. Be sure to backstitch to reinforce the stitches at the sleeve opening.

How to alter an oversized youth shirt

Pivot at the armpit and stitch to the bottom of the shirt.

How to alter an oversized youth shirt

Repeat on the other side.

How to alter an oversized youth shirt

Lay the pattern shirt on top of the shirt again, lining up the shoulders. Trim excess fabric off the bottom of the shirt, leaving at least 1" beyond the bottom of the pattern shirt.

How to alter an oversized youth shirt

Starting at a side seam, fold the bottom fabric edge up about 1/2", then fold over another 1/2" to create a rolled hem.

How to alter an oversized youth shirt
How to alter an oversized youth shirt
How to alter an oversized youth shirt

Stitch along the edge. Continue to roll the hem as you stitch all the way around the shirt.

How to alter an oversized youth shirt

I chose to stitch a second line about 1/8" under the first line on this shirt. Totally optional, but it does seem to add a bit more strength to the bottom seam.

How to alter an oversized youth shirt

While inside-out, use scissors to clip the fabric at the armpit. Just a single cut up to the stitches.

How to alter an oversized youth shirt
How to alter an oversized youth shirt

Turn the shirt right side out and compare to your pattern shirt to see how well you did!

How to alter an oversized youth shirt
How to alter an oversized youth shirt

Here is the soccer shirt I altered last season.

How to alter an oversized youth shirt
How to alter an oversized youth shirt

How to alter an oversized youth shirt


7 comments:

  1. Great transformation, your boy will be the smartest on the team!

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  2. I do something like this with my own shirts all the time, because if they fit in one area, they won't fit in the other. If you use a tiny zigzag instead of a straight stitch, you'll get a little stretch and less breakage on the knits. A special needle for knits also helps.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great tutorial, Laura! I would have been the mom whose kids were running around in shirts that were way too big, lol. I never would have thought to do something like this.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Terrific instructions. Looks great, too.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi again Laura,
    How is it that I haven't been following your blog?! Anyway, I fixed that today and saw these pictures. OMG - how cute are they?!! I'll need to know this soon for my great-nephew so I'm going to PIN this for the future.
    ~smile~ Roseanne

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for visiting and for your comments! I try to reply to comments via email, so if you're expecting a response and don't hear from me, check if you're a no-reply blogger. Happy sewing!

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