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How to fit your shirts better

I’m gonna share with you a trick that I’ve used to make huge XXL shirts fit better.


hen I go out to buy new shirts and t-shirts, the number one priority is always torso and sleeve length. And as you know, there is this mystical relation between width and length – the larger the size, the longer the torso. So in order for me as a tall person (6′ 8″/204 cm) to get something that fits, I have to go for XL or even XXL.

That means that I get a shirt that was meant for a huge guy weighing twice as much as me. So when I put on the XXL shirt, it looks like a tent with sleeves on me. But there is a trick that you can use in order to give these huge shirts a better fit for the tall, which I have been using for both shirts and t-shirts.

Sewing in the sides of your shirt

Yes, it takes a little work to do this, but when you get the hang of it, it’s really worth the time and sweat. The trick is to sew in the side seams of the shirt or t-shirt. You turn your shirt inside out and decide how much you want to narrow it in, and then you use a sewing machine to make a new stitching in both sides of the shirt. Here’s a video that I found about a year ago and have returned to a couple of times since.

I don’t use pins like in the video, but it’s probably a good idea if you want the sizing to be as close to your favorite shirt as possible. I normally just take a shirt I like and lay it on top of the baggy shirt that I want to fit. By eyesight I assess approximately how much fabric has to go. And then I just start sewing from armpit and all the way down on both sides.

Practice the first time on a not so beloved shirt

The first time I did this, I made my shirt so tight that it looked like the buttons could burst any second. I also fitted some pants that got so tight that my foot couldn’t get through the leg. Lesson learned; start out with a t-shirt that you don’t love too much and practice on that.

No need to cut off excess fabric

The guy in the video also cuts off the excess fabric that would otherwise be on the inside of the shirt. You can do that too if you’re a 100 % sure that you did a good job on the new stitches. In the case of my super tight tube shirt, I unraveled the stitching and gave it another shot. This is only possible if you do not cut off excess fabric in the first place.

Never sewn before?

I learned to sew in elementary school, which is a long time ago, but some of it stuck till this day. If you haven’t ever used a sewing machine, here is a guide that’ll take you through the basics:

If her machine doesn’t look like yours at all, check out some of the related “How to thread your sewing machine” videos on YouTube.

That’s it – pull out your sewing machine or call mom and ask her if you can borrow hers. Maybe she’ll even help you with the fitting.

A funny alternative is this KickStarter project called ZipSeam where long rubber clamps fold in some of the fabric to make the shirt tighter. Check it out here: ZipSeam Kickstarter
Do you have any great sewing or fitting tips? Share with us in the comments below 🙂
1 Response
  • Elias
    September 8, 2015

    HEY!! I just found your website because of a Reddit post. I love it!! Keep the posts coming though, I almost read it all haha. I have a little secret I use on t-shirts to feet well, I let you write a post about it if you want :P. It doesn’t work on EVERY t-shirt (not the bad quality cotton ones) but it sure works on most of them, especially when the t-shirt shrunk or you just want it to be larger/more fit.
    Here’s a video explaining the process:

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