Aurora Sisneros

Taking In a Shirt

Aurora Sisneros
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Duration:   3  mins

Taking in a shirt doesn’t have to be a lengthy process. Aurora Sisneros shows you a quick and easy way to take in a shirt by yourself without having to use a dress form.

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Try It On

The first step to taking in a shirt is obviously trying it on, not just relying on the size on the tag. This allows you to see how much larger the fit is for a big shirt and to also determine if different areas of the shirt fit better than others. Aurora shows you how she recommends trying the shirt on inside out, making the shirt ready to pin for the needed alterations.


With your shirt on inside out it should be easy to see where any alterations need to be made. As shown in the video, one of the most common places for taking in a shirt is along a side seam. Aurora shows how to start pinning at the center of your alteration, or where the shirt needs to be taken in the most, and then how to work your way out towards existing seams. Beginning and ending the alteration at existing seams allows you to backstitch along the seam to ensure your stitching is secure.

Related videos: Tips for Choosing Sewing Pins and Sewing Over Pins: Tips and Techniques


Once you’ve pinned your shirt it’s time to stitch. Aurora explains how to use the pins as ‘dots’ to connect in order to draw a stitching line onto your shirt. After you have stitched along the drawn line it is important to try the shirt on another time to ensure it fits before cutting away any of the excess fabric. Once you know your shirt fits the way you would like it to you can cut away the excess fabric and serge or zig-zag finish the raw edges.


While this tip is great for taking in a shirt that’s too big it’s also a great sewing shortcut for other garments as well. For example, this same technique could be used on a dress to either take it in if it’s too big or turn a boxy dress into one that’s more form fitting.

Interested in other shirt alteration ideas? Check out some of our other videos: Upcycle T-Shirt Project: Sew a Beaded Neckline, T-Shirt Upcycle: Adding Lace to a Shirt, Reverse Applique and T-Shirt Applique Ideas

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11 Responses to “Taking In a Shirt”

  1. Jann Eleodinmuo

    This topic and those like it is extremely interesting to me- i am not a quilter, i joined this site entirely to learn tricks and tips to tailor clothes to fit for me and my family. I know this is just a quick video, but i would LOVE to view one of these which is more detailed and informative. This is EXACTLY the kind of content i am looking for.

  2. beasleyjan

    I like to make a paper template of the seam I marked on the first side and then transfer the line to the second side so they are the same. (Body is mostly symmetrical so this will work, if body is not the same on both sides, then the pinning would have to be done with the shirt worn right side out.)

  3. Meredith

    Very helpful! I don't know why I never thought about turning the garment inside out to try on. That is something I will remember to do! And I like using the pen too! I don't like the criticisms on this thread, too! EVERYBODY can have a great idea.

  4. Rachel

    This is helpful. I haven't sewed too muchmuch, but I grew up with handing my mom pins as she sewed and I've made my fair share of pillows as a kid and hemmed a few pairs of pants as seams come undone. I always had to buy bigger shirts because my hips/bust is wider, so I buy for that. I've always wanted to take in a shirt, but was always apprehensive about doing it myself. I think I can manage now because of your short video. Thanks!

  5. Mark

    I'm a beginner at sewing and even I understood what this lady was trying to get across...... I've disregarded the criticisms....😉 Thank you for the video, it is really helpful.....!

  6. Janice

    Do you have any ideas to take in a health uniform top to a smaller size?

  7. norma

    The problem with pinning alterations with the garment inside out is that if you have any differences in your body shape from side to side, your alterations will be incorrect.

  8. Laurie

    I don't understand why the sample was not sewn so that that beginners could see how its done, some people wouldn't try. I am now wondering if she has even done this alteration.

  9. Laurie

    Why didn't you finish, I Have done this type of alteration hundreds of times as a sewing professional, I would not pin like that on myself. I would face the pins sharp end down, or use small safety pins. I just have someone pin the garment rather than do it one my own. I can't understand why you didn't finish the video. Most beginners need to see the sewing process to feel confident to try their own. Another point is you pinned quite a bit of fabric out of the sides. To make it look right, you should slant back to the seam gradually and be prepared to stitch all the way to the underarm seam, and open the hem if you need to if you pinched out a lot at the waist. And I agree with Ann And Anne's points as well. What were you thinking? Just sayin.

  10. Anne

    as a sewing teacher you really needed to have had another exact shirt and shown how to actually drawn the curved lines and then sewn them. Its very unclear how you blend one end of the graded seam into the other. you only taught half a lesson. If I was a beginner following your lesson I know I would have made a mess of it. Great idea, but you should re shoot this video and complete the lesson.

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