Altering knit shirt

2ajsmamaMay 18, 2010

I've read up on patterns and fitting, but haven't found any books on alterations. I bought 3 cheap ($1) knit long-sleeved T-shirts in size to fit my bust, but the shoulders are too wide, armholes too low, and sleeves too long. Sleeves are an easy fix, but how to alter these so they fit correctly in the shoulders/upper chest/arms? I'm a D cup and usually buy knits in a large to more or less fit (some puckering in bust, but shoulders not too large). I can never find anything to fit really well, but thought for $1 I could experiment with altering an XL. Thanks

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Maybe a little gathering or rouching(sp?)along the shoulder seam? Or a couple of top-stitched pleats(this was actually popular in the 80's)? I've had the same problem with large breast/small shoulders, but I just wear everything baggy cuz I'm too lazy to alter stuff. The pic is of sleeveless tops, but may give you some ideas. HTH

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   May 18, 2010 at 12:20PM
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Also, try the tucks/gathers at the shoulder seam first and see how much that corrects the armhole and sleeve length before ripping in to them. The shoulder fix will definitely modify the arm size and sleeve length. Just how much is the question. Another consideration is, the easiest place to alter the armhole size is at the shoulder. So, I would pin the tucks in, try it on and see if that's enough change in armhole size. If not, then consider taking deeper seams at the shoulder and then do the shoulder tucks for the width modification. If you have the seam ripped out you could also put in shoulder darts over the shoulder instead of gathers & tucks.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2010 at 1:14PM
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The sleeves are down to my fingertips, easily 8" too long, so I figured I'd shorten them at the armhole if I had to rip the armhole and shoulder seams out anyway.

So pris, are you saying make deeper shoulder seams, or topstitch pleats like in the link? I'd rather do deeper seams and/or darts than pleats (just calls more attention to the area).

    Bookmark   May 18, 2010 at 1:54PM
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The armhole is too big. If you take the sleeve off and reduce the size of the armhole, you will have to recut the sleeve to fit back into the opening...It can be done if the sleeve is large enough to be recut. Find a pattern in the proper shape and size, open up the sleeve seam and lay your pattern on the sleeve with the bottom at the wrist seam. Don't mess with the cuff if it has one. You will be shortening the sleeve by placing the pattern lower on the sleeve and recutting the top. Taper the sides down to meld into the sleeve seams. Now you reduce the size of the armhole to fit your new sleeve. It's usually better to take up a little in each seam rather than all in one seam. So, I would take up a little at the shoulder and a little at the under arm seams. The deeper shoulder seams I mentioned above was to make the armhole smaller. You still have the problem of reducing the width of the shoulder to fit you and that is what noinwi was addressing in her suggestion to use gathers or tucks. You can also put darts over the shoulder to make it narrower.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2010 at 7:24PM
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How do I know if the armholes/sleeves on a pattern are the right size for me? i don't have any adult patterns, just girl's, so I'd have to buy a pattern. I was hoping I could just shorten the sleeve at the top as you described, as long as it fit my upper arms at that point, and then make the armhole to match. Didn't know if I'd have to open the shoulder seams and cut the upper chest smaller (w/o messing up neckline)?

    Bookmark   May 19, 2010 at 8:25AM
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Google a website that explains how to measure your body for pattern size. Take your measurements and determine what size pattern you are. Find a pattern that has a sleeve similar to the one you are altering and use it. I suspect that even if you just take the sleeve off and shorten it at the top (following the same outline) the sleeve armhole is going to be smaller as the sleeve tapers from the shoulder to the wrist. Especially if you are taking 8" out of the length. That's pushing the top of the sleeve quite a bit down the length of the sleeve.

Frankly, if I were you, I would do the tucks/gathers/darts as previously suggested and cut the sleeves off to make short sleeves. That adjusts shoulder width and the sleeve becomes a non issue. It also eliminates the need to rip out seams. You could also cut them at elbow length and do a cuff.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2010 at 11:17AM
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