Wednesday, October 2, 2013

"GROW" This Shirt!

Do you have a shirt that you really like, but it is too short? Layering works but adds extra bulk and often unwanted warmth. Follow my directions and photos for a quick, easy, and inexpensive solution for altering your shirts. It's "SEW" Easy!

Short red-striped shirt
Short blue-striped over-sized shirt

To lengthen the shirts, I decided to add a strip of white t-shirt fabric to the bottom of each shirt. Buying fabric can be pricey, so I bought a white cotton-knit turtleneck on a clearance rack for $1.00. I wanted the white strip to "hang" approximately 2" beyond the length of the original shirt. 

The turtleneck was the same width as the red-striped shirt, so I measured and cut 3" off the bottom of it, keeping the hem intact. Next, for the blue-striped shirt, I measured and cut 4 3/4" to allow for a hem and for sewing to the shirt. 

$1.00 clearance rack turtleneck

The blue-striped shirt is wider than the white shirt, so I measured and cut an additional piece to sew to the strip that I had cut. I had leftover fabric, so I decided to lengthen a striped shirt (Toddler, Size 3). I cut a 3 3/4" strip the width of the shirt, allowing 3/8" on both ends for the seam.

Now, I'm ready to sew! I pinned the strip with the hem attached to the red-striped shirt, matching centers and sides. 

With matching thread, I sewed a slightly long stitch (#3 on my sewing machine) in the hem line and pressed. 

For an "insert", I measured and cut a small section from the bottom of one sleeve of the white turtleneck and pinned it to the red-striped top with the hem on the top.

With matching thread, I carefully topstitched the "insert" to the shirt, being careful not to sew too close to the snap.
For the blue-striped shirt and orange-striped Toddler shirt, I sewed the side seams with a 3/8" seam and finished with a zigzag stitch.

For the hem on both the red-striped and orange-striped shirts, I measured and turned the white fabric up 5/8". I sewed a slightly long straight stitch (#3).

With matching thread, I pinned and topstitched the orange-striped shirt to the white strip, sewing on the original hem line.

Since this shirt was longer in the back than in the front, I trimmed the excess fabric. T-shirt knit does not ravel, so I did not finish the seam. I pressed the hem and seam well. When finished, the white fabric extends beyond the bottom of the original shirt approximately 1" in the back and 1 3/4" in the front.

The original hem for the blue-striped shirt was much higher, so this strip had to be longer. I pinned and stitched (#3) on the original hem line with matching thread and then pressed the hem and seam down. 

For $1.00, I have lengthened 3 shirts and given them a new look and new life! 

Hey, I have leftover fabric! 
Now what can I do with that???  
Coming soon??

Nancy's Notes:
  • I was fortunate to find the turtleneck on a clearance rack for $1.00, but you could use a t-shirt that you have, find one at a thrift store, or purchase fabric.
  • Seams can be serged for a neat look.
  • Your shirt and placement of existing hem will determine how long you cut the fabric.
  • Seam length may vary according to your sewing machine, but be careful not to stretch the fabric when stitching.

Three shirts with new looks and new life!


  1. What a great idea! I like my shirts long and hate it when they shrink up! I will have to try this. Thanks!

  2. I know what you mean, Cheryl! I've struggled with this problem for years until my recent "brainstorm". Good luck, and let me know how your project turns out!