How to Make a Shirt Smaller: With or Without Sewing Methods

Nowadays, you don’t come across the perfect fit every time, so it’s essential to know how to make a shirt smaller.

Shirts are worn every day by every person on the planet. Whether you work at a corporate job or in a restaurant, you’ll be wearing shirts most days, and that’s why you must have the right fit. 

Planning to feel confident and leave a lasting impact wherever you go? How you look in a shirt is what people consider about your personality at first sight. 

You should not leave a bad first impression. Customize your shirt in a perfect fit to your size and see the effect yourself.

In this article, we have rounded up some methods on how to make a shirt smaller. Be it using a sewing machine, or without sewing, you can make your shirt smaller. 

How to Make My Shirt Smaller – The Importance of Perfect Fitting

If you are confused about “why and how to make my shirt smaller?” Check out the below-listed points on why the perfect fit is essential. 

Feels Comfortable

Different fits are available in the market. It is up to you to choose the right one for yourself. A perfect fit will always be comfortable, and you won’t feel like a burden wearing that shirt. 

People often pick too tight or too loose shirts and then wonder, “how to make my shirt smaller?”

How to make a shirt smaller
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Those loose clothing items sit in their wardrobe, taking up precious storage and costing unnecessary spending. Many times, you will be wearing your shirt for more extended periods. 

The shirt should be comfortable to wear for such periods. Otherwise, there’s no use for the cloth. 

Makes An Impression

The kind of clothes you wear sends a strong message to your surroundings. If your clothes fit you well and you are comfortable in them, you’ll radiate confidence and make a good impression. 

When you are at an important place, you shouldn’t risk it by having the wrong fitting shirt. If the clothes are too tight, you’ll be busy adjusting them, and people won’t notice you much. You will then be required to think about how to make a big shirt smaller.

A perfect fit is important to make a solid first impression on your audience. The different types of shirt fit play a significant role here.

Heading over to the main part now, let’s explore how to make an oversized shirt smaller and what to consider for a perfect fitting shirt. 

How to Make a Large Shirt Smaller: Types of Fits You Should Know

In the previous section, we explored how a good fit can make a difference and why you should learn how to make a larger shirt smaller.

How to wear a large shirt
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Before jumping in, it is vital to explore the various fits available in the market. If you know how to sew clothes, you will need to consider the below points for a perfect-fitting shirt. 

Slim Fit

Slim fit is the most popular fit for different types of clothes. It’s a fit type that leaves significant breathing space while allowing a figure-hugging cloth where needed.

Slim fit shirts are narrower at the chest with close fittings around the waist. They also possess tapered sleeves that define the shape of your arms pretty well.

There is one downside to wearing slim fits: it restricts some stretches and movements as it has less loose clothing on the sides. If you are looking for not too tight and not too loose clothing, then a slim fit should be your choice. 

Relaxed Fit

As the name suggests, a relaxed fit is a loose shirt that offers you a relaxed look. It can be an ideal choice for dress shirts and types of t-shirts that you are wearing throughout the day.

A relaxed fit comes with pretty much space around the body. It provides you access to complete movements. 

How to make a big shirt smaller
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In summers, relaxed-fit shirts should be your choice when your body needs enough air flowing from the clothes to the skin. You should learn how to make a larger shirt smaller for a perfect vibe. 

Skinny Fit

As people focus on clothes that provide utmost comfort, skinny fit is a clothing fit that has lost its charm in recent years. Skinny-fit shirts are tight from all sides. 

They hardly leave any breathing space for the body. If you are looking for a fit that can flaunt your toned body, then skinny fits are your friends. 

Don’t overdo it, as it restricts all free body movements and makes you look stiff. 

How to Make Your T-Shirt Smaller – Things to Consider for Perfect Fitting

Since you know different types of fits, it is essential to know what you should consider for a perfect fitting in a shirt and t-shirt.

How to make your shirt smaller
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The following are the four fitting things that you should consider while learning how to make your t-shirt smaller. 


Collars play a significant role in providing comfort in your shirts. You should check them before purchasing a new shirt. 

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A simple way to check the collar is to fit two or more fingers and see if the neck and buttoned collar space is worth the two-finger space. 

Having at least this much space between your neck and collar will provide efficient and easy neck movement. It won’t be brushing your neck while you turn your head around. 


Since sleeves are essential for learning how to make your t-shirt smaller, you should know some fitting criteria for it.

The sleeves are crucial as they are large parts of the shirt. They should look good on you. To find a perfect fitting shirt, you should choose the one whose sleeves are not so narrow and not very much free-flowing. 

Tapered sleeves look good, but the taper should be within a limit. It must not be to the extent where it interferes with your hand movements. 

When you learn to sew shirts, make sure you don’t keep sleeves loose as it looks like a drape attached to your shirt. 

The sleeve is perfect if it does not move up or down more than one inch. A way to find the best fitting sleeve is to tighten the sleeve and fold your arms. 


Shirts that fit in a perfect way owe a lot to the shoulder placements. A perfect sleeve is possible only when the shoulders match your shoulder bone area. 

How to make a shirt fit
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Shirts with tighter armholes should be avoided as it interferes with your natural motion and makes your body look stiffer. 

When you learn how to make a shirt, make sure the shoulder hole shouldn’t be too big and low to take your tucked shirt out. 

You can validate the shoulder size by tucking your shirt and raising your arms. You’ve got the perfect shoulder size if the shirt does not come out. 


A perfect-fitting shirt will be the one with enough space when the shirt is pulled. The shirt should not stick to your body while pulling it. You should go for shirts that leave 3 to 4 inches of space when pulled.

If you are going to tuck your shirt, go for ample length that does not get free while you move and do some stretching. If you like to keep it casual, the shirt’s length should not be longer than your zipper.

Doing these minor checks while buying or upcycling clothes will help you get the best fitting. In some cases, you don’t find the perfect fitting, so you can always learn how to sew a shirt or how to make a big t-shirt smaller. 

4 Popular Methods of How to Make Your Shirt Smaller

The demand for shirts is ever-growing. Every shirt manufacturer wants to expand its sales by catering to more and more people. (Want to start your clothing business? Read our ultimate guide on how to make a clothing line.)

The manufacturers have standardized some sizes that can accommodate most of their customers in this pursuit. 

How to take in a shirt
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While everyone cannot fit in the sizes of ready-made shirts, most people prefer to rely on them for their designs and materials, which are better than getting a tailor-made shirt

Want to make your own unique shirt? Check our tutorial on how to sew a shirt and make your own professional-looking shirt at home. 

If you have a hard time finding quality shirts that fit perfectly, you should consider making your shirt smaller after buying the size nearest to your body shape. In this section, we will learn how to make your shirt smaller in five different ways. 

Side Seams

If you’ve bought a loose-fitting shirt, side seams are the best option to alter it. This is the easiest method of how to make your shirt smaller.

You can cut off your side seams and retailer the shirt for a perfect fit. It will look as professional as before. It is best to have a lot of excess material on the sides that need to be dealt with. 

To make it perfect, lie the shirt on a flat surface and put an ideal-fitting shirt over it to mark the area. 

Darting a shirt
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Leave one inch extra on both sides of the perfect shirt to create an excellent, professional seam on the sides. After marking, just cut and sew the pieces back together and get your ideal shirt ready.

Finish off your tailoring feat by cutting away any extra material and threads to provide a neat finish. 


Darts are another way of learning how to cut a shirt to make it smaller. 

Darts help you taper down your shirts and make them more skin-hugging, which can be a boon if you have a toned body. It is useful to create the shape you want when the size is okay, but it is a little out and away. 

Darts are sewn at the front or back of loose-fitting shirts. They help to regulate the shape. It is sewn like a triangular fold that underpins excess cloth of the garment and hides it on the inside.

You’ll need to have intermediate to expert level sewing skills to make a dart, as the process is somewhat tricky. 

Determine the area where darts should be made by wearing your loose shirt inside out. Once you’ve found the area, you can pinch it and clip it with some sewing clips to hold the position well. Now remove the shirt while maintaining the clips.

After removing the shirt, fold the excess material to the side so that it does not hang. Sew the dart from the broader part from the inside, and finish off by clearing out loose threads and chunks of clothing. 


Elastic shirts are not for everyone, and you cannot use this method on every shirt. If you have a very loose and oversized shirt that you want to somehow wear with fitting, elastic can help you.

In this method of how to make a shirt tighter around the waist, elastic can be attached to the end of your shirt. You need to measure your waist for the right fit. 

Once you’ve measured your waist, subtract an inch from it as elastic will expand and shrink to provide a good fit. Cut the elastic of the new subtracted length, and stitch it around your shirt’s waistline.

Provide an excellent fit to your elastic by sewing on the top and bottom. This will also help the elastic last longer and complete your DIY on how to make a big t-shirt smaller. 


If you possess a long shirt that hides your bottoms and pattern, you need to hem your shirt. Hemming is a standard method of how to make a shirt smaller by cutting it. It is used to alter the length of the shirt.

How to make a t shirt smaller
Image Source: Oliver + S 

Successful hemming ends with recreating the hem of the shirt just like it is brand new. 

To perform a hemming operation, lie your shirt on a flat surface and put a perfect-length shirt over it. Now mark the length with a fabric marker or chalk and set aside the perfect shirt. 

Once you’ve marked, take up a scissor and cut the extra part from your shirt, but leave one to two inches of the area after the chalk mark to create a new hem. After cutting, you’ll need to create a new hem and finish it by ironing the new hem to settle it perfectly. 

You can also give your shirt a personalized touch by using woven labels and hang tags from Superlabel Store. They are super customizable and easy to design.

If you are not a fan of large alterations and sewing or don’t know any t-shirt sewing pattern, you can consider making a shirt smaller without sewing. So, let’s explore how to achieve the same results. 

5 Methods of How to Make a Big Shirt Smaller Without Sewing

Sewing isn’t for everyone as you need access to a top tailor, or you need to possess the right skills. 

Sewing introduces a permanent change in your clothes, and it can get tricky if you make any mistakes during sewing. If you want temporary changes and don’t want to take risks, you can choose to ditch the sewing machine and learn how to make a big shirt smaller without sewing.

Let’s understand the different ways to get your perfect fit.

​​How to make a big shirt smaller without sewing
Image Source: Roma Durkin On Pexels


When thinking about how to make a big shirt smaller without sewing, shrinking should be your first choice. It’s easy and useful. It takes less time to shrink a shirt that comes in different types of fabric.

To shrink the shirt, boil the water and as it reaches a suitable temperature, submerge your shirt in it. Turn off the stove to prevent further boiling and damage. While the shirt is inside the water pot, ensure that it is covered with water. 

If you aim at light shrinkage, then you can take out your shirt in 5-10 minutes. If you want a more considerable change in the size and more shrinkage, it will take more time, and you should keep the shirt submerged for at least 20 minutes.   

Tighten the Sleeves

Another method of how to make a big shirt smaller without cutting is by tightening the sleeves. An excellent fitting shirt is made from tight sleeves that feel like they are part of your body. 

Sleeves that are too fluffy and balloon-like can make you look bad and interfere with your comfort. 

If you want to learn how to make a big t-shirt smaller for one time, you can tighten the sleeves by clipping them or pin-rolling them

Pin rolling is an excellent way to tighten the sleeves as it does not require any other things, and it’s hidden too. 

Use a Belt

Your shirt is often loose from the waist. It is compulsory to tuck your shirt in; otherwise, it will look quite messy. You can tackle this problem by wearing a belt.

A new way to wear your statement shirt
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While using a belt for how to make a t-shirt smaller, always choose a belt that matches your clothes. When wearing formals, the belt color should match your watch’s belt color and the color of your shoes. 

Use Hem Tape

Hem tape is a permanent fix for your question of how to make a tee shirt smaller. Like hemming, this method is helpful when you have a lengthy shirt and want to cut it short. 

To use a hem tape, you’ll need to measure the length and cut it. After cutting it, you can use the hem tape and finish the work by ironing the shirt for a good finish. 

Use these amazing ways to learn how to make a shirt smaller from all sides. In case you just need to make it smaller around the waist, we’ve got you covered. 

Instructions on How To Make a Shirt Tighter Around The Waist

Sometimes the overall fitting of your shirt may be good, but only the waist fitting will be lagging. 

In such cases, doing alterations on the whole shirt does not make sense, and that’s when you need simpler options to learn how to make a shirt tighter around the waist. Here are the ways you can tighten your shirt from the waist. 

How to make a blouse smaller
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Tie a Knot

Tying a knot may not be a permanent solution to how to make a shirt tighter around the waist. You can get a perfect fit with this method of how to make a blouse smaller.

How to make a big t shirt smaller
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This is the most straightforward and fastest way to make your shirt smaller without putting much effort. To tie a knot, leave some buttons at the bottom of your shirt open, and grab the loose ends to tie them with one another. 

Once you’ve tied the knot, your shirt’s fit will be upgraded, and you’ll have a perfect-fitting shirt. 


A belt is another solution to make the shirt smaller around the waist. You just need a belt with a perfect color combination in this method, and there’s nothing more to do. 

Whenever you wear the shirt, just wrap the belt around your waist, and you are ready to rock. 

Military Tuck

A military truck is an excellent way to clear out excess loose material from the sides and hide it while enhancing the fit. 

To do a military tuck, have your shirt tucked in, and then look for the extra cloth that is visible around your waist. Now grab the loose fabric from both sides, and roll it in. 

How to tuck in your shirt the proper way
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After rolling the extra material in a vertical way, just tuck the end of the shirt inside your pants, and you will have a pretty fitting shirt.

You might have some other questions regarding your shirt fit, so let’s discuss them in the upcoming section. 

How to Make Big Shirts Look Smaller: FAQs

How to Find the Perfect Shirt?

Perfect shirts are hard to find. Everyone has their own definition of the ideal fitted shirt. For many people, a perfect shirt will be a shirt that’s comfortable and relaxed to wear. 

While many prefer a shirt that is tight and figure-hugging. To find your perfect shirt, you’ll need to get your definition of a perfect shirt, and after that, you know what to look for in a shirt. 

Is Sewing a Shirt a Good Idea?

Yes. If you are looking for a permanent change in your shirt’s look and feel, nothing can beat sewing. 

How to make a blouse fit
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It is a cost-effective DIY project, and you don’t have to try new hacks every time you wear the shirt. 

Are Baggy Shirts Fashionable?

Baggy shirts are a different territory. It is hard to say whether they are fashionable or not. If you want a street look, baggy shirts can be good, but it is better to wear shirts that are fit for you in everyday wear. Make sure you check the care labels of the shirt to understand the instructions. 

How to wear an oversized shirt
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Should I Shrink a Large Shirt to My Size Or Leave It As It Is And Choose Something Else?

Shrinking is an excellent way to make your shirt fit, but if the shirt is way too large, it can be pretty hard to get that fit just with a shrink. 


Shirts are part of our daily office wear. The right fitted shirt can help you look great, while the wrong fit can make a bad impression.

Learning how to make a shirt smaller will help you avoid all those embarrassing moments. You can resize your shirt with utmost ease.

Once you are comfortable making changes to the shirt, you can go through our below-listed tutorials to polish your sewing skills and make something great.

Happy learning! Happy Sewing!