How to Size Down a Button Up

Sewing can make it much easier to have good quality, classic clothes that are tailored to fit one’s own body. I find that as a young mom, refashioning my clothes lets me have a wardrobe that fits without constantly buying new clothes to match my current size. This tutorial will show you how I tailor an oversized button-up shirt.

How To Size Down a Large Button Up |
Before: It was wearable, but a long way from nicely tailored.

I used this tutorial from JLTFK blog: It is a great tutorial and I recommend checking it out, however, I ended up doing a lot of the steps differently for my tutorial, so I thought I’d post my version as well.

Here it is! Another way to size down a large button up shirt.

Step one:

Measure your arm length from where the shoulder seam should hit to your wrist. Measure from the base of your neck to the shoulder seam.

Step two:

Cut off the shirt sleeves and shorten the shoulder length of the shirt to match your measurements. The sleeves of my shirt were already the correct length, so I unpicked the  original seam allowance off of them rather than cutting it off.

How To Size Down a Large Button Up |     How To Size Down a Large Button Up |

Step three:

Now put the shirt on inside out and mark how much you want to take in through the trunk. I like to use pins, some people use chalk. Measure the amount you’re taking in right under the armhole and mark that 1/2 inch less* than that amount on the edge of the sleeve, tapering down to meet the cuff.

How To Size Down a Large Button Up |

Step four:

Sew these lines, try the shirt on to make sure it fits well and then cut and finish the raw edges. *

Step five:

Pin the arm into the armhole, right sides together. Sew both sleeves in and finish the edges.

How To Size Down a Large Button Up |

Step six:

Now try the shirt on again, iron all the seams and mark how long you want the shirt to be.

Step seven:

Cut the hem. To make the sides even measure from the armpit to hem marking and make sure they are the same length. Cut one side of the shirt, then fold it in half and cut the other side to ensure an even curve.

How To Size Down a Large Button Up |

Step eight:

Press and sew the hem. Press up 1/4 inch along the bottom edge, then fold over another half inch. Sew the hem.

How To Size Down a Large Button Up |

Step nine:

Try it on and enjoy the thrifted shirt that now fits you!

*Since you cut the arm hole slightly bigger, you need to take in the sleeve slightly less than the trunk for them to match up. I took them in the same amount and I was fine, I just had to do some fussing to get them to match up.

*You might be tempted not to finish your edges, but it makes a HUGE difference in how professional your shirt feels and how long it lasts. I am blessed that my mother-in-law owns a serger, which is the best option. You can also fold over and “hem” the seam allowances or add a bias casing on top of them. These take longer, but look the best. The easier options are using pinking shears or a zig zag stitch. These are better than nothing, but I haven’t found them to last as long, especially with cotton fabric.

Love, Jess

How To Size Down a Large Button Up |   How To Size Down a Large Button Up |

How to Tailor an Oversized Button Up




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2 thoughts on “How to Size Down a Button Up”

    1. Thank you so much for reading! I love using sewing as a form of recycling! I’m glad to have found your blog, and that you stopped in and said hello. 🙂

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