Baggy shirt re-do’s using elastic

I finally got around to altering a couple shirts that I got on my trip to Brazil over Christmas. I liked both of the shirts, but they were a little big. I have been trying to figure out how to give them a fitted waist. As I usually do, I was making it more complicated than it needed to be. Sometimes, I need to just get things out of my head and into my hands. Can anyone relate? I have two different projects here, so I’ll kind of briefly talk through each of them, and fill you in on what I discovered along the way.

purple shirt re-do.jpg.jpg

I don’t like tight shirts because, let’s face it…I’m not 20-something anymore. There are post-baby bumps and bulges that are better left to the imagination, but I don’t need want to look like I’m still wearing my maternity clothes, either. I have some sliver of style left.

I recently found a couple great tutorials on using elastic, so I decided to try it out with some that I bought awhile ago. I attempted to create gathered effect that would draw up the fabric slightly without losing alot of drape in the front. I started with a smaller piece of elastic in the middle of the seam, but ended up ripping it out and running elastic from the armpit down the entire side seam, leaving about 6 inches at the bottom. I think it turned out pretty well. (I forgot to take pictures along the way, so you kind of have to imagine the process. I’ll have to try it again on another shirt and do a better job of documenting!)

Multi-colored shirt polaroid.jpg.jpg

I did a better job of documenting my transformation of this shirt. You can see in this picture that the shirt is cute, but needs…something. I had considered a lot of options: elastic waste band, a shirred back, a shirred waste, adding a drawstring. In the end, I decided to just simply add elastic in lue of going through the struggle of adding another panel of fabric to  slide a drawstring through.

Step 1: Mark off the line that the elastic will follow

Measuring and marking.jpg

I set my gauge to 4 inches and measured up from the the bottom hem of the shirt.

I use a washable marker to mark my clothes because they truly do wash right out. I try to find a color that is close to the garment color in case it would happen to bleed, but it never has before. (I know that there is a first time for everything, and that will most likely be on some expensive fabric that I purchase down the road at some point!)

Step 2: Measure your elastic

Most of the posts that I read suggest cutting your elastic about 4 inches shorter than your actual waist. That is roughly what I followed, too.

Step 3: Mark off the half-way points on your elastic

Fold your elastic in half and use your marker to draw a line at that point. Then, fold those halves in half to mark off quarter sections. This will help make sure that your elastic gathers evenly all the way around.

marking elastic.jpg

Step 4: Mark your “meet up” points on both your elastic and your shirt

This is a brilliant idea that I found on Wear the Canvas where she does an adorable dress re-do using elastic. Mark both the mid-point on the elastic and the mid-point on the shirt with the same color pin. I choose yellow. Then match up the other marks you made on your elastic with their corresponding checkpoints using the same color pins. You will need to stretch the elastic as you go along to get the fabric to gather. I used a straight stitch with a stitch length of 2.5. The pins hep you determine if you are stretching the elastic enough, and keep you on track so that you don’t end up short at the end. If you don’t quite match up the pins exactly, not big deal. Just stretch a little more so that the next set lines up.

*Be sure to use thread in your bobbin that is similar in color to you shirt because that is the thread that will show on the front of the shirt.

How to line up pins.jpg

That’s all there is to it! I overlapped the elastic a little bit at the end to make sure that the shirt didn’t have any strange puckering where the elastic ends met. I think that it also turned out really well. A quick solution to add a little flair to a baggy shirt.

Before and After Shirt re-do


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