How do I make my shirt smaller?
August 6, 2007 9:34 AM   Subscribe

Hideous Uniform Filter: How do I make a polo shirt smaller?

I have to wear a parachute-sized polo shirt for work. And, while I appreciate the life-saving capability of this shirt (because bartenders are always falling out of's a real job hazard), it's just not doing much for my girlish figure.

I do not own a sewing machine, and I have very little ability when it comes to sewing of the non-machine type. Does anybody have any suggestions for making my shirt smaller, given my limited abilities? My tip jar would really appreciate your help.

P.S. Washing it, in the hopes that it will shrink, is not an option. This shirt is literally 5 sizes bigger than I.
posted by AlliKat75 to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (14 answers total)
can you tie it in the back?
the knot will look a bit ridiculous, but at least your shirt won't swallow you.
posted by gursky at 9:39 AM on August 6, 2007

If you don't have a sewing machine or mad sewing skills, and I'm guessing that if your work requires this polo they won't take kindly to you de- and reconstructing it with knots or safety pins, then you may just want to take it to a place that does alterations.

That's going to be your best bet for something that you can still get away with at work but that will show off your figure.
posted by fiercecupcake at 9:39 AM on August 6, 2007

Are there other female bartenders who might have suggestions? I imagine you're not the first person to have this problem. Perhaps one of them can do some modification for you.
posted by dismas at 9:41 AM on August 6, 2007

I know you say washing isn't an option, but it can at least help a bit: wash it alone in HOT water, and then throw it in the dryer on the hottest possible setting.
posted by awesomebrad at 9:41 AM on August 6, 2007

I posted a long sort of thing about making new shirts out of old shirts a year or two ago, I'll see if I can dig it up if I have time. It does require a large amount of actual sewing though. Do you know anyone who sews?

The problem with things that are truly that much too big for you is that they really require that the sleeves be cut and reset, and that's an intricate job.

If the shoulders and bustline fit sort of okay and it's mainly the waist that's an issue, you could add darts all the way around (one under each breast, and one under each shoulder blade) and take in the side seams to take bulk out of the mid section.

Another option might be just to set some kind of ties into that would let you pull a lot of the extra back to the back, like those dresses everyone wore in the 90s. Would be odd with a polo shirt, I realize, but it might help give it some definition at the waist and accentuate the bust a little.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:43 AM on August 6, 2007

Find out where they have them printed and ask your boss politely if it's possible for you to pay to arrange to have some of your own garments silk-screened there, provided that the shirts will match the regular ones in color and style.

If you don't think your boss would be open to that, or you'd rather be less conspicuous, go the alteration route. It will probably cost more than buying whole new polo shirts, but may be well worth it on principle.
posted by hermitosis at 9:46 AM on August 6, 2007

Just take it to a tailor, like at a dry cleaner. I reckon the cost will be recouped quickly.
posted by exogenous at 9:48 AM on August 6, 2007

Why don't you just ask your employer to order you a smaller, women's sized shirt? It would be cheaper than having the thing taken apart and reconstructed. Companies that do custom printing and embroidery on apparel keep logo templates so they can easily recreate them. Having had to order myself shirts like this under similar circumstances, I can tell you that it is possible to purchase a small, women's sized polo shirt with an embroidered or printed logo on it for $20-35.
posted by pluckysparrow at 9:55 AM on August 6, 2007

Seconding pluckysparrow's suggestion. Your employer wants you to look good, too, don't they?
posted by amtho at 10:01 AM on August 6, 2007

For taking apart both side seams and then re-sewing them to fit my upper torso, my tailor charged me $10 a shirt. This is probably cheaper than buying a new shirt.
posted by Comrade_robot at 10:28 AM on August 6, 2007

You can do it with scissors or without.
posted by Myself at 11:04 AM on August 6, 2007

Threadbanger is a site for clothing do-it-yourselfers who re-purpose and re-tailor old clothes.

They cover all skill levels, and this video has a segment on resizing a big shirt that might be within your abilities. It involves sewing, but only a straight stitch on a machine.
posted by Crosius at 11:41 AM on August 6, 2007

Seconding taking it to any tailor/drycleaner. This is an easy alteration.
posted by desuetude at 11:56 AM on August 6, 2007

Thanks for all the suggestions. I think I might go the tailor route. My boss won't pay for smaller shirts. He gets them from our liquor distributor, and she (can you believe it's a she?!) never brings female shirts.

I can handle paying out $10. Hopefully, I will make it back quickly!

Thanks everyone!!!
posted by AlliKat75 at 3:17 PM on August 6, 2007

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