Instructions on altering a woman's dress shirt?
September 17, 2007 1:48 PM   Subscribe

Can anyone recommend an online tutorial or a sewing book on how to tailor button-down dress shirts for women?

Button-down shirts never ever fit me, because if they fit in the shoulders they balloon out at the waist and never have deep enough bust darts. I know how to sew and could probably figure it out through trial and error, but would like something which will walk me through the process of tailoring a shirt--what to look for, techniques, etc.

Also! Recommendations for where to buy button-down shirts with room in the bust and fitted at the waist?
posted by sLevi to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (7 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Nothing for the OP, but if you have tips on how to do the same for men, I'll take 'em too.
posted by SpecialK at 1:59 PM on September 17, 2007

I have a similar problem. I've had decent success with the most fitted cuts from TM Lewin. And I hear even better luck is to be had with these, from Bravissimo, which come in a range of fits depending on your shape. Both of these place ship internationally.
posted by crabintheocean at 3:35 PM on September 17, 2007

Mmm where to start... What do you measure? (??-??-??) And do you have One shirt that is great? Or which individual aspects would combine... oh duh if you knew that..? :-s

Okay what I'm getting at is perhaps you like a shirt because it has pleats in the back and it doesn't restrict you BUT this will make the waist bigger so you may need to sacrifice one? Also the whole shirt is subject to your definition of fitted (and what that would entail) :)

Deep enough bust darts... Do you mean the position/length or the amount of fabric..darted? (A bigger dart is unlikely to look nice - but two will do the trick?)

If you have no luck email, I'll scan some things. On a whim I got out the binder from a Clothing Production Cert3 a few days ago...
posted by mu~ha~ha~ha~har at 4:01 PM on September 17, 2007

I recommend Donald McCunn's book, How to Make Sewing Patterns (I had it out from the library four or five times before I gave in and bought my own copy!). The illustrations are dated, but the basics are solid. Knowing how a well-fitted shirt is constructed can really help you make smart alterations to an off the rack garment.
posted by lovecrafty at 4:02 PM on September 17, 2007

SpecialK um am I to understand your boobs.. don't fit in your shirt? :)

This is much easier. Pleats in the back and they should be made so the fold stays true to the hem. Follow this practice when ironing at home. As in whatever fold is sewn at the top should be pressed so that it will match at the bottom. Looks smart tucked in whilst still able to move...
posted by mu~ha~ha~ha~har at 4:14 PM on September 17, 2007

Oooo, lovecrafty, I am totally buying that book.

mu~ha, when I say deep enough bust darts, I mean that the darts, if there even are any (who thought it was a good idea to make shirts for women with no bust shaping?!), are essentially sized for an A-cup. Which means if it fits in the shoulders and chest, the bottom is a tent. What I hope to do is take a shirt that lies well in the shoulders and flat across the chest, and add or deepen the darts. So I was thinking: 1) add or deepen the darts under the bust, 2) remove some fabric from the side seams (probably mostly from the back since there should be more leftover fabric there now) 3)rehem, since I doubt all that will retain an even hemline!

Now that I'm thinking about it a bit more, I may need to increase the side-bust darts (the ones under the arms) as well? In which case...I almost may as well just sew it from scratch. Sigh.
posted by sLevi at 4:55 PM on September 17, 2007

I can sew as good as I write English, but I will give it a try to explain what I always do. I buy a shirt that fits good at the breast and shoulders, wear it inside out and pin the waist line I want in front of a mirror. Then I measure it to make sure each side is the same and just sew the sides again and the bottom of the shirt too.

If you buy a shirt that just fits your boobs (you can not make a small dart bigger, when there is no extra material) you will have to take out the arms, redo the shoulders, put the arms back in and then fit the waist. Then indeed you might as well sew the whole thing yourself.
posted by kudzu at 10:53 AM on September 18, 2007

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