Saturday, June 20, 2015

Shirt Chopping: More fit-fixing adventures

One of the items that arrived in my latest eBay lot of too-short clothing was this pink and green plaid shirt.

At first, I thought it fit pretty well, and was pleased that I wouldn't have to make any alterations. Then the day came to wear it, and I assessed it with a more critical eye. It was too tight across the shoulders, and it had a stain on one pocket!

To fix the shoulders, I did what I do to a good many of my short-sleeved shirts—I removed the sleeves. While I was at it, I also lopped off the epaulets. Style Tip If you're trying to minimize your shoulders, the last thing you want to wear is a shirt with epaulets.

It's not hard to remove the sleeves from a shirt—just grab a seam ripper, pick out all the seams, and then, if you're lucky, you're done.

In this case, I wasn't done, because with the newly raw edges, I had a distinct Larry the Cable Guy thing going on. I had to go back in and hem the armholes, but it was still a pretty quick and easy fix.

The pocket stain was also a breeze to repair. The stain only affected the outer side of the pocket flap, so I removed the flap and reattached it inside-out. Good as new!

A few weeks passed, and then, finally the day came – again – to wear the shirt. I put it on, had a look in the mirror, and decided – again – I hated it.

This time it was the bottom hem. It was too curved. I wasn't exactly sure why I found it so unflattering, but I think it was partly that it sort of made me look like I have a round, bulging belly. So next I set out to straighten the hem.

I prefer to make all my alterations reversible whenever possible, so my solution for the hemline of this shirt was to fold it up underneath, stitch a new (just slightly, almost imperceptibly curved) hem, and then use Res-Q tape to keep the remaining fabric from flopping down.

 Much better! Back in the closet it went, until, less than a week later, the day came – is this getting to sound familiar? – to wear it. I tried it on the night before and didn't like the way the bottom of the shirt floated beside my hips. 

Too frumpy, I decided. Too casual for work. What would fix it? The usual solution: taking in the sides. Style Tip A slimmer fit can make any casual garment look more professional.

I took two passes at the side seams (the first time, I underestimated my girth...oops!) and then, finally, I was done. The day to wear it was tomorrow!

But there was one more thing! An unfortunate consequence of taking in a button-down shirt is that it can cause gaps to appear between the buttons, and that did happen...but with a few squares of Res-Q tape on the placket, I was ready to go!

After all the many (count 'em: 4) adjustments to this top, I finally wore it to work, with an equally green pair of capri pants, pinkish sandals, and the satisfaction that I finally GOT-R-DONE!

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