- Too large for you shirt (button down works great - could be a man's shirt too!)
- Thin elastic (around 1/4" - mine was slightly smaller) in a length that at least goes around under your bust. There's no measurement for this, as it depends on your width and the stretch of the elastic.
- The regular stuff - scissors, thread, pins, machine, etc.
|Fold over seam and top stitch to finish arm openings.|
Next, I tried on the shirt and marked on one side with a pin where I would need to take in the underarms. Since this shirt was already see through and I knew I would have to wear a tank top underneath regardless, I wasn't too worried about the width of the sleeves (and what you could see underneath). I just went for a comfortable arm opening width.
|A pin holds the new arm seam together.|
At the same time, I marked with pins where I wanted the elastic to go. I went for right under the bust for a nice empire-waist.
|Mark with a pin where the elastic should go on the shirt.|
Next, I took the shirt (wrong side out) and drew an angled line from my arm hole pin down to midway down the shirt. The angle of the line isn't crucial since the shirt is getting gathered at the end. You just need to cut away some of the width from the upper part of the shirt.
NOTE: I didn't cut at this point. I sewed on that line, then tried the shirt on again. THEN cut. That way, if it doesn't fit, you just have to get out your seam ripper, not your trash can! :D
So, draw line, sew on that line, try shirt on, make adjustments if needed.
|Draw line, sew on line, try shirt on, then cut leaving 1/2" of seam behind.|
When your sleeves are done, draw a horizontal line across the front and back of the shirt where you determined earlier that the elastic should go. Your pins should still be there as your marking.
|Purple line indicates where the elastic should go.|
1.) There is no need to measure your elastic. I just took a length of elastic that I knew would be more than enough and used that.
2.) Starting at some seam, sew your elastic down securely (front stitch, back stitch, front stitch).
3.) Pull the elastic as you start sewing. The shirt fabric should be flat, but you need to pull the elastic taught as you sew. That way, when you let the elastic go, the shirt fabric all gathers up. Sew it all around to where you began and secure the other end of the elastic. Cut off any extra elastic (you should have extra elastic!).
|Pull the elastic with one hand as you sew!|