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Add a Waist Sash to Shirts (…great for making them longer)

Finding clothing that fits your child perfectly can be tricky.  And just when you think you’re buying the correct size, you wash and dry it — and then it’s shrinks down to doll-clothes size.  Ha….not really that small, but I swear, doesn’t it feel that way sometimes?!?!  I know there are so many different sizes of children, PLUS, everyone uses different washing methods, so how does the clothing industry keep up with it all???  (Are they not PRE-SHRINKING their fabric like they should be? ;) )  But seriously, I feel like I sometimes buy something for one of the kids and then once I wash it…… shrinks down to a whole different size.


Nothing’s worse than buying a new shirt, washing it, and then the next time they wear it, their little belly is peeking out the bottom.  Boo.


Chloe has been having this problem lately……and this cute little shirt I bought her only a few months ago, was way too small after only the first washing.  So, it sat in her drawer because I kept telling her to find another shirt to wear if she ever put it on.  I know there are other factors to this phenomenon (like fabric type, body type, dryer temp, etc.) but, it’s such a pain when it happens.


So, the idea for this shirt hack was born!  And I added a little sash to the bottom of her shirt, which added another 3 inches to the length!!!





Here’s the cute little shirt before (and yes, the shirt came with the flower)…….and then a whole lot longer after the sash was added.  PROBLEM SOLVED!!  (But even if you don’t have a “problem” to “solve” and just want to add this sash for fun……this is great for you too!)




And yes, I could have just added a plain strip of fabric to the bottom of the shirt for some extra length…..but what’s the fun in that?!?!





The sash can be tied in a bow or can be tied in a simple knot — whatever you prefer.  But it adds a darling feature to the shirt………and really SPICES it up!




Even if your shirt doesn’t need any added length to it and you just want to add a new look to it…….this is a fun way to change up the shirt style!




Can’t you see doing this in your size as well???  Yeah, me too.  Now, I’m trying to decide which shirt of mine I should hack up!




If you need to add 4-5 inches to a shirt, just 1-2, or maybe you don’t need to add any length at all…..this is a great addition to any shirt for girls of any age!




I love happy solutions to my shrinking-clothing problem!




Ready to add your own little sash to your shirts???


Of course you are.  Here’s how! :)




  • a knit fabric shirt
  • coordinating knit fabric
  • sewing supplies (here’s a list of my favorite sewing supplies, in case you need a few ideas) 

***Check out my Sewing Terms 101 post, for additional help.



Okay, let’s cut a piece of knit fabric for your sash.


First of all, decide how much longer you want to make your shirt.  If your shirt doesn’t need any length and you still want the look of a wide sash at the bottom, you can either cut off the bottom of the shirt or just attach the sash higher up on the shirt (which you’ll see how to do below).  Once you decide how tall to make the sash at the bottom of the shirt, double that number and then add 2 inches.


For example:  I wanted to make the sash about 3 inches tall so 3 x 2 is 6, plus 2 is 8.  So I knew I needed a piece of fabric that was 8 inches tall.


Now, measure the width of the bottom of the shirt.  You will need to double that number for the sash to make it all the way around the bottom of the shirt.  But then, you need to add enough length to that number, so that you have 2 long sash pieces to tie into a bow at the hip.  If you prefer a simple knot, rather than a bow, or if you would like shorter or longer sash piece hanging down……adjust as needed.


For example:  Chloe’s shirt was 12 inches across, so 12 x 2 is 24 inches.  I ended up liking the look of 18 inch long sashes and since there are 2 sashes, I added 18 twice to 24.  So I used a piece of fabric that was 60 inches long.



Now, cut out your piece of knit fabric, making sure that the stretch is going lengthwise on your fabric.  So, that if you pulled both ends of your fabric, it would stretch.


Then, find the very center of the sash, and line up the bottom edge of the center of the sash with the bottom edge of the shirt and pin it to the shirt at the side seam.  Just make sure that the RIGHT side of the fabric is facing the WRONG side of the shirt.  (So, turn your Tshirt inside out to help you do this.)



Continue pinning the piece of fabric along the bottom edge of the shirt….



…..and then leave about a 1 1/2 inch gap at the other side seam of the shirt.  This gap is probably 3 inches wide and I decided later on that a smaller gap looked much better when the bow was tied.



Now, using a zig-zag stitch, sew the fabric to the bottom of the shirt, using a 1/2 inch seam allowance.  (If using a 1/2 inch seam allowance isn’t enough to cover the original hem of your shirt, consider using a bigger seam allowance.  But if this is the case, you’ll need to add more to the height of the sash measurement before cutting it out.)  Just be sure you stop at the other side seam, to leave that 1 1/2 inch opening.



Turn the shirt right side out and pull the fabric down so it’s hanging from the bottom of the shirt.



Fold the fabric up onto itself all the way around the shirt and overlap the bottom of the shirt just a bit with your fabric.  Then, fold the top edge of the fabric under 1/2 inch and then line the fold up with the same location that it was attached along the other side.  Pin in place.



Just make sure that you leave about 1 1/2 inches open along one side of the shirt.



Then, sew in place with a zig-zag stitch (which will still allow the fabrics to stretch).



Here’s a peek at the 1 1/2 inch opening.



Now, tie your little sash in place……..



…….and enjoy!




Ashley Johnston
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Ashley Johnston

Owner at Make It & Love It
Ashley Johnston is a professional DIY costume maker, sewist, crafter, and owner of Make It & Love It. She is a mom of 5 and a wife to a very patient (with the craft clutter) husband. In case you’re wondering, she always chooses crafting/sewing/designing over mopping/dusting/wiping base boards……but bathrooms/laundry/full bellies are always attended to. Whew!
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  1. Linda Costley says:

    so glad i found this post….i’m making a ‘pop’ top to go with a circle skirt, and i want the finished look of a dress with a vintage flare . Thinking if i use a contrast fabric for the sash on the bottom of the top, it will pull the look together!

  2. Kel says:

    I love this! I think it’s a really flattering thing for grown up shirts too :) I’m going to try it! Sqeeee!!!

  3. Petra Seifert says:

    Hello Ashley! This is HELLO from Czech Republic! We have a lot of blogs about clothing , but i can’ t help it. Yours is the best! I love your ideas and style! Every day i check your website and i can’t wait for new ideas. You have taugh me to sew! I have to thank you! Thank you very much!

    And of course your new idea helped me solve the problem with short t-shirts. Kids are tall (my husband is 77 inches tall), so this i will be doing very often :D.

    P.S. I adore your english. I understand! ( you know, that strangers read your blog?)


    1. Ashley says:

      Hi Petra!!! Thank you so much…..I’m so glad you’ve been enjoying the blog!

      And I had to laugh because it took me a second to figure out how many inches tall my husband is, and he’s the same as yours, 77 inches tall!!! Tall husbands contribute to tall kids!! :)

      Anyway, I loved hearing from you! Best of luck adding sashes to your kids’ shirts!


  4. Sheena says:

    I love this!!! My daughters like the short shirts and I hate them!! I won’t allow them to wear them. I will have to remember this the next time one of their shirts shrink. I recently went through all their clothes and got rid of the stuff that is too small so right now we don’t have that issues but I know its only a matter of time.

    1. Ashley says:

      I know…’s so frustrating that short shirts are kinda coming back in style. But this band sure helps solve that problem! :)

      Good luck Sheena!

  5. Marci @ Stone Cottage Adventures says:

    Super cute solution! Thanks for the tutorial! -Marci @ Stone Cottage Adventures

    1. Ashley says:

      You’re welcome! :)

  6. Ellie says:

    Super cute idea! My 6-year-old saw the picture and she thinks you should sew a matching band on the bottom of the skirt. :-)

    Would it work to sew the front on with a double needle instead of a zig zag?

    1. Ashley says:

      Haha……now, that’s a great idea! :)

      Thanks Ellie!

  7. Emmanuelle says:

    That’s definitely a great idea! And you found the perfect color match with the flower!

    1. Ashley says:

      I know……wasn’t that lucky?!! :)

  8. Heidi G says:

    This is a SUPER cute idea. Love it!

    1. Ashley says:

      Thanks Heidi!

  9. lindsey says:

    wow great idea my daughter often has the same problem as she is very tall for her age! and also how grown up does chloe look – do you have her sleep in a grow bag? (not sure if thats what you call it over the ocean but i’m sure you’ll know what i mean….lol)

    1. Ashley says:

      I know……she has grown SO FAST!!! And haha, that’s exactly what I do! ;)

      Thanks Lindsey!

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Hi, I'm Ashley

Hi, I’m Ashley—the DIY-enthusiast behind this crazy blog!

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