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Turn a “too big” shirt into a Shirt with a Shirred Band.


Good grief.  I forgot why being sick puts a wrench in things.  Especially when it’s one of those viruses that you aren’t quite sure has a handle on you or not…….so you still try to GO GO GO, pretending that it’s not there.  But then you finally realize it has a complete hold on you when you go in to pick up a crying baby from her nap and she lost her lunch all over her bed.  And then after cleaning her up and then trying to hold her, rock her, and calm her achey little body………she loses the rest of her stomach all over your chest and lap.  After a good soak in the tub for both of you, you realize that you really don’t feel much better than she does.  No more pretending, it’s time to stay in jammies and leave the kitchen a complete mess (even if it was on the “deep scrub” list for the day) and chill the rest of the day.  It’s no fun to be sick.  But my little baby girl hasn’t been sick much.  So I can’t complain.  But today is a better day.  Hooray.  (My antibodies are working over time I suppose!)


Onto more fun stuff.


Like buying a shirt at Target without trying it on and thinking it’s going to fit just fine. (Because let’s be real, who likes to try things on with 3 kids in a dressing room anyway??  Not me.  Because this is just a snippet of what I may hear;  “Mommy, why are you getting naked?”  “Mommy is that your bra?”  “Does daddy have a bra?”  “Mommy, will I have a bra one day?”  “Who’s under there mommy?”  “Owwwww, stop pushing me!” etc, etc, etc.)  Anyway, I decided to avoid any of that and snatched this little shirt up and was sure it would fit fine and just be a little flow-y and loose.  But once I got it home, it was loose alright.  And too long.  And really frumpy.  I can’t pass up a good ruffle front (and in coral no less) but my vision was different than how it actually looked on me.  I guess I should have corralled my kids into the dressing room afterall.  Haha.


However, instead of taking it back, I decided that I would change the look of it and cinch in the bottom and create a band of shirring that would sit on my hips.  And then the rest of the shirt could stay loose. But as long as something was cinched in, it would give the shirt some shape.





And turns out, I really like it.  Especially on one of those bloated/tired-of-sucking-it-in days.

 If you want the finished shirt to be even more flowy and loose up top, find a bigger shirt.  There are some tops that are really billowy and are made with more fullness, like peasant tops.  But if you only want it a little loose like mine, you don’t need it too huge/wide on you.



All it took was a few minutes to shirr it up……..and done.  (I know, I’m on a serious shirring kick lately.)




I know you have a few shirts that are too baggy, fit a little awkward, or maybe are leftover from a pregnancy(??).  Or maybe you have fallen in love with one of those loose and baggy tunic tops in the store but the cut of it doesn’t quite look right on you.  (Yeah, they rarely do for me either.  Don’t feel bad.)  So fix it.  And make it work for you.  Especially if you love the color/print…..and maybe found it on sale???  (I know, hard angle to see the band in the photos below…….I guess I may need longer arms.)



And if you STILL haven’t tried shirring, go on.  You may love it.  Elastic thread on the underside (that you put in your bobbin), regular thread on top.  (Full tutorial here.)



Sorry little coral shirt, you totally thought you were going back to the store, didn’t you? 



In case you can’t tell exactly how to do it by just looking at the pictures, I’ll explain:


You just sew one row of shirring at a time, all the way around the bottom of the shirt.  I started and stopped each row along one of the side seams of the shirt.  I also back-stitched after finishing one row, then lifted up the needle and jumped to the next row (about a 1/4 inch apart) without cutting threads.  Worked great.  I started my rows of shirring just above the shirt hem………but didn’t like how that ruffled at the bottom (like shown below) so I went back later and added another row of shirring closer to the bottom (that you can’t see here).  Just be sure to pull your fabric flat while sewing so that when you’re all done, the shirring will stretch in and out.  (More on shirring here.)


And like explained in the above link, I always steam my shirring to get a nice and even shirred look.  It also helps pull it all in……..especially the very bottom where I sewed over the bottom hem.  Because it was two layers of fabric, it shirred a little differently, but doesn’t matter one bit after you have the shirt on.


Then pull on your shirt and feel fabulous.  Because you tricked the original shirt designer and turned it into something that worked better for you. :)




P.S. sometimes some of you will ask in a comment why I take some of my clothing pictures on my mannequin and not myself.  Well, here’s why.  I can’t quite get any good full shot pictures of the item on myself, by myself.  My husband is never home when I need to take the finished product shot, and my arm is only so long.  Haha.  So sometimes I can’t quite get the image I need to explain the technique used when I take it of myself.  But other times I can get away with it.  Like today??  Hopefully??? :)


Ashley Johnston

Administrator 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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Hi, I'm Ashley

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

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