March 16, 2015

how-to // alter cuff length (button-down edition)

This past weekend my girlfriend & I hit the big four year mark (four years, you guys. This is cray-cray.) Naturally we took the opportunity to celebrate. Fancy drinks, unpronounceable food, a valet (what a weird grown up experience that was), & dapper dress. Before we went out Heather requested a minor alteration be done to her button-down. If you're a lady who has ventured to purchase men's shirts you may have come across this problem yourself.

Men's shirts are made to fit a man's chest (i.e., flat). As women, we have a little extra going on up there, so the only real option is to buy a larger size. Taking a shirt in around the torso is easy enough - just two stitch lines along the sides will bring it in (foreshadowing! I might do this tutorial in the future!). Those long sleeves though. They're a dead-giveaway that the shirt is too big. This is the problem Heather has with her fitted shirts, & fortunately it's an easy fix.

This type of alteration will only take the cuff up so far, but if your sleeves are just a bit too long then this is the perfect method. It's quick, easy, & you don't have to cut up the shirt.

All you need for this alteration is some pins & a needle & thread. If you can't find a thread color that matches exactly, the rule of thumb is to always go darker. Lighter threads appear to "pop" more than darker ones.

The first thing you'll do is pin the cuff up to the desired length. I brought this cuff up about 1/4 inch, right at the base of the first button hole. Bringing it up further runs the risk of losing the original buttonhole. If you do need to bring the cuff up higher you can either forgo the button entirely or reposition the button & create a new buttonhole. 

When pinning, start with the non-pleated side of the cuff, working your way towards the pleated side. Make sure to keep the pleats intact - do not unfold them. 

By hand, stitch all the way around the topstitch line at the top of the cuff. Tie off. 

When sewing, use small stitches on the right side of the cuff, & use wider stitches on the wrong side, as seen above. Make sure to keep your stitches in line with the original top stitching so they are less noticeable. When you first make this alteration the stitching will seem obvious, but don't fret - after a go in the wash the threads will loosen & will become much less noticeable. 

Don't you feel better now that you're not drowning in all that extra sleeve length? Yes you do. 


Related // Dapper tailoring continues! How to fix a long sleeve in a blazer

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