Anyone dart or take in the sides of their own shirts?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Zackb911, Feb 9, 2011.

  1. Tyrone MacStiophain

    Tyrone MacStiophain Senior member

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    I swear I found some online instructions for this, and they're bookmarked on another computer. Nothing on youtube, though. If I find it, I'll post it.
    I also have started altering my clothes with a sewing machine - mostly slimming/hemming pants, but also slimming a couple of t-shirts. I figured out how to do the whatchacallit - flat lap hem, like on the inner seam of jeans - but it is time consuming and a bit more difficult to keep straight.
    As soon as I finish my master's thesis, I'm going to start buying shirt patterns and making my own from scratch!
     


  2. Zackb911

    Zackb911 Senior member

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    I really appreciate the tips and help guys. I promise I spent a great deal of time searching before asking.

    My sewing machine will be here on Friday and I plan to do a little practice on some shirts. I also have a pair of PRL cargo pants which I love but never wear as they're far too loose fitting. I may take a stab at slimming them up and seeing if I can make them fit better.
     


  3. styleguy2

    styleguy2 New Member

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    Haven't done it myself but agree with the above poster: find a shirt that has the best fit and work with that. I always use one shirt as a template when I get the others tailored. When you know what you like and what looks good on you, it makes everything a lot easier.
     


  4. blahman

    blahman Senior member

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    Hmmm using sewing machine is one thing, anyone hand stitch darts?
     


  5. chet31

    chet31 Senior member

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    I am thinnish and have constant problems w/ shirts, asked my wife (a bit of a seamstress) to teach me how to take in my shirts from the side seams. She said don't bother, just take them to an alterations place, it's a pain to do yourself because of the "rolled seams." Also, you need a decent sewing machine to do it right.

    Darts are easier to do, and I know some people don't like them, but to me, they are still infinitely better looking than a lot of blousing.
     


  6. Tyrone MacStiophain

    Tyrone MacStiophain Senior member

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  7. Zackb911

    Zackb911 Senior member

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    Well my sewing machine shipped this morning and should be here Friday.

    I'll do a few darts on some shirts and they come out decent, then I'll make a little DIY video/tutorial for here and YouTube.

    I know on my RL Custom fit shirts darts would seem to do the trick better. They fit fine everywhere except the blousing in the back, can't wait to give it a shot this weekend. I have some darted shirts which I'll use as a guide.
     


  8. either/or

    either/or Senior member

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    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    thrifted testshirt, fabric from satan, only thing that fits is the arm-length, otherwise it fits like a tent. Time to do a few experiments! [​IMG]

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    -shirt inside out, quick pinch and pin in the sides

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    quick pinch and pin under the arms

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    the result

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    measuring distances, calculating an average distance

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    I decided on a conservative 4cm (a little less than 2 inches)

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    getting the seams flat and marking up and pinning. Starting at the seams at the armholes and keeping original seams aligned.

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    tapering from the 4cm to zero around the cuff, keeping a little distance from the cuff

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    pinning the sleeves

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    checking the fit, front

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    checking the fit, side

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    still a little room in the midsection, but ok since I'm planning on experimenting with darts

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    sleeve going through the sewing machine, beginning at the armholes.

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    sleeve done, side done.

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    other side ready to go through the serger! B)
    if you don't have one, you'll have to remove excess fabric manually later and zig-zag the edges on your sewing machine.

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    and here we go

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    done serging [​IMG]

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    checking the result, left side sewn, right side serged

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    arms up!

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    left side

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    right side

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    Removing excess fabric in the left side. Keep about 1cm/half an inch if you're lazy and just are going to zig zag over the edges afterwards. (If you're planning to do a flat felled seam you need more. You've also got some practicing/reading up to do [​IMG]

    My sewing machine messed up at this point so I decided to serge left side also.

    [​IMG]
    -getting ready to dart!

    lessons learnt: wear shirt inside out when pinning the darts [​IMG]

    Otherwise same procedure as with the sides. I pinch and pinned in the center of the back, calculated what needed to be taken away and translated to two diamond-shaped darts. Crompton's article suggested placing the darts a couple of inches behind the side seam, I opted for 10cm/4 inches

    [​IMG]
    checking the fit with darts pinned in place

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    the pinned dart sticking out. Still some fabric bulging out in the chest/armhole area, so I adjusted the dart a bit. No longer diamond-shaped, but parallel for about 4 inches in the middle. (sorry no pic)

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    placing the shirt on a flat surface makes it a bit easier to pin the darts in place. Wonder if this also makes it easier to iron the back?

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    checking fit again

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    Darts serged in place

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    Definitely better fitting than to begin with! It sure feels nice.

    Lets have a look at that first one again [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    And now it goes to the bin... B)
     


  9. TheBurnOut

    TheBurnOut Senior member

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    Bravo! Well done!
     


  10. matsui

    matsui Well-Known Member

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    I started doing my own alterations on my shirts and sweaters about 6 months ago when I found my grandma's sewing machine at my parents house. The one thing that I did that really helped me go from decent looking shirts to really good looking ones, as odd as it sounds, is I made a mold of my upper torso. I read an article about how to make one using duct tape, where you wear an old t-shirt, and have someone wrap you in about 3 layers of tape, then you cut it off and tape it back together and stuff it and you're left with an exact mold of yourself. It may sound strange, but it makes working on shirts way easier, especially if you're doing darts, since you don't have to make guesses, and especially since you don't have to rely on someone else to help pin you up.

    If you google 'duct tape dummy' or something like that there's tutorials on how to do it.
     


  11. Zackb911

    Zackb911 Senior member

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    Wow thanks for the pictures! My machine comes today so hopefully this weekend I'll give it a go. I have some old dress shirts I dont mind practicing on.

    I've seen a youtube video for the duct tape dummy... Sounds like a really good idea, not sure If I'm up for making one just yet though.
     


  12. Tyrone MacStiophain

    Tyrone MacStiophain Senior member

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    Wow - thanks for the detailed documentation! I'm definitely going to give it a try on some too-loose shirts.
    However - it looks like there's a bit of tugging on the fabric between the armpit and shoulder. Am I right? I've seen this sort of thing on shirts that I've tried to trim down, and I think the problem is the width of the shoulders. What do you think?
     


  13. DStew

    DStew Well-Known Member

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    Great Thread!
     


  14. either/or

    either/or Senior member

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    ... it looks like there's a bit of tugging on the fabric between the armpit and shoulder. Am I right? I've seen this sort of thing on shirts that I've tried to trim down, and I think the problem is the width of the shoulders. What do you think?

    I agree on the shoulders maybe being a bit too wide. Also note this was one of my test shirts, from which I brutally serged about an inch of the collar in the back, leaving some nasty excess fabric across the shoulders in the back. Still this test was about pinch & pin in the sides + darts , and I'm pretty satisfied.

    Matsui, good point about the dummy/body-double, now you've got me going on that one... I'm still curious about the possibilities of altering thrifted SC's, and if that fails, I could still use a nice valet and/or a model/mould for custom coat-hangers... [​IMG]
     


  15. Rugger

    Rugger Senior member

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    How do you take it in when you get to the cuff?
     


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