How to Lengthen a Shirt that's too Short

After I gave birth to Hayden last year, I found myself no longer fitting in my maternity clothes, but also not back to my pre-pregnancy size. Soo in a desperate search for clothes that fit & were cheap I ordered some online. This is not something I normally do, but I found a handful of shirts from a store that normally fits me very well on clearance for $7 each so I tried it out. The size was fine, but the length was definitely not. They stopped just at the top of my pants, which does horrible things to accentuate the "muffin top" look.


I made them work with tanks underneath, but I was still disappointed in how unflattering they were. I held onto them hoping once I "got my body back" they'd fit better. Nope. So I thought I should try and do something about it. I've seen tons of cool ideas on how to change up awkward fitting Tshirts on Pinterest, but done that really dealt with length issues. So rather than make things complicated I thought, why not add a simple band?

{This is how it looked just before altering it}

My mom got me a ton of cute fabric quarters for Christmas, so I started by looking through those to see if I could find one that coordinated - and I did!


While I was still wearing my shirt, I measured up from the bottom of the shirt to under my bust line, leaving a little extra room for the seams and such. I went with 9 inches and marked my line with a white "dress marking" pencil that was in a sewing kit also from my mother. Because I was using a non stretch fabric with a stretchy shirt, I wanted it to be in a location that didn't need much give. Plus I though just adding it to the bottom would look to obvious and awkward.

{I turned the shirt inside out to draw on it}

Making sure my bottom hems were matched up perfectly, I cut the shirt in half along my pencil line. I then ironed my fabric & cut two, 5 inch strips {using the full length it had.}


I laid one of strips beside where I had cut my shirt to measure how long each strip should be.


The exact measurement was about 16.5", but I cut mine at 17" because I knew my seams would be a little bigger and again because it was not stretchy.


After cutting my strips to size, I placed them facing each other and sewed each of the ends with a 3/8" seam allowance.

{remember to backstich!}

Once I had the ends sewn, I turned my fabric band right-side-out and inserted it into my Tshirt which was still inside-out {so both of the "right-sdes" were touching. I then pinned them: I matched the seams on the sides first, then did the middles, and then added a few more in between making sure it all lined up. I again used a 3/8" seam allowance.


I then repeated the exact same process with the lower half of the shirt and then ironed the seams down while it was inside out.


That's it! I love how easy it was. Here are some "afters":


It's now a great length and I love how well the fabrics go with each other. I've been wearing it all day and it's super comfortable as well - I'm not constantly adjusting layers of Tshirt and tank top to stay covered!


It occurred to me it might be cute to add belt on top of the band so I gave that a go & I actually think it looks pretty cool! Yeay for such an easy fix! Now for the other five shirts just like this one lol...


166 comments:

  1. Ok, I think this idea is ingenious!! And if I knew how to sew, I would be all over it haha! Sharing your post on my facebook page, hope that's ok!

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  2. Thanks! I love how it turned out :) And it's absolutely ok that you share - thank you!

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  3. Thanks for a great solution that looks great!

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  4. Jessica @ Sunny TuesdayFebruary 19, 2012 at 12:53 PM

    That is ADORABLE! And completely unexpected! :)

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  5. What a cool idea! I never would have thought to do that. I always end up giving my short/shrunken shirts to the goodwill (so someone else can deal with it? how mean!) Now I know what to do! yay! :)

    ~Lisha 

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  6. That's usually what I ended up doing as well. I just REALLY wanted to figure something out with these particular shirts so I didn't feel like a complete failure for buying so many lol.

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  7. Um Kate...this is BRILLIANT!

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  8.  thanks!! :) i love how easy it was... hope for several other shirts lol

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  9. This is so darling! I love it with the belt! You are very clever to come up with this! :) thanks for sharing your idea!

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  10. Daniél at threeblindwives.comMay 23, 2012 at 8:30 PM

    I love this! What a great idea!!!

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  11. Thank you! I loved how simple it was to actually pull off - I have very basic sewing skills so I knew it couldn't be anything too complicated :)

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  12. Since it's extended with woven fabric (read: no stretch), do you have a difficult time getting it on and off?  It's gorgeous!!

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  13. This is a great idea!  I haven't been pregnant for 36 years, but some of my tee shirts do draw up in the length more that I would like.  Plus, it really looks cute.

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  14. Thanks! There is a little bit of "resistance" when I'm pulling it over my chest, but it's not too bad. A stretchier material I'm sure would be easier!

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  15.  I honestly have never understood why the "powers that be" don't just make shirts long enough to begin with! But yeah, I love how it turned out with the band in the middle :)

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  16. What a cute shirt. I think I May try this on some of my too short shirts Thanks for the idea!

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  17.  I'd love to see them if you do! I've yet to try it on any other "styles" of Tshirts :)

    && absolutely!

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  18. Interested to know what happens after it's washed.  Let us know!

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  19. This is a really good idea, I have so many short top and yesterday I was wondering what to do with them?  Now I know thank you for this idea!!!!

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  20. sometimes the simplist, most obvious answers to a problem are the ones you never think of.  Thanks for sharing.  I'm going to try this. 

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  21. That is really clever.  But, why are we doing this?  So the shirt does not go into the trash?  I have to say that t-shirts are super cheap at Target and Walmart similar stores and the time and effort it takes to do this is expensive.  In the time it would take me to complete this project, I could call 20 clients and set up meetings where I would make money to go out and buy the t-shirts.  

    Now, all of that said, I really, really do like the idea and I may try it.  I am not 100% a curmudgeon or naysayer.  Just part time...

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  22. If you pre-wash the fabric, nothing should happen.  You should use fabric of similar content.  For example, I would not use a cotton t-shirt and rayon material as many rayons are not washable.  

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  23.  Hey Krista! I have washed it and have not noticed a discernible difference with any shrinkage or change in size. Like someone else replied to you, it would probably depend on the type of fabric you chose and perhaps pre-washing {which I did not chose to do in this case} Hope that helps! :)

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  24.  lol -I guess it depends on your personal situation! It's great that you can afford to just go buy something new when what you have doesn't work - not all of us have that luxury :). I already had the Tshirt and materials on hand {though fabric quarters are usually only .99 - $1.99 and I only used half of one.}

    I hope it works out for you if you decide to try it!

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  25. You can go to Joann's or Micheal's and get fabric swatches for at most $2. Or when they have sales and you have coupons, even better! I love the idea Kate!

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  26. That's great! I think next time I'm going to look for a "stretchier" fabric and see how that goes :)

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  27. Great idea!
     

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  28. If you have a long torso some t-shirts, even new, barely work. They're just too short to start with and then when you wash them you can't wear them.

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  29. This is seriously great! I have shirts that I wore a few years back that were ok at the time and they still fit ok, but like you, I'd rather have a longer shirt. I'm totally going to try this with those! Thanks for posting this!

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  30. I'm going to redo all my short t's.  Hey, I'll have a whole new wardrobe! THANKS, cathy

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  31. Jennifermatthews84June 4, 2012 at 4:47 PM

    love this!

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  32. I am so going to try this...Have been wondering how to and now i know...thanks!

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  33.  Awesome! - that's kind of how i felt about these shirts after I got them - just "ok" - and I was pretty bummed until I figured this out :P Good luck!

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  34. Wow, I have so many shirts that I can try this with...Great idea!!

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  35.  Awesome, I hope it works out well for you!

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  36. I love this idea!  thank you for sharing.  It will be so nice to try this.  I too had the same post-pregnancy problem and already being tall with a long torso doesn't help.  I am so excited to try this.

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  37. So smart!  I definitely want to do this!  Thanks!

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  38.  o I know know what you mean with the long torso. I'm probably "average" height, but most of it is my torso lol. I hope this works well for ya!

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  39. I was going to ask the same question about it being difficult to pull on.  After two kids, I shouldn't have any "resistance" pulling it over my chest.  Hardest part might be finding a bustline to measure to.  lol  I'll give it a try.  Found it on pinterest - thanks!

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  40. I did it!.... I mis-measured however and the top  of the fabric is right on my boob LOL.  Came out super cute though. Thanks for sharing!

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  41. We do tend to get into the rut of thinking the only additions to length must go on the bottom. This is a great idea and really looks super.
    THANKS EH?  :)

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  42.  Thanks! Yeah I think the addition to the middle of the shirt just makes it seem less obvious it was changed up.:)

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  43.  haha! I know the feeling my dear - "things" just aren't the same after being pregnant :P I hope this works out well for ya :)

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  44. Your "NEW" shirt looks so pretty! I'm a beginner sewer, sorta, and I could do this easy. This gives me some great ideas for Christmas!!! I start early cause I have 107 gifts to... MAKE!!! Thanks for the great idea!

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  45.  Thanks! Yeah I'm definitely no sewing expert - learning as I go! I hope it goes well for you :)

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  46. that shirt looks like it belongs on what not to wear

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  47. Such a great idea! I'm going to have to try it with some of my shorter shirts.

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  48. Cute idea, but I think you looked fine in the shorter shirt, too.

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  49. KathiescreationsJune 30, 2012 at 4:24 PM

    Just one question, since you're putting non-stretch fabric in the middle, how do you get this shirt over your head and chest?

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  50. Felicia @ All Things FeeJuly 2, 2012 at 2:02 PM

    Found you via pinterest! Super cute, can't wait to try!

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  51.  ha! I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you mean the "before" ;-)

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  52.  Awesome! I hope it works out well for ya :)

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  53.  Thank you :) Yes it was fine just standing, but once I got to moving around or bending over to do something there was a little too much skin for my liking!

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  54. Since the shirt was moderately loose to begin with, there's enough fabric where it only gives a little "resistance" when I pull it over my chest. {I didn't have any issues getting it over my head} I'm sure using a stretchier fabric would make it easier, especially it someones has a smaller/tighter shirt to begin with - I was just trying to use fabric I already had on hand :) If I do this again, I'll definitely try with a stretchier fabric!

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  55.  Thanks! I hope it turns out well for you!! :)

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  56. This is FANTASTIC...I too, like many of the other comments here have short t-shirts and have tried them when tank tops underneath...looks good for the first five minutes after you put it on, but as soon as you're in and out of the car etc, it's just a wad of material around my middle!!  This is such a wonderful solution...and with the belt...wow!!!  It looks so stylish...this with simple jeans is a whole new look to just a basic tshirt and jeans...I love it!!!  Fantastic tutorial as well :)  

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  57. ...forgot to say...saw this on Pinterest...so glad someone pinned it already for me to find! :)  

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  58.  aww thanks :) this is definitely one of my favorite "discoveries"!

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  59. Terrific idea. I've got a boatload of shirts that need lengthening, so can't wait to get to this project. Very creative way of literally "stretching" our wardrobes!

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  60.  Awesome!! I know, it's so much fun to make something new out of what you've already got!

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  61. Blissful_and_domesticJuly 9, 2012 at 12:25 AM

     I just wanted to let you know that I featured you today on Blissful and Domestic. Stop by and Check it out!

    Danielle @ Blissful and Domestic

    www.blissfulanddomestic.com

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  62. Thank you, thank you, thank you!  I am 6 feet tall and have an identical twin who is 6' 1", and it's ridiculous finding shirts that are long enough, and we've had to toss many a cute shirts because they were unflatteringly short, and shopping at the store has always been a bummer because the shirts are always too short because our torsos are soo long.  This solves everything!  Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

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  63. thank you so much! i will definitely check that out soon :)

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  64. aww, i so glad! I'm only 5'5", but I have a long torso too... I can only imagine how much trouble you guys have! Hopefully this works out well for you guys!! :)

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  65. What a great idea! I have a long torso and get so frustrated with short shirts. I'll definitely be trying this solution!

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  66. Bloody brilliant!!!

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  67. very creative!! looks beautiful on you!

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  68.  thanks! i was pleasantly surprised with how well it worked out :)

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  69. An Exercise In FrugalityJuly 25, 2012 at 11:35 AM

    Just wanted to tell you that I love love love this idea. One of those things that is so simple yet completely changed my life! I always have shirts that are too short. lol Thanks so much for posting this tutorial. I run a frugal blog and featured this as one of the Frugal Pins of the Day (featured today, since I discovered it on Pinterest!) Thanks so much for sharing, you can read the post featuring your tutorial at http://anexerciseinfrugality.com/?p=646. Thanks again for the awesome tutorial!

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  70.  thank you!! I will definitely check out the post :)

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  71. this is pretty ugly. not cute. really.

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  72. well, it's clearly not for everyone! I'm happy with it, and it seems to have helped a lot of other people ;-)

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  73. OH.MY.GOSH. That is the best idea I've seen in a looong time! I'm not a great sewer but I figure the worst that can happen is that I wreck  the shirts | haven't wanted to wear anyways! Wondering if I can slice a piece of one shirt to add to another. Is it easy enough to sew two stretchier materials together? Thank you for posting this, and I have to say, you are very gracious regarding less than kind comments...:)

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  74. aww, thank you! I'm sure it would work to use another Tshirt... and it would actually probably be easier to get on and off with a stretchier material! My only suggestions would be to use a lower "tension" on the foot, and go slowly. Also if you have lots of pins it should keep all the material lined up well. I'm certainly not an expert either, so I hope that  helps! && yes, I'm not sure why some people feel the need to say the things they do, but ya just gotta roll with the punches ;-) Thanks for checking me out, I hope this works well for you!

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  75. The Practical Mom ShopAugust 3, 2012 at 8:15 AM

    I just did this project in about 15 minutes! I used a serger, which I'm hoping will make the knit/non-knit seams have a little "give." I'm thrilled with how it worked! Thanks!!

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  76.  great idea! glad it worked well for you!! :)

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  77. That is not a kind thing to say.

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  78. That is an ugly thing to say.

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  79. Claudia & TopastroAugust 13, 2012 at 8:54 AM

    Great idea! Claudia

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  80. I love this, I wish I sewed! And the belt really looks great with it. Shirts are either too short or too long on me. I might have to experiment with a not so favorite shirt and Stitch Witchery and see how it works.

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  81. So cute! I have a ridiculously long torso, and normally do the t-shirt/camisole layering thing, but this is brilliant! I love it!

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  82. Great idea and excellent directions! Thanks!

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  83. thank you! I hope it works out well for you should you decide to try it :)

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  84. thanks! i know what you mean, i rarely wear tops without a tank under them... and I'm not even that tall! It's awesome when shirts are just long enough and you don't have to worry about it :-p

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  85. thanks! it was surprisingly easy to pull off {I'm no sewing expert!!} so I hop you don't have too much trouble with it.... good luck! :)

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  86. You may have the money to go out and buy 200 shirts, but they'll still all be too short. :)

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  87. What an amazing idea! I never thought of that, thank u so much for sharing! will definitely be doing this to some of mine:-) and it looks so great on u too

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  88. Do you think this would work with polo shirts? I have to wear polos at work and bought some from the women's department and they are quite short. I bought some others from the men's department and they are much longer...

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  89. Yes! This is brilliant. I can dig out those shirts that are too short due to increased boob size and wear them again. Thank you so much!

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  90. I also have a long torso at 5'8". Isn't a pain in the butt to find shirts that are long enough? Ack!

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  91. thank you!! I hope it works out well for you :)

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  92. I don't see why not... the biggest "concern" would probably be just finding another material that works well with the polo fabric, but I wouldn't think that would be too hard? I always hated finding long enough polos back in highschool... most of them were barely long enough to tuck in! Sounds like they haven't improved much :-/

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  93. haha! I definitely know that feeling ;-) I hope it works out well for you!

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  94. i know! Target's "long and lean" tanks have been a long time favorite of mine since I have VERY few shirts that were made long enough on their own lol. crazy sauce :P

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  95. I love this and added it to StuffDOT. I think you just save about a half dozen of my tshirts :)

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  96. I love that idea ! Why I didn't think about that bymyslef before ???? ;-)

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  97. no I meant after it is hideous

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  98. the truth hurts sometimes

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  99. What a mean, nasty thing to say! There's no need to be rude to her. You might think her shirt is hideous, but I think you have an ugly heart, and that is much, much worse than anything anyone could ever wear.

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  100. What a great idea! I'm 5'11'' and usually have to buy tall-sixed clothes (yes, even t-shirts, and boy does it narrow my options =/) Can't wait to try this.

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  101. That is a really smart and cute idea!!! I am not a big fan of orange but with the brown in the center it looks great!! I can't wait to see how the other shirts turned out. Kudos to you for finding a solution to the ultimate fashion problem most of us have.

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  102. Thanks! I was super excited when it actually turned out haha :P

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  103. So darn smart!!! Won't be sending any more of my favorite t-shirts to goodwill!!!

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  104. O good! It's fun to make favorites work instead of having to say goodbye :- P

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  105. Great idea! I must say though, you do NOT have any kind of muffin top!

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  106. Wasn't it hard to put on since cotton doesn't stretch much?

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  107. There's a little bit of "resistance" - but nothing too awkward/difficult. Since it was a fairly loose shirt to begin with, there's enough room :) I'm sure a stretchier material would make that easier though!

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  108. I love love love the colors on that shirt. This is a fantastic idea!

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  109. Many times I find sale t-shirts I like in coordinating colors. I could buy two in coordinating colors and then be able to use the same fabric for the band. It should look even more 'designed' that way. I have struggled with a long torso all my life and am now in my 60s.

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  110. it is a very Cute shirt and Idea, Quit Trolling.

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  111. so very darling! love it, i like my tees a bit longer then most sell and this added material is the perfect way to do so!!! thank you

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  112.  thanks! yes, it would definitely be great if they could just sell shirts a bit longer lol.

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  113. that is an awesome idea, I have a few t's that are to short for me. gonna take them out and do this.

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  114.  awesome! let me know how they turn out ;)

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  115. I am taking my first sewing class on Tuesday. I am super excited to try this on some of my post-pregnancy too short shirts. What a great idea! Thanks for posting (I pinned on Pinterest.)

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  116. Nice job! Too bad I don't sew... at all....

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  117. I decided I wanted to do this today with one of my shorter shirts. Measured, cut, stitched then tried it on. Love the way it looked, BUT, the additional fabric has NO give and I had MUCH trouble getting it on my chesty self, then it is too form fitting for my comfort, although very cute! Supposing I will disassemble and try a fabric with some stretch to it. Great idea though

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  118.  That sounds fun! I usually have to enlist my grandmother's help when I don't know what to do lol. & thanks for pinning! :)

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  119.  Thanks! This actually came together pretty easily {I am by no means a sewing expert lol!} Of course if you don't happen to have a sewing machine, then yes you are pretty much out of luck :P

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  120.  That's been one thing I've gotten the most feedback about lol! I think I got lucky that it was a loose enough shirt that it wasn't really a problem - however if I were to do it over, a stretchier fabric I'm sure would have made it easier! Sorry it didn't work out for you :( Hopefully the new fabric helps!

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  121. AFTER, would be a good thing. Before is what's bad. And you're insane, this shirt is adorable.

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  122. I don't see any muffin top! You look awesome:) I love this idea. Your instructions are great. It is going on my sewing stuff before summer list.

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  123. thanks lol :) I'd love to see any pics if you end up doing this!

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  124. I am sure a lot of people feel the way I do when I think, Why didn't I think of that?. Nice job and tutorial! I have 4 shirts that I recently bought and am going to be doing this to them!

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  125. Excellent! Fabulous idea. . . you fixed what I hate about t shirts. . . You look great by the way. . .can't tell you recently had a baby.

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  126. Thank you :) & I know! Why can't they just make them long enough to begin with??

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  127. Just want to let you know that I love your tutorial so much I shared it on my blog today. I hope that's okay. :)

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  128. Thanks for the GREAT idea!! I am going to try it with some knit fabric, because I like having stretch. I'll let you know how they turn out.

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  129. Wow, thanks for the feature! :)

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  130. Thanks! I'd love to know how it works out for you :)

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  131. This is really an awesome creative work that you have shared for us.I am really glad to see this.


    http://www.apparelnbags.com/womens-tanks-and-camis.htm

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  132. Thank you! I like longer shirts so that when I lift my arms up my belly isn't showing and I have a long torso already. This could do the trick. :)

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  133. What an awesome idea! I never would have thought to do that. LOL.

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  134. This is a great idea! I can see putting a panel of knitting, crochet, hairpin lace, etc. instead of fabric. Super excited to try this out. Thanks for sharing!

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  135. Wow - what a fantastic idea! I have a really long torso, so a lot of my shirts are too short on me. I was planning to add to the bottom, but this is much more flattering!

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  136. Usually not many women wear a belt with jeans then also wear a belt around their waist, but clearly it works very well and looks great! That solves your fitting problem, very creative!

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  137. I forgot to say why. :) I'm tall and thin and so my jeans usually require a belt, like you sometimes my tops are short, and I see a slight belt bulge under my shirt. This idea draws attention away so you don't even notice the belt I'm wearing underneath so my pants can stay up LOL but I'm guessing seeing two belts at once wouldn't work?

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