How To Make A Shirt Bigger Without Sewing

You can make a shirt bigger depending on its style and the type of material it is made up of. Typically, shirts of any style and material can stretch at least one or two-inch, if you use the right methods. However, if you choose to alter your shirts to make them bigger with sewing technique, then the style will matter.

T-shirts can be easily altered, whereas blouses and button-downs need a bit of experience and a good level of sewing skills. The type of material also enables a key difference. For instance, if your shirt is made of cotton, it will stretch easily. However, if your short is made of polyester or any other synthetic fabric, it will not stretch that easily.

If you have the right blend of type of material and style, you can make your shirt bigger with some of the best stretching methods. This article will guide you to the various ways to make your shirt bigger without sewing. So, let’s start.

How to Make a Shirt Bigger Without Sewing?

The easiest and highly recommended way of making your shirt bigger is stretching. Several shirts, specifically the ones made of cotton, or blended cotton, will get easily stretched. It can make your shirt at least half a size bigger than before.

If you have a slightly small shirt that you want to make fit again, you must try one of the many quick stretching methods. These methods, such as washing, hand-drying, conditioning, etc., will take little expense, skill, or effort. Moreover, it will enable you to make your shirt bigger easily and effectively without sewing.

You can either choose to wash your shirt and stretch it when it’s wet or soak it in a solution of hair conditioner and water for stretching. Moreover, you can also use a specialized stretching tool to make the shirt’s specific portion bigger, such as the collar.

If you’re just a beginner in altering clothing, it’s best to start with the easy methods. So, keep aside the need for sewing and make a garment bigger without cutting it too.

Method 1: The Washing Method

  • First, take your washable shirt and keep it in your washing machine. Remember to keep the machine on a cold setting while enabling it to run through its usual cycles.
  • Now, remove the wet shirt from the machine. Let it lay on a dry towel. However, you must not wring it out as it may damage your shirt’s fabric.
  • Proceed to spread your shirt until you find no traces of bulges or wrinkles on them. Then, stretch the portions that you want to enlarge most gently and firmly.
  • For instance, if your shirt sleeves are too short, hold the cuff and the shoulder and pull it gently yet firmly. If your t-shirt’s bust area is too small, go below the sleeves, hold off each side seam, and pull.
  • When wet, some fabrics will expand a bit. So, try not to stretch too much then.
  • Once you expand the shirt right up to your satisfaction, leave it for drying. Finally, try it on and see if its new size is up to your expectation or not. If not, then repeat the method after a few days again.

Method 2: The Conditioning Method

This method is somewhat similar to the washing method but works more effectively.

  • First, you have to fill a sink or basin with cold water. Then, add two or three tablespoons of any good-quality hair conditioner.
  • Now, soak your shirt in the solution of conditioner and water for about fifteen to twenty minutes.
  • Proceed to drain away from the cold water and refill the sink for rinsing the conditioner out. Then, swish around your shirt a few times.
  • So, repeat this step as required until you stop feeling slimy from the hair conditioner.
  • Now, hold the shirt over the basin to enable the majority of the water to drain out. Then, lay the shirt between a couple of dry towels. Press down the layer to let your towels soak more of the remaining water.
  • Lastly, smoothen the shirt flat and proceed to stretch gently over the necessary portions.

If you plan to make your soccer jersey, rugby shirt, or any sports uniform bigger, you must try the conditioner method.

Method 3: Using Vinegar To Hand Stretch Woolen Shirts

In this method, we will discuss the stretching techniques to make your woolen shirt or sweatshirt bigger. So, you have to use vinegar instead of conditioner for your woolen shirts. This is because vinegar protects the fabric against damage and softens it naturally.

  • First, you have to fill the bathtub, basin, or sink with cold water, just like the conditioning method.
  • Secondly, you have to add a couple of tablespoons of vinegar into the water to make a blended solution. You can add conditioner too, but it’s optional.
  • Then, submerge your shirt into the solution for about fifteen minutes. Next, rinse the shirt with freshwater.
  • Now, let your shirt soak for another five minutes. Then, lay the shirt flat on a dry towel and pull its sides.
  • Once you’re done stretching, allow your shirt to dry in the air overnight.

Method 4: Hang Drying Small Shirts After Washing

One more method to stretch your slightly undersized shirt is hang drying it.

  • When there’s added water weight on the shirt, it allows the material to stretch and elongate while hanging. Thus, you have to put in a little effort from your end.
  • If you wash your shirt in low-temperature water, then skip the electric dryer.
  • Next, use clothespins to hang the shirts on a clothesline for drying.
  • Along the bottom of your shirts, place the clothespins and let them hang upside down to enable more pressure.

Things To Know Before Moving To The Stretching Methods

  • You have to try on the shirt and know exactly where it doesn’t fit your body. Check whether your button-down is coming too tight around the collar or if it’s growing uncomfortably close to the bust.
  • Also, check the shirt’s inside label to determine whether it’s washable before proceeding to any stretching method.
  • A few fabrics like wool and silk need dry cleaning. So, you must not try the below-mentioned stretching methods on these non-washable fabric items.
  • Moreover, checking the manufacturer’s label will help you determine the thread count and the type of fabric used in the material. The type of material determines the level of effectiveness of the stretching methods.
  • Cotton shirts stretch more easily than polyester or synthetic fabric shirts. This is because the cotton fibers expand when they’re wet, while synthetic fabric doesn’t absorb moisture. However, there are a few proper techniques to make your polyester shirts bigger too.
  • A button-down shirt with a high thread count has the resiliency and strength to stretch without wear and tear. Meanwhile, a shirt with a lower thread count possesses higher chances of getting damaged while stretching.

How Can You Avoid Shrinking Your Shirt?

You can avoid shrinking your shirts by following some easy tips and ways. First, you must remember to wash shirts in cold water and use minimal or no heat while drying. This is because hot water and air let’s damage your shirt fibers. Shirts made of fabric like cashmere, wool, and mohair, are best dry-cleaned. Also, ensure to follow the manufacturer’s care tag on your shirt to prevent it from shrinkage. Air-drying women’s shirts is yet another effective way to avoid shrinking issues, especially if you love the shirt. In addition, it’s an eco-friendly method too.

Can My Tailor Make A Shirt Bigger?

No, tailors cannot probably make your shirt bigger. Tailors can typically enlarge your pants by a couple of sizes. This is because some pants come with extra fabric material sewn into the seams. However, shirts and coats don’t have any excess material in the seams. So, it becomes challenging for the tailor to make a shirt bigger.

A tailor can make your shirt’s sleeves shorter or make it a size smaller, but they commonly cannot elongate the fabric. Even if the tailor cuts off the collar and sleeves for reattaching them to alter a button-down, the result won’t be satisfactory. You won’t get a super professional outlook from your shirt.

This mostly happens because whenever you add fabric in, the shirt loses its design and original lines. Most tailors don’t take sewing projects that can end up in a not-so-professional-looking product. Most tailors recommend buying a shirt that’s one-half a size or a size too large.

How Long Should A Shirt Be?

The length of the shirt should be somewhere between your upper to mid crotch. However, it’s best to keep the short length closer to the mid-crotch than the upper crotch. This is because it helps you avoid showing your stomach when you reach up for things. Also, it allows it to be tucked smoothly into the front side of your pants/belt for breaking up the proportions if you want.



I'm Jessica Flores, a professional fashion designer and an expert seamstress. Crafting has always been a deep-seated passion of mine, one that has flourished and evolved over the years. I've dedicated considerable time to both studying and practicing in the realm of fashion and sewing, amassing a wealth of experience and skills. It brings me great joy to share these insights and experiences with you all, hoping to inspire and foster a similar passion for the art of sewing.

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