How To Make A Shirt Smaller Without Sewing

If you have a stylish and unique shirt, you must wear it on special occasions. But, what if your shirt fits you too loose? Well, then your shirt’s design won’t look so radiant on your shape.

The best solution is to make your shirt smaller in size. You can alter your shirt on your own even if you don’t know how to sew. If you have a little equipment and determination, you can easily make your shirt smaller without sewing.

Moreover, you won’t have to rush to a tailor and pay unnecessary money. So, no waiting in queue for your tailor to finish the job as you can make it smaller on your own.

How, you may ask? Well, a simple shrink and iron method can do your job. You can also cut and hem the shirt to get your best fit.

In this article, you will get to learn about all the equipment, steps, and ways to make your shirt smaller. So, bid goodbye to your stress and discomfort of wearing loose shirts and start making them smaller and fit. Let’s dig in to know more.

How To Make A Shirt Smaller Without Sewing?

how to make a shirt smaller without sewing

Is your oversized shirt bothering your fashion outlook? Do you want to make your shirt smaller? Well, you have come to the right place. Here, you will learn everything about how to make shirts smaller without sewing.

You have to place your shirt on a flat surface and smoothen it flat. You can put it in hot water to shrink and then iron it for more shrinkage. There is more to this process where you have to determine the correct heat setting for your shirt.

Your shirt may be loose around the shoulder, waist, or chest. Depending on the spot of loosening fabric, you can use various methods to alter the shirt without sewing. For example, if your shirt’s waist is loose, you can make them smaller by cutting the edges and seaming them with hem tape.

Moreover, you will need a few essential equipment to get the desired results that you want. So, let’s discuss in-depth to know each step and ways to make your shirt smaller efficiently and effectively.

Equipment Needed To Make Shirt Smaller Without Sewing

equipment needed to make shirt smaller without sewing

There are quite a few pieces of equipment that you need to make your shirt smaller without sewing. Well, you may not need expensive items like a sewing machine, but things like hem tape, pins are necessary.

Here are some pieces of equipment you must collect and keep prior to your shirt alteration.

Hot Water Stove

You will have to boil the water to soak and wash your shirt for shrinkage. So, you will need a hot water stove to boil or warm the water.

Scissors Or Seam Ripper

If you want a quick and temporary solution to make your shirt smaller, you will need hemming. For this, a scissor or seam ripper will be essential to cut the unnecessary fabric.


You have to keep an adjustable heat dryer for your shrinking and alteration purposes.



Electric and adjustable iron will be essential in shrinking and maintaining the smooth texture of your shirt.

Hem Tape

If you want to resolve your shirt alteration in a quick yet efficient way, you will need hem tape.

With the right approach and proper implementation of steps, you will make your shirt fit your shape perfectly. So, if you have all the equipment prepared, you can start with the step-by-step approach to make your shirt smaller.

Step 1: Soak Your Shirt In Hot or Lukewarm Water

You have to take your shirt and place it on a pot of hot water to soak. For instance, you can use a large pot to boil water on a stovetop. Now, this hot water will help the fabric to contract and make your shirt shrink.

In addition, if your shirt is too loose, you will need high heat adjustments for further shrinking.

Here, you will have to remove the water pot from the stove. Then, take your shirt and submerge it in hot water. You can use a stick or a spoon to push the shirt underwater.

So, ensure that your shirt is completely covered with hot water. Finally, keep it there to soak for about half an hour.

Step 2: Wash Your Shirt In Hot Water

wash your shirt in hot water

If your shirt has soaked enough water for 30 minutes, then take it out. You have to wash down your shirt in hot water.

In this step, you have to use the hottest water possible in your washing machine settings. Then, wash your shirt on a normal wash cycle. If you have a new shirt on your collection to make it smaller, then it will shrink easily and effectively.

In addition, you must ensure to check the material of fabric used in the shirt. You can find out from the tag of your shirt. If the shirt is made up of polyester, you must avoid using hot water as it may get damaged. For instance, if your shirt is made of cotton, then you have nothing to worry about.

You can use top load washing machines instead of the front-loading ones to maximize your shrinkage if needed.

Step 3: Dry Out Your Shirt In High Heat Setting

Now, you have to proceed with the drying method. You have to dry your shirt after washing in a high heat setting. If you are not satisfied enough with the shrinkage from washing, you must try the drying technique.

The heat adjustment in the dryer will help your shirt to shrink more. Your dryer will shrink all types of fabric except wool with a hot water setting. But, if you want a little bit of shrinkage to get the best fit, you can wash it in cool water. Then, dry the shirt in a high heat setting.

Step 4: Iron Your Shirt And Wear Fit

After drying, you can try out the shirt and see if it fits or not. If you still need to make it a bit smaller, you can use the iron method now. Your household electric iron will be sufficient to do the job.

Place your shirt on an even flat surface, such as an iron board. You have to use a wet towel on top of the shirt to prevent any damage or burn. If your shirt is made up of pure cotton, you won’t need any such preventive towel measures.

Now, keep the iron heat in the medium range and apply firm and gentle pressure to iron the shirt. In addition, you must remember not to iron the same spot for more than ten seconds.

With gentle, smooth ironing, your shirt will shrink more and give you the best fit and outlook.

Step 5: Cutting And Hemming

cutting and hemming

If your shirt is longer in the waist and sleeves, then you will have to follow a simple step. You have to wear the shirt and mark the spot where it needs to fit. Then, use a seam ripper or scissor to cut that portion of the fabric.

Moreover, you can leave ¼ of an inch for seam allowance. So, now you can fold the sleeves or waistline by adding hem allowance. Then, attach the fabric with the help of a hem tape or fabric glue. This will give you the best temporary solution.

Reasons To Make Your Shirt Smaller

Apart from the style and fashion, there are several more reasons to make your shirt smaller and fit. For instance, a small yet best-fit shirt will enhance your self-confidence and boost your outer appearance.

If you look healthwise, trim yet fit shirts help to boost the process of muscle recovery after exercise or workout. If you want to reduce your muscle fatigue and increase blood pressure to heal broken muscles, wearing a small fit and compressed shirt will do the job.

Does Cotton-Made Fabric Shrink In Hot Water?

Cotton is one of the highly reactive fabrics to hot water that responds to shrinkage. Whether you have a hot temperature in a washer or a dryer, your cotton shirt will shrink easily. Moreover, it’s not only the heat effect that creates such shrinkage but also the tumbling effect.

Does Shrinking Your Shirt Ruin Its Design?

If your shirt is properly designed and printed, then no design or writing shall come off while shrinking. If you are using a shirt from a branded company, you can stay relaxed about its design.

Moreover, if you follow the steps correctly and use appropriate heat settings for the washer and dryer, your shirt will never ruin its design or colour.

So, you can use the information from this article to make your shirt smaller without any sewing situation. If you want a slim fit or tight shirt for your best outer appearance, follow these steps correctly.



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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