How to Upsize a too small Men’s T-shirt v. 2

Maybe you remember my too small t-shirt to plus-size raglan tutorial over here? Well I’m showing you version 2 today. The raglan is good if your t-shirt is WAAAY too small, or you don’t want a sportier look. The method I’m showing you today would be good for sports shirts, logo shirts, plain shirts, anything that would look good with a contrast stripe, and it’s good for shirts that are one or two sizes too small.

First, assess your size difference.

I started with a men’s XXL slim fit tee that I bought several years ago and never wore. Yay WordPress!

I needed to add about 8 inches total to make a comfortable shirt, 4 inches on each side. I figured out this number by laying the too-small shirt out flat on a table, then laying a shirt that fits on top of it and measured the difference on each side. Then I doubled each number and added them together. So my difference on each side was two inches, but the fabric is folded in half, so double 2 inches makes 4 inches needed on each side.

Next, cut off the sleeve and bottom hems completely. I find men’s tees too long for me in general so I actually cut off about 2 inches from the bottom hem.



Next, turn the shirt inside out and cut off the side seam allowance all the way from the bottom hem to the end of the sleeve. Cut off as little as possible.

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Now cut two strips of contrast fabric the width of your addition on each side plus seam allowance (at least a half inch), so I cut 2 strips of white fabric 4.5 inches wide. I measured the length of the side seam which was 24 inches, and that’s the length of my side strips.

Serge the side strips into each open side seam.

At this point you can either re-hem the sleeves and bottom, or add contrast cuffs. I added contrast cuffs to the sleeves because they weren’t long enough for me and it gives the tee a ringer look, and hemmed the bottom normally.

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And now I have a sporty little WordPress shirt I’ll be proud to wear! I might still redo the neckline in white but I didn’t really see the need for now.

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If you have any questions leave a comment 🙂

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10 Responses to How to Upsize a too small Men’s T-shirt v. 2

  1. Michele March 12, 2016 at 8:02 am #

    Love this. I have a couple of t-shirts that have shrunk (or I grew out of, nah) that I’ve been looking for an easy tutorial to enlarge. Ty

  2. banditsmom (@banditsmom) April 26, 2016 at 5:07 pm #

    As someone who is between a 3 and 4xl (love wearing a 5x for comfort) I have done this on several shirts. To make a plain shirt a little more girly you can use printed fabric. If the back part is fine (by measurement taking) but the you know the front is problem (bust and tummy) cut up the front insert a printed fabric and change the neckline to a v shape. Or if you can find a pretty lace use a contracting fabric underneath the lace to show it off. I am not up to sewing a full outfit for myself yet (hate adjusting patterns) but I can upcycle them.

  3. Whitney Clark December 19, 2016 at 1:31 pm #

    Found you and am voraciously reading your site. I’ve had my sewing machine for less than a month so Please pardon my ignorance…Do I HAVE to have a surger? Is there ANY way to upsize a shirt without one? If it matters my sewing machine has 100 different stitches. Thanks so much for this site. You rock!

    • Sarah Bailey December 19, 2016 at 1:33 pm #

      Hi Whitney, no you don’t have to have a serger! Most sewing machines have a “stretch stitch” which looks kind of like a lightning bolt. Try that instead! make sure you use a jersey/knit needle instead of a regular sharp needle. 🙂

  4. Whitney Clark December 20, 2016 at 11:29 am #

    Bless you!!! My machine has that stitch. Yay! Thanks so much for your expertise and quick response. 🙂

  5. Christine January 1, 2017 at 3:23 am #

    Excellent, do you have a post on upsizing hoodies? I can never find one that will fit my son who is a XXXL.


  6. Sarah Bailey January 2, 2017 at 2:16 pm #

    Christine, No, I don’t have a post on hoodies. In some ways I think it could be even easier than doing a shirt, because you can use ribbing for cuffs instead of hemming them, and also sweatshirt fleece typically doesn’t have a lot of stretch so you could probably get away with using a regular sewing machine, except perhaps for the cuffs. You’d need a stretch stitch for those. Attaching ribbing is much easier than hemming a knit. You would need to remove the bottom cuff and wrist cuffs first, and then cut it all the way up the sides from hip to wrist. Add your new side panels, try to keep them 2-4″ wide if possible. You should still use sweatshirt fleece, but if you can’t get an exact match, use a contrasting color for the panels and the cuffs. If you can’t match it, embrace the “design element”! Then attach new ribbing for cuffs and call it a win.

  7. Kimberly Alexander October 15, 2017 at 10:16 am #

    I love this since o need to fix a shirt for my mom. They sent me and xl but it looks like a medium. Anyway, since they won’t send me another one, I want to fix this for her birthday. I just have a question. Why did you cut off the bottom? And if we had the fabric does it bunch up around the waist? Thanks!

  8. Pat September 7, 2021 at 4:07 pm #

    did u use knit or cotton material?

    • sewwhatsherlock September 7, 2021 at 4:32 pm #

      Hi Pat, I believe it was a cotton jersey fabric, any t-shirt material will do the job 🙂

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