A photograph of a crazy quilt from a book I found in a museum while on my honeymoon in Alaska…
This is a tutorial intended to instruct one on how to make a snug shirt a bit roomier and more flattering by improving the fit all around. As you can see in the before photo, there is tightness around the upper arm and the bust (causing that dreadful gaping of the buttons). And the hemline, waistline and bustline are all a bit too high for me! This project takes a fair bit of time, so I suggest doing it only if you are really in love with said garment.
My proposed solutions include adding ease by the addition of gussets under the arms, adding a band between the bodice top and bodice midsection seams, and dropping the hem by 2.5”. I found the perfect contrast fabric in my scraps stash, some soft burgundy corduroy that works nicely with the cranberry calico.
I cut two underarm gussets using a quilters template. These are 9” X 5.25”.
I cut a midsection band out as long as the front bodice is wide X 2”.
I removed the stitching attaching the bodice top to the bodice midsection. There are two rows of gathering under the bust that must be removed and reset onto the bottom of the contrast band. Also, I removed the bodice side seam stitches in their entirety and 4.5” of the sleeve inseam from the armpit towards the elbow.
I then pinned and stitched the gussets onto shirt sleeves and side seams, right sides together as shown in the photo above. One half of the gusset expands the sleeves, the other half expands the underarm/bustline. Next: stitch contrast band onto bodice top. I reset the gathers, then stitched the band onto the bodice bottom. Time to restitch the remainder of the side seams back together again. Since I had added length to the front of the bodice with a 2” band, the back hem of the bodice became shorter by 1.5”, as I used (two) .25” seam allowances to attach the band to the top and bottom. I then trimmed off this front 1.5” hem excess so both front and back bodice lengths met.
Last, I took out the hem and released all excess fabric. I was lucky and the shirt had a significant 2” double rolled hem ( you know, like in the “Old Days”). I stitched home made bias tape to the bottom edge, pressed it up and hand blind stitched the new hem edge.
This might be my spirit animal