Do you have a shirt with straps that are too long? These instructions will teach you how to reduce the length of your shirt straps using a sewing machine. If at any time you feel confused by the terminology, please refer to iFixit's Sewing Glossary.

  1. Put on the shirt.
    • Put on the shirt.

    • Pull the strap up until you reach your new desired length. Be sure to take the same amount of fabric from the front and the back of the seam.

    • Pin both straps to the desired length.

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  2. Remove the shirt.
    • Remove the shirt.

      • Be careful of the pins when taking off the shirt.

    • Measure and take a note of the length. Make sure it is the same on both straps.

      • This length will be the amount your strap that will be removed.

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    • Remove the pins and flip the shirt inside out.

    • Re-pin both shirt straps. Make sure the pins follow the measurements you just took.

      • Make sure you have a clear line to sew along.

    • Check and make sure the base of the straps are lined up for a continuous edge on your shirt.

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    • Thread the sewing machine and set it to your desired stitch length.

      • Refer to your specific sewing machine manual for more guidance.

    • Align the pinned part of the shirt with the needle.

    • Put down the presser foot.

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    • Sew along the line mapped out by your pins.

    • Pull out the pins as you sew. Make sure not to sew over any of them.

      • If you sew over the pins, you may break the needle.

    • Make sure to backstitch at each end of the seam.

    • Repeat this step for each strap.

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    • Put the shirt back on.

    • Confirm the new length that you chose for the garment.

      • If the straps are too still long or short, carefully rip out your new seam and return to Step 1.

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    • Cut excess fabric from the new seams, leaving ¼ inch to ½ inch.

    • Iron the seam allowance left after your cut to the back of the shirt.

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    • Flip the shirt right side out.

    • Make a straight stitch approximately 1/8 inch behind the new shoulder seam on the outside edge.

      • Make sure your new seam properly secures the seam allowance underneath.

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    • Cut any loose threads on the shirt.

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Your shirt straps now should be secured at their new length.

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Natalie Clark

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Cal Poly, Team 15-2, Green Fall 2015 Member of Cal Poly, Team 15-2, Green Fall 2015


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