Hello! I'm Suzannah, a serious DIYer. Follow along with my DIY fixer upper house renovations, sewing and crafty projects, real food recipes, and de-stressing goals.
I co-host the Your Home Story podcast and believe you can love your home just the way it is, AND have the power to design and make big changes to make it better.
I'm also the author of DIY Wardrobe Makeovers!
Mom to Otto born April 2018 and Lucy born August 2020!

Why are modern clothes so boxy? Mini-tutorial

"Boxy," I think, is the right word.  I can understand when something doesn't fit me, or is the wrong size, but so often I find things, like sweaters, that have no shape at the waist.  Take this sweater from last winter at Gap that I got at Goodwill.
On me it looked hugely loose (just at the waist!), and even in the picture of it flat it looks completely shapeless!!  Look at that, lines straight down from the armpit!

I'm sure you've encountered this before.  This sweater totally fit in the shoulders, arms and length but not in the waist.  How about a mini-tutorial on how to take in a top like this?

I've done a tutorial before on how to take in a sweater, and it applies most to thinner, particularly cotton sweaters.  Here's a little tutorial on another technique that works well on chunkier sweaters!

  • Try on the sweater inside out!  Have a pinning-talented friend help or pin it yourself, pinching on both sides and pinning on just one side.  Pin to where you'd like the seam to be.  Here's what it looked like when I took it off after doing this.

  • Making sure your sweater is completely flat, and your side seam is actually on the side, machine sew along the path of the pins, taking them out right before you get to them.
  • Now for the other side.  Fold the sweater in half and match where your seam is so you take in the same amount in the same places on both sides.  I used a fabric marker to draw along the opposite of the seam.
  • Wear and enjoy with more feminine lines!!


  1. wow, you are so beautiful! great tutorial!

  2. So simple! Thanks! That's a great color on you. Can't wait to get my dressform so I can work without a pinning talented friend (just a doppelganger!)

  3. Good work!

    I also hate how the chain stores clothes fit,
    One size does not fill all.


  4. Great tutorial! I do this to almost all of my sweaters to make them fit me better.

    I linked to your tutorial over at Craft Gossip Sewing:


  5. That is such a great idea...will definitely be using this! :)

  6. This is great - I've had to do this to so many shirts (or add darts in the back)!

  7. Just saw your guest post on Grosgrain, and I thought I recognized you! Cute sweater make-overs!
    Angela Holland-Sniff

  8. Helpful tip! I'm just always to afraid to sew though :(

    btw thanks for the link to my blog. I appreciate it. thanks x

  9. I want to try this, but I have a question.
    Are you left with a funny, lumpy seam on each side (especially if you took it in a lot?) Or is this not a problem? Or, could you cut it off (or would the sweater unravel?)

  10. Thanks!!

    @erica, good question... it's not too lumpy but on a sheer sweater it might be annoying. You could cut it off, and I do cut off the excess seam allowances on things I take in if they're more than 1/2" or so.

  11. Clothes in the stores for the past couple of years are actually quite fitted, compared to the 80s and 90s. Sometimes, you can find a date on the tags. Generally though, the more wool in a sweater, the looser you'd want it to fit because it's going to be warm, and/or a layering piece. The big reason though, it's cheaper to make it straight with no shaping.
    Very pretty colour!

  12. Thanks for sharing this! I'm planning on taking in a sweater I bought that is too large and this is very helpful :)

  13. I would cut of the excess by serging it of which of course would finish the edges and avoid any unraveling. Thanks for the tutorial.

  14. Anonymous1/08/2013

    I would suggest using a serger or a serger stitch on the regular machine to finish the edges nicely and will also avoid a too wide seam allowance.

  15. Anonymous1/08/2013

    Is there any way to shorten sleeves of sweaters? Seems like my arms are getting shorter, or they are making sleeves longer!!




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