How To: Tailor Your Shirt With The "Pinch And Pin"

We have always marveled at the needle-wizards who could make and alter their own clothing, but if this nifty video from ThreadBanger is right, altering your clothes is not as hard as it seems. Next time we find ourselves swimming in a shirt, we’ll remember to “pinch and pin” our problems away. — CAREY GREENBERG-BERGER

Thread Heads: Size Matters [ThreadBanger via Curbly]
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  1. segfault, registered cat offender says:

    Their method will leave a “naked” edge of fabric where the seam is–anyone who gets near you will be able to see it. Tim Gunn would not approve.

    That said, the chick on “ThreadHeads” is really cute.

  2. CeilingCat says:

    @segfault: Depends on the fabric and pattern.

    I would reverse the shirt and double check the symmetry and how the seams line up (especially for striped shirts) before I sewed, and would also double stitch that seam. (you are creating new stress points in the garment and your first point of failure will be the weakest one)

    IaNaT (I am Not a Tailer) but I think the old carpenters saying fits here:

    Measure twice and cut once!

  3. gte910h says:

    IANAT, but cuts are not always symmetrical in tailored clothing.

    And @segfault, they sew with the shirt still inside out. The seam will be on the inside. But I agree with CC that you should doublestitch it.

  4. This wouldn’t work as well on women’s dress shirts because the darts (the seams that go under the boobs) would probably end up too far to the side.

    But then most women’s dress shirts don’t fit right over the boobs anyway, so it might not be any worse than the “off-the-rack” fit.

    But I do like this method for kids’ clothes or inexpensive men’s shirts. (If you’ve paid big $$$ for it, go to an actual tailor! It’s not that expensive!)

  5. lore says:

    I buy “tailored-fit” shirts from BR and other retailers and those fit very well along the sides, and still gives me enough neck room if I needed to wear a tie.

  6. segfault, registered cat offender says:


    D’oh–I forgot they were sewing on the inside and not the outside. Shows you how much I know about sewing. Anyway, if you ask friends and family, many times you can find a good tailor who has reasonable prices.

  7. cde says:

    But what about the way the arms at the armpit look weird and baggy still?

  8. Crazytree says:


    She’s attractive if you like the 1970’s gangbanger chola 15yo-mother-of-three look.

  9. blindInTexas says:

    It doesn’t really cost that much to take a shirt and get it tailored. My Class A Uniform ( for those not in the know that’s that 70’s looking uniform we wear ) didn’t quite fit the way it should after basic ( hey I was at the top of my game there, not so much after 2 years ). The local tailor let it out for less than 10.00, that was jacket and 2 pairs of pants. Just like dude in the video I too have to buy larger shirts for the neck size. I take mine to a tailor and have them measured properly and taken in. Really even those on a strict budget can afford to take a few shirts to a tailor.

    On the flip side. Hey if you have a sewing machine and the skills. Hell yeah save a buck

  10. blindInTexas says:

    LMAO I had to watch it again to see what you were talking about , but yeah, I can see it now.

  11. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    Women can, too, use pinch-and-pin to fit baggy clothes to their bust. Once you put the blouse on inside out, find where the shirt naturally winkles and bags. Pinch a dart (a pointed wrinkle) from a point one inch off the nipple to the side seam, taking up the extra fabric. This dart can point in any direction from the underarm to the hem… we’re all made different.

    Both sides do not have to be exactly the same if both boobs are not exactly the same. If the blouse fits, it will LOOK symmetrical even if you aren’t.

    To finish the seam after you cut off the excess fabric, you can zigzag over the raw edge. I recommend you leave no less than half an inch from the seam line to the cut line.

  12. Daniel Hoang says:

    You can find an asian tailor that will tuck your shirts in for under $7 a pop. There are more and more modern-fit shirts that are a little more tucked in. I’m wearing a lot more Express Men shirts.

  13. If you are wanting to avoid the raw edge on the inside of the shirt with this method, you could do a French seam:

    With the shirt right side out, sew a seam a half inch outside of where the desired seamline is. Try on for size. Trim fabric to a quarter inch from sewn seam. Turn shirt wrong side out, and sew final seam a half inch from the first seam.

    You are really interested in shirtmaking, I would suggest David Page Coffin’s book: Shirtmaking: Developing Skills for Fine Sewing.

  14. @blindInTexas: “It doesn’t really cost that much to take a shirt and get it tailored. “

    Totally. I just took a dress in and had it COMPLETELY taken apart and put back together for $75. For simple things like hems and shirts, well under $20 (depending, of course, on where you live). I do do my own sewing, and I still take most of my clothes to a tailor when I need alterations for fit. So much less hassle and they do it better since, well, they do it all day every day and I only do it now and then.

  15. Smackdown says:

    We took my husband shopping at a factory outlet for shirts. We got them with the right armlength, right neck, but he had that horrible bagginess going on.

    Supercheap, nice dress shirts for like, $10-15 a buck, 100% cotton.

    Take them to get tailored, it’s about 10 bucks a shirt, and you still only pay $20 a shirt and look GREAT. He gets compliments all the time.