How to Shrink Button-Down Shirt

Did you buy a shirt that ended up being a little too big? Want to give it a shot at fitting your body type better?

Well, here’s a simple way to squeeze yourself into just about any button-down shirt.

1. First, lift up your arms and pull the back of the collar through the neck hole so that the rest of the shirt hangs behind you like a cape. The collar should sit two inches above your shoulder blades.

2. Take both sleeves by their seams from underneath and bring them together so they overlap in front. Pin each sleeve on either side of this overlap (a safety pin works great for this). If it feels like there is not enough space between the pin and your shoulder, readjust the shirt so that it is closer.

3. Now button up the top two buttons of your shirt. That’s right— just two! Since you are wearing this new button-down cape, the extra bulk from the remaining three or four will be more than enough to keep things together.

4. Give yourself a little nudge forward, which should cause the excess material to fall behind you. If not, use both hands at once on opposite sides to pull gently in opposite directions; this should cause all of your shirts to slip through.

5. Adjust each sleeve until they feel perfectly comfortable on each arm (adjusting one will affect its counterpart). You can also adjust how much overlap there is between your now-connected sleeves by pulling the overlap closer to or farther from your chest.

6. If you want to, give yourself a quick tuck . This is especially handy if you are wearing pants that have belt loops or pockets so that they don’t peek out below your shirt’s hemline, but it’s not really necessary.

And there you go! Your button-down shirt has now been successfully shrunken and should fit snugly on most frames of all sizes.

Things To Remember

If your shirt’s collar is too large for your neck, you can tuck it into your pants before pinning.

If one sleeve is longer than the other, just adjust them both to feel comfortable on each arm (one will affect its counterpart).

You can also adjust how much overlap there is between your now-connected sleeves by pulling the overlap closer to or farther from your chest.

Of course, if you would prefer to not have your shirt overlap in the front, follow these same steps but skip step three. You can still give yourself a little nudge forward once the top buttons are fastened to remove any excess bulk, however.

Also, note that this method works best on shirts with smaller collars (not larger than two inches) and also tends to work better for thinner fabric blends.

Cotton twill is quite easy while poplin and pinpoint oxford cloth sometimes need an extra finger inserted along the seam before shrinking will occur.

Buttons may come undone during shrinking if they don’t seem tight enough, so make sure they’re nice and snug before attempting!

Finally, try not to shrink your button-down to more than 1 or 2 inches smaller than your usual size.

If you shrink it too much, the fabric may become thin and begin to rip along the seams.

Of course, this is assuming that you’re actually shrinking a shirt to fit yourself— if someone else is doing the shrinking for you, perhaps because they want it more their size, keep in mind that while these steps can still be helpful for accommodating a larger build, there’s not much that can be done to make sure said shirt fits them comfortably.

If you ever encounter a knit shirt with exposed seems around buttonholes (which are often found on polo shirts), try skipping step three altogether— this will help ensure no damage comes from pulling its exposed interior stitches.

Good luck!

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