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Adding Length to a Western Shirt

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This project started with a long sleeved, western style shirt originally from Gap but coming to me via Goodwill. I liked the color, the fabric, and the fact that the shirt perfectly fit my upper torso, despite my narrow shoulders and big boobs. The length, however, always seemed a bit awkward for me, which suggested the idea of lengthening it. I searched for a coordinating fabric for the additions but never found what I liked. So, why not remove the sleeves and use that fabric to add length? Brilliant!

Step 1: Remove the sleeves! I cut them off just before the shoulder seam and left the edge to fray a bit. I also removed the collar in a similar way.


Next, I laid the sleeves flat and pinned them together back to back. I measured and made sure the sleeves, when sewn together, would be about as long as the bottom of the shirt. (A little bit longer is better than too short.)

I marked and then sewed a straight seam across the raw edges cut from the shoulders. I trimmed the extra.





The sleeves still had some raw edges to be tacked down. I pinned and then sewed them closed. Now the sleeves form a long band of fabric.

Next, I needed to pin the band of fabric to the bottom of the shirt. (Right sides together, of course!) The original hem of the shirt was curved, but I pinned the band on in a straight line, cutting off the curves. BLOOPER: I originally tried to follow the hem of the shirt, but that created puffiness when the band was sewn on! No “bubble butt” allowed!







Before pinning the band completely on to the shirt, I sewed the sleeve cuffs closed. (The band was slightly too long, so I rolled the cuffs in slightly to shorten them before I sewed.








Then, I completed pinning the band on to the shirt, and sewed away.








Hooray! I like the way the length addition has turned this shirt into more of a tunic top! I pair it with skinny jeans or capris! Adding a sweater, scarf, and ankle boots will transition this shirt nicely into fall!



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