How To Make A Shirt Extender

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Today on Beginner Sewing Projects, I’m going to show you How To Make A Shirt Extender! If you are like me, you love wearing leggings. Sometimes though, I wish my top was a little longer to cover my bum. This cute little shirt extender does exactly that and looks so nice. It is a classy way to add some extra length when you need it. Why pay in-store prices when you can sew your own for cheap. I paid less than five dollars per extender when I purchase fabric in bulk. You’ll be surprised at how simple this is to put together. This is a great sewing project for a beginner looking to take their sewing to the next level. Perfect for advanced beginners, if you have been wanting to start sewing your own clothes but aren’t quite ready to tackle a full-blown DIY clothing project, this is a great stepping stone to more complicated projects. I made this out of some cute print fabric I fell in love with and some lace, but you could make it with more neutral colors to match more of your tops if needed. 

shirt extender top photo

So, gather up your supplies from the list below, and let’s get started!

How To Make A Shirt Extender

What You’ll Need:

shirt extender supplies

The fabric measurements above give you enough fabric to make two extenders. The tutorial below is for making one. Before beginning, measure your hips and waist. Next, determine the finished length you want your extender to be from your waist to where it will end. We made ours 11”.

How To Make A Shirt Extender

measure & cut fabric to shirt extender

Instructions for Cutting:

The first step in this how to make a shirt extender sewing tutorial is to cut out your fabric. Cut your fabric pieces that will be 44” x 18”. Use your hip measurements (ours was 36”) and trim the width of your fabric (the 44” side) to your measurement plus 1”. Next trim the length so it is the total you calculated (remember ours was 11”), plus 2”, less the 4” trim. (Our unfinished length would be 9”.)

trim any raw edges

Cut your trim to the same width. If your trim has an uneven raw edge like mine did, cut a straight edge just past the longest uneven edge (mine was scalloped).

fold raw edges & press

Instructions for Attaching the Trim:

To add the trim to your shirt extender, fold over one of the raw edges of the fabric ¼” lengthwise and press with a warm iron. 

pin trim to fabric shirt extender

Place your fabric piece on a flat surface with the wrong side up so the fold would be the “south end” and the raw edge would be the “north end”. Place the trim on the fabric so the raw edge of the trim is against the pressed fold (south end) and the finished edge of the trim is facing the “north end.” (see picture for positioning). 

sew it together

Pin or clip into place and using a ¼” seam allowance, sew a straight line, close to the open edge. 

pull trim up to finished edge & press

Now that you have your trim tacked onto your shirt extender, flip your fabric so it is right side up and turn it, so the “south end” is now facing right, and the raw edge is facing left. Pull the trim by the finished edge so the finished edge is now facing right. Lightly press this new seam down and pin into place.

sew down pressed edge

Head back over to your sewing machine and using a ¼” seam allowance, sew a straight line, close to the open edge. 

fold fabric to make casing

Instructions for Making the Casing for the Elastic:

Next on this easy sew shirt extender tutorial, we will make the casing for the elastic. Measure down and mark 1 ½” from the raw edge of the fabric (opposite the trim edge. Fold over the raw edge of the long side of the fabric ¼” lengthwise and press with a warm iron. 

ew down edge to secure

With right sides together, fold your fabric in half short ways so the raw edges are touching. Pin or clip into place and using a ½” seam allowance, starting below your 1 ½” place marker you made, sew a straight line, close to the open edge. Be sure to reinforce both ends. Trim the seam down to ¼” and using a warm iron, press open.

sew french seam

Position so the seams are facing up. Starting on the right side, fold the seam over left so the edge is facing the fabric. Using a 1/8” seam allowance, stitch the seam in place using a straight or small zig zag stitch, making a French seam. Repeat on the other side, folding the seam to the right. This will make a nice and clean French seam for the back.

fold open v and fold 1/4" twice. Fold 1" & sew along edge of casing

Open the 1 1/2” opening at the top so it makes a “V”. Fold each of the edges over ¼” and the ¼” more and sew each side in place, creating a finished edge. Fold over the pressed edge ½” and press with a warm iron. Next, fold it over 1” and press again. Using a 1/4” seam, sew along the open edge of the casing, making sure to backstitch to reinforce at the beginning and end. 

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pin the end of the elastic

To finish out this shirt extender sewing project, we just need to add the elastic. Attach a safety pin to one end of your elastic and insert it into one of the open ends of the casing.

insert into casing

Push the cord through until it comes out the other end. 

sew edge of casing closed

Holding the two edges of the elastic together, unpin your safety pin and then use it to close the ends of the elastic together. Pull until the circumference of the extender is the size of the waist measurement you wanted. Stitch the opening closed. Enjoy!

complete shirt extender

And that’s it! Now you know how to make a shirt extender! This simple sewing project is a great addition to your wardrobe. You can wear any skirt and make it as long as you need. Such a cute idea and I love how it turned out. If you don’t want to use a lace trim, you could swap it for something a little more durable. I made a few different ones and they are a perfect addition to my warm-weather wardrobe.

If you liked learning how to make a shirt extender, make sure to pin it to your favorite Pinterest board or share it with friends on social media. If you decide to make this simple project on your own, be certain that you take a picture afterward and tag us on social media as we love seeing the fabrics and color choices that people use!

Yield: 2

How To Make A Shirt Extender

Shirt Extender Create Card

Sew this cute shirt extender to wea with your favorite top. Quick and simple to make.

Active Time 40 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Difficulty Easy
Estimated Cost $7.15

Instructions

  1. Fold your fabric, selvage ends together, and cut in half perpendicular to the fold, so you have two pieces that are going to be 44” x 18”. 
  2. Use your hip measurements and trim the width of your fabric (the 44” side) to your measurement plus 1”. 
  3. Next trim the length so it is the total you calculated (remember ours was 11”), plus 2”, less the 4” trim. 
  4. To attach the trim, fold over one of the raw edges of the fabric ¼” lengthwise and press with a warm iron. 
  5. Place your fabric piece on a flat surface with the wrong side up so the fold would be the “south end” and the raw edge would be the “north end”. 
  6. Place the trim on the fabric so the raw edge of the trim is against the pressed fold (south end) and the finished edge of the trim is facing the “north end.”
  7.  Pin or clip into place and using a ¼” seam allowance, sew a straight line, close to the open edge. 
  8. Flip your fabric so it is right side up and turn it, so the “south end” is now facing right, and the raw edge is facing left. 
  9. Pull the trim by the finished edge so the finished edge is now facing right. Lightly press this new seam down and pin into place and using a ¼” seam allowance, sew a straight line, close to the open edge. 
  10. To make casing for elastic,  measure down and mark 1 ½” from the raw edge of the fabric (opposite the trim edge. 
  11. Fold over the raw edge of the long side of the fabric ¼” lengthwise and press with a warm iron. 
  12. With right sides together, fold your fabric in half short ways so the raw edges are touching. Pin or clip into place and using a ½” seam allowance, starting below your 1 ½” place marker you made, sew a straight line, close to the open edge. Be sure to reinforce both ends. 
  13. Trim the seam down to ¼” and using a warm iron, press open.
  14. Position so the seams are facing up. Starting on the right side, fold the seam over left so the edge is facing the fabric. 
  15. Using a 1/8” seam allowance, stitch the seam in place using a straight or small zig zag stitch, making a French seam. 
  16. Repeat on the other side, folding the seam to the right. 
  17. Open the 1 1/2” opening at the top so it makes a “V”. 
  18. Fold each of the edges over ¼” and the ¼” more and sew each side in place, creating a finished edge. 
  19. Fold over the pressed edge ½” and press with a warm iron. Next, fold it over 1” and press again. 
  20. Using a 1/4” seam, sew along the open edge of the casing, making sure to backstitch to reinforce at the beginning and end. 
  21. Attach a safety pin to one end of your elastic and insert it into one of the open ends of the casing. Push the cord through until it comes out the other end. 
  22. Holding the two edges of the elastic together, unpin your safety pin and then use it to close the ends of the elastic together. 
  23. Pull until the circumference of the extender is the size of the waist measurement you wanted. 
  24. Stitch the opening closed. 
  25. Enjoy!

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