Button Down shirts and blouses are are “must haves” according to most style experts. However, many women have trouble getting a great fit. Buttondowns tend to gap at the bust line or pull across the tummy, giving an unflattering look.
To get a good fit, look for shirts and blouses with a stretch panel in the side seams. This allows the shirt to stretch where you need it..in the bustline, tummy area, back…wherever. This Taos Top by Soft Surroundings has a stretch panel in the side seams that gives you a slim fit all over. The panel is made of a ribbed knit fabric in a color that matches the rest of the blouse so it’s invisible and stretches only where you need a little more room.
If your shirt doesn’t have a stretch panel, it’s super easy to add one yourself or with the help of your tailor.
- Find a knit shirt such as a t-shirt, Henley shirt or lightweight knit top. Choose a top in a coordinating color with the same sleeve length. Look on sales racks and discount stores to keep the price low.
- Open the side seams and inside sleeve seams of the shirt.
- To make your stretch panel, cut a strip out of each side of the coordinating knit shirt. Be sure to keep the side seams. When you cut the strip, center the side/sleeve seams in the middle of the strips.
- Insert the strips of the knit shirt into the side and sleeve seams of the “too small” shirt
- Line up the hem, underarm sleeve seam and sleeve cuff and sew the side panels in place.
Here’s an example of a George Roth shirt I modified with my tailor. I’m not a fan of a shirt collar, so we removed the collar, cut a scoop neckline and used the extra fabric to make a ruffle for the new neckline.
Want more ideas?