How to Make a Button-up Shirt Bigger (Men’s Dress Shirt)

Growing bigger is not always a good thing. When you are an adult growing bigger means you need larger clothes. You may not have the budget for new dress shirts so trying to make your current ones bigger is the next logical option.

How to make a button-up shirt bigger: Unfortunately, this is not a recommended step. There is a lot of work to be done to make your husband’s shirt 2 sizes larger. Also, the result may not be that eye appealing which may be the result some wives want.

To learn how to make a men’s dress shirt bigger just continue to read our article. While it is a difficult and time-consuming process, it can be done. The question is, do you really want to attempt after reading what we have found out?

Can You Make a Button-up Shirt Bigger?


The simplest way to make a button-up shirt bigger is to try and stretch it out. But like resewing a dress shirt, the results may not be that appealing and it may not work too well.

The next simplest method will be to only move the buttons. Getting them closer to the edge of the shirt will add a little bit of width to the garment but it won’t increase the size by 2.

The next step after moving the buttons is to cut the center back of the shirt up till you reach the yoke. Turn the raw edges in about a 1/2 inch and press, Next, get your insert panel ready and pin it in place.

Once that is done, sew the panel into place and remove the pins as you go. Trim any excess fabric away and you have a shirt that is a little larger. One of the problems you will face using this method is matching the insert fabric to the design of the dress shirt.

It will take a lot of patience to match up the look and sew it correctly into position so there is no loss of design.

How to Make a Men's Dress Shirt Bigger


The most obvious and cheeky answer to this question is that if the shirt is new and can be returned, then do that. Just exchange the shirt for a larger size. This is the best way to make a man’s dress shirt bigger. It will save you time, frustration and money.

But if you are bent on creating a bigger shirt be prepared to spend a lot of time doing it. The problem areas are going to be the shoulders, the cuffs, and the collar. The good news is if you are ready to handle the bad issues then there is a way to make the shirt larger for your spouse.

First, carefully remove the cuffs without damaging or leaving the raw edges. Do not iron those edges flat.

Second, open up the side seams on the body of the shirt and along the long sleeves of each arm. Do not separate the sleeves from the shoulders but do open the underarm seam up on both sleeves.

Third, prepare your insert fabric and take time to match the design as closely as you can. Pin the insert fabric into place in all those areas you have just opened up. Leave yourself only about 1/4 seam allowance.

Fourth, stitch the insert fabric into place and use a zig-zag stitch. Re-attach the cuffs slipping the raw edge over the raw edge of the sleeve. You may end up stuffing the wider sleeve raw edge into the cuff.

Finally, stitch the cuff back into place. It may work but the result may not be as good as you would like.

Can You Make a Dress Shirt Neck Bigger?


This is going to be an easier task than making the dress shirt bigger. That is because altering the neck is a common sewing alteration due to clothes shrinking in the wash or the dryer.

The process we are about to describe doesn't include any sewing. It is a safe, simple method that helps your husband’s dress shirts fit better after they ‘shrink’. The first step is to buy a collar extender.

You should be able to find them at most stores for men that have a large dress shirt selection. After you bring the collar extender home put on the shirt you want to enlarge the neck.

After that, you put the loop side of the extender over the top button on your collar. Next, put the stud side through the corresponding hole. The final step is to put your tie on and your shirt is as good as new.

The other way to make the neck bigger is by simply moving the button closer to the edge of the collar. This technique works on the waistline when your pants have ‘shrunk’ and it should work on your neckline as well.

How to Make Dress Shirt Collar Bigger


There is a tool you can buy that will do the job for you. But how well it will work is the question and we won’t guarantee that it will do a good job for you. Collars are tricky areas when you need to make a shirt bigger.

The collar stretcher is the tool we are talking about and it is not a hard or complicated device to use. All you have to do is wrap the collar around the stretcher per the instructions and twist the knob till you are sure the collar will stretch some.

This will be a slow process because you can only stretch a shirt collar so far before it damages the threads and fibers. It may take several tries till the collar reaches your stretch goal.

There is only one catch to this method. You may not be able to find this gadget in any store. We checked Amazon after looking at an image and that marketplace doe snot sell one.

One collar stretching expert said to replace the collar stretcher with a hat stretcher if you can’t find the former gadget. How well a hat stretcher will do is anyone’s guess. When push comes to shove, either buy the collar extender or a larger shirt.

How to Make a Button-up Shirt Bigger Without Sewing

This method will probably be the same as for any shirt that needs to be stretched. The first thing you need to do is determine if the fabric used to create the shirt can be stretched or not.

There is no use trying to stretch a shirt when the fabric can’t be stretched. Here are the steps you can take but keep in mind you may not get that extra 2 sizes you want through this method.

  • Step 1 - Fill a tub with cool water. Not hot and not cold, but cool. The hot only keeps the fibers from stretching and the cold won’t dissolve the conditioner you are going to use.
  • Step 2 - Add about 1/4 cup of hair conditioner to the water and stir until thoroughly mixed without any lumps or clumps. Any hair conditioner will work in this method so pick a cheap one.
  • Step 3 - The conditioner will soften the shirt fibers making it possible to stretch them out further. Once you have the conditioner mixed do not rumple the shirt when you add it to the mixture. You want the conditioner to soak into all areas f the shirt so lay it flat without overlapping sleeves, etc.
  • Step 4 - The shirt needs to be evenly submerged for 15 minutes.
  • Step 5 - Once the 15 minutes are up, drain the water and conditioner out of the tub and refill it with cool fresh water. Squeeze the shirt so all of the old conditioned water is out of the shirt then let it soak for another 5 minutes.
  • Step 6 - Squeeze the water out of the shirt and lay it flat on some nice clean towels. To stretch the length put one hand on the neck and one on the bottom hemline and gently pull down. Work left to right and pull the fabric till you get an inch or two of extra length.
  • Step 7- Now to stretch the width of the shirt. Grab the edges of each side of the shirt, one in each hand and pull in opposite directions. Again you want to pull gently as you do not want to damage the shirt.

Your hands should be level with each other as you pull to make sure you get an even stretch. To stretch the sleeves grab the cuff and pull down gently, your other hand should be up at the top as well.

  • Step 8 - after you are done, let the shirt air dry on the towels. This will help it keep its new shape.

Do My Cotton Dress Shirts Get Looser/Bigger Over Time?


Unfortunately, yes they do. While that may be a good thing when you grow a size or two larger it is not always a good shirt characteristic. What the stretching tells you is that the cotton used in making the shirt was not that high-quality fabric.

Another reason why cotton will stretch is that the shirt or fabric was made with a loose weave. The way to avoid having your cotton shirts stretch is to only look for those shirts made from high-quality cotton.

Although the stretching may not be stopped 100% it should cut it down immensely. Also, cotton will shrink on you if not handled correctly. Even high-quality cotton will shrink and those shirts advertised as pre-shrunk may not be pre-shrunk at all.

Pre-shrunk cotton shirts may have had only the fibers shrunk not the fabric after it was woven or the shirt once it was made. Be careful when something says it was pre-shrunk.

Different Methods to Stretch a Cotton Shirt

There are different ways to stretch a cotton shirt. These methods are for different cotton shirts and may not work that well on dress shirts. You may have to do a little experiment with a trial and error influence to see which ones will or will not work for you.

  • 1. The conditioner stretch - we have already explained this method so we won’t rehash it here. It works if you have the time and the patience to use it.
  • 2. The iron stretch - this is where you wet your shirt and use your iron on low to medium heat. Press the shirt with the iron while using your other hand to pull on it. You may want to use some weight to keep the shirt in place as you work
  • 3. The shower stretch - no conditioner and no iron is used in this method. Just use your shower to wet your shirt and then put it on and wear it all night. Feel free to tug at tight spots.
  • 4. The weight stretch - this method uses simple hand weights to manipulate the shirt. Or you can put different items inside the shirt if you do not want to wear a wet garment all night.
  • 5. The chair stretch - wet the shirt and drape it over a chair. This method works okay if you are really gentle. The chair stretch has the danger of ruining the fibers and the shirt.

Some Final Words

Making a dress shirt larger is not always the best idea to have. It is going to be complicated, time-consuming and the results may be something fit for a carnival sideshow. You can try to do it but don’t be disappointed if the results do not work according to your expectations.

If you need to stretch a dress shirt, simply buy a new one and save yourself the trouble and the embarrassment.

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