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How do I shorten a RTW Sweater???

CCDIANE | Posted in General Discussion on

I FINALLY found some sweaters that I like but they are all a little too long.. Has anyone found a way to shorten knit sweaters???




  1. User avater
    Becky-book | | #1

    Oh boy!!

    Before I can even begin to attempt an answer you must answer some questions about your sweaters.

    Are there side seams, or is the back knit in one piece with the front?

    Are you dealing with a pullover or a cardigan (with buttons)?

    Is there a band of ribbing at the hem or is the hem folded and stitched?

    Do you know how to knit? 'cause you might have to re-knit the ribbing at the bottom after you shorten it!


    1. CCDIANE | | #3

      Hi !

      ok.. no side seams but the bottom inch or so is more tightly knit/ band .  It's a pull over.   No I don't know how to knit.  Help ...


      1. User avater
        Becky-book | | #4

        Find someone who knits and ask them if they can shorten it (rip out the bottom and re-knit the band)

        Or learn how to knit and do-it-yourself!!

        Or just wear it with the extra folded up on the inside?

        Or serge off the extra and then fold up a hem and topstitch - this will change the look of the sweater. and it may not work if the yarn is too bulky.

        Sorry I can't be more help,


      2. Ralphetta | | #5

        One of my favorite things about my serger is the ability to rework RTW knits/sweaters.  I've worked on cheap sweaters to make them fit better, but it's not perfect. One possibility is to remove the excess length between the body and the bottom band by just serging.  You don't remove the band, you remove the extra fabric from above it.  It will make it shorter BUT you will be left with a horizontal seam that will add some bulk.  I've shortened sleeves this way.

      3. Teaf5 | | #6

        My technique can work on sweaters with no side seams, too. Just imagine a tube with some shaping at the armholes and neckline. Take the sleeves and neckband, if there is one, off. Trace the neck/shoulder/arm area, then slide that pattern down the "tube" and recut it. Reattach the sleeves and the neckband. You've preserved the original bottom ribbing, but the whole sweater will be shorter.

  2. Teaf5 | | #2

    As a tall person, I'm grateful that manufacturers are making sweaters long again, but I can understand how a petite would be having problems finding a good fit right now.

    Sometimes you can shorten a sweater and preserve the ribbing at the bottom by recutting the neck and shoulder area and reattaching the sleeves to the new, lower armholes.  If the sweater is sewn together in sections, you can separate those sections very easily and use them as "fabric" for a pattern that fits better; however, that's basically rebuilding the garment, so it might be easier to wait for styles to go shorter again.

    When remaking a sweater knit, mark the new seam lines with chalk and then zigzag along them before cutting; that way, it won't ravel or run before you resew the seams.

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