How To: Altering My SHEIN Clothes to Fit

Let’s be very serious, finding store-bought clothes that fit perfectly is a struggle. Even if you can find some clothes that fit well in one store (lucky you) then you won’t find that it fits you in another store. All the sizes are different from one store to the next. I know they do this to fit more people, but it is still annoying to deal with. It’s even harder when shopping online.

So, during the pandemic when we were to shelter in place, I did what any responsible woman would do and went online shopping. I found some super cute outfits on SHEIN and I impatiently awaited for them to arrive.

They came waaaay later than expected but that’s a story for another day. I was so excited to finally get the clothes that I tore into the bags and started trying them on. Only to look in the mirror with disappointment. None of the clothes fit the way I wanted them to. So I was pretty sure I would be returning them. But I was in love with the prints, so I decided I would just alter them instead of returning them.

Tropical Print Front View

Tropical Print Back View

Sunflower Print Outfit before and after of shorts


Since I was stuck at home with nothing to do but binge watch tv shows, I decided I would alter the clothes to fit me the way I wanted them to. So in this post, I will show you how I altered my shorts from SHEIN to make them fit better.

This was my first time altering shorts with a waistband. If you have any tips let me know.

Remove Elastic Waistband

The first thing I did was to remove the waistband and elastic. The elastic was held in place by two stitches on the sides, so the band flipped all the time. Another reason for the weird fit.

Stitch holding elastic in waistband

Adjusting the Back Seam

Since we are going to be taking out the elastic, you will have to use another closure in order to get the shorts on. Since I am putting in a zipper, I need to make room for it in the back seam.

After taking off the elastic band, I folded the shorts along the back seam and marked an inch in and down about 8 inches then blended the marks into the back seam.

I then sewed a basting stitch along the marked line and removed the original stitches on the back seam.

*All the seams were first sewn with a basting stitch until I got the fit I liked.

Marking the Side Seams

Put the shorts on and start pinching the fabric in at the side seams and pinning close to your body. Not too tight or too loose. Once you have the pins in position, mark the side seams, and sew them with a basting stitch.

Clipped and pinned both sides of shorts
Mark along the pins

I just eyeballed both sides, but it would be better to measure both sides of the shorts and make sure they are even on both sides.

New side seam
Baste along new side seam

Checking the Fit

Remove the basting stitches on the back seam and try on your shorts

Check the fit of the shorts. Make sure the side seams are straight. Hold the back seam in place and make sure you are happy with the fit.

If you need to make any adjustments, make sure to do them at this point before moving on to the next step.

Sewing the Side Seams

Once you have gotten the fit correct, sew the side seams with a regular stitch length and finish the raw edges along the new side seams. I used my serger but if you don’t own a serger you can go over the edge with a zigzag stitch after you have sewn the seam.

Serged raw ends

Attaching the Waistband

Now that the side seams are permanently sewn and the fit is correct, its time to add the waistband back on. I wanted to add more structure to the shorts so I added interfacing to the waistband.

After adding the interfacing, I folded the waistband in half lengthwise and pinned it to the top of the shorts on the right side.

I didn’t get a picture of it on the tropical print shorts, so I am showing the sunflower shorts here.

After pinning on the waistband I sewed the waistband back onto the shorts.

At this point, you can decide whether you like the width of the band or want to adjust it. I didn’t like how wide the waistband was so I shortened it by a 1/2 inch. You can see in the picture below the difference in the waistband widths.

*Remember to sew with basting stitches until you are happy with the fit and look.

Once you are happy with the waistband, stitch it with regular stitches and then finish the raw edges of the seam. I used my serger to finish the raw edges.

Cut off the extra fabric along the edge of the back seam.

Adding the Zipper

Before we can add the zipper, we need to add interfacing to the area where it will be inserted. This will reinforce and strengthen the area so the zipper doesn’t stress the fabric. I cut 2 strips 1 inch wide and 8 inches long and ironed them onto both sides of the back seam.

My zipper was too long so I shortened it to 7 inches. My zippers were all 9 inches but it was a simple fix.

Leave a mark at 7 inches and whipstitch over the zipper teeth several times. This creates a new stopper for the zipper.

I will be showing how I inserted the zipper on my sunflower print shorts. I noticed I did not get any pictures of how I inserted the zipper on the tropical print shorts. I wanted to have an exposed zipper so I sewed mine in a little differently than you would normally sew a zipper.

After you have ironed on your fusible interfacing sew a basting stitch down both sides of the back seam, which should already be marked.

Then I clipped at a diagonal into the 1-inch seam allowance where the end of the zipper will stop. I clipped mine 6 inches down. This will allow you to fold back the fabric in order to insert the zipper.

Iron open along the seam line. Your zipper opening should look like this below.

I then laid my zipper in the seam opening and pinned in to the shorts and then hand basted it. You could alternatively use glue. I think that will be what I do next time.

Using a zipper foot, I sewed along the seam edge to attach the zipper into the shorts.

Zipper from the inside

Finishing Touches

After I inserted the zipper I tacked down the top edges of the zipper tape. I also like to tack down the zipper seam allowance to the waist seam allowance.

This is all optional of course. So don’t feel like you need to do this step.

Put on Your New Better Fitting Shorts

Now that you are finished, put on your shorts and admire your work!!

I’m so in love with how they look now!

On the sunflower print shorts, I decided to flip the waistband inside instead of leaving it exposed.

To keep the waistband from moving stitch the waistband to the front, side and back seams

What do you think? Will you be altering any of your shorts? Let me know in the comments below.

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