How to alter clothes is a must-know for every sewer. It is an essential skill that would definitely save you a trip back to the mall to swap the dress you just bought. I can’t count how many times I’ve walked out of a store, disappointed because they don’t have my size. Or, they do have my size but the fit of the dress or pants is off at some places; hips, sleeves, or chest area. My daughter encountered the same problem countless times, but a mother who knows how to sew, those problems were easily solved! Knowing how to alter clothes was the first thing I really pursued while learning how to sew. Read on to learn how!
Know How to Alter Clothes Perfectly to Your Size
Altering necklines or collars can be quite tricky because of the different fabric and stitch used, but practice makes perfect! And nobody wants an unintended loose neckline! Common tricks to alter a big neckline are: use gathering technique, binding, or correcting the garment from the shoulder.
Loose armholes can make or break a dress and it could also accidentally chafe your arms. It could also create undesirable creases across the chest. Perfect armholes will give you the confidence to let loose and enjoy! So how to do it? There are 3 common ways to fix loose armholes:
- First, add a dart from the bust apex of the dress by pinching the fold on the wrong side of the fabric, then sew the fold.
- Second, add a band or binding by easing an extra fabric into the armhole
- Third, add decorative lingerie elastic and sew it around the armhole.
3. Long Sleeves
Although loose sleeves seem to be in right now with the recent cold season, it could also be quite inconvenient. A great long sleeved dress I didn’t buy comes to mind because it’s too long and loose for me. Avoid that situation by learning how to alter your own! The most common trick to alter loose sleeves is to stitch in one continuous line from the armhole up to the opening of the sleeves.
4. Pant Waist
Having to constantly pull up your pants can be really annoying and embarrassing. Save yourself from the inconvenience and embarrassment by learning how to alter your too-big pants and jeans! To alter the waistline, all you need is to alter from the center back of the pants. You need to remove the belt loop first, then measure how much fabric you need to take out. Use pins to mark the point you want to be altered, then sew from there.
5. Pant Legs
Some people prefer their pants to be baggy, some of us don’t. I definitely belong to the latter group. For a more formal and sophisticated look, perfectly snug pant legs will get you far. The number one hack to alter a baggy pair of pants is to get perfect fit jeans and use it as a guide. Lay the fitting pants on top of the baggy jeans, then trace.
Tip: Make sure you line up the crotches of the jeans outside its leg seams before tracing them.
Want to know how to slim down a shirt? Check out this video by Will Doughty:
Learning how to alter your own clothes will give a large advantage to your daily life! It certainly widens your choices, doesn’t it? Now you can buy slightly large, but unique dress you like and alter it to your liking.
Did this article help you? Which one do you think you’ll be using soon? Let us know in the comments section below!
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on February 25, 2017, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.