Advanced search

Do you adjust your clothes? Got any tips?

(13 Posts)
FancySpaceGloves Fri 28-Mar-14 09:03:59

If you do, have you got any tips for a beginner?

Most clothes have necklines that are too high and waists that are too baggy for me. I've seen some lovely 1950's dresses but I'd need to change their high neckline to a low one (scoop, slash, cowl, boat, etc) due to my 32FF norks and short waist.

I am pretty good at sewing things like curtains, cushions etc. I haven't tried anything beyond changing a hemline on clothes though.

So, got any advice?

waitingforsummer10 Fri 28-Mar-14 09:06:42

Usually I take mine to get it done professionally, but I want to start altering my own now, so am watching with interest!

From what I can see online, the main way to make clothes more fitted is to add darts, or take in seams, there are quite a few videos on Youtube which take you through this, I will try and find some to post later smile

Eliza22 Fri 28-Mar-14 09:33:37

I take mine to a dry cleaners who do alterations. I've had hemlines lopped on dresses and even a few coats which made them more wearable. I'm 5 ft 6 so, not petite but just feel better in stuff slightly above my knees.

I'm lucky....she's very reasonable cost wise, the lady who "does" and I couldn't attempt to do myself.

Ujjayi Fri 28-Mar-14 09:34:50

Fitting clothes to your shape can be relatively simple. Things you need to be aware of are:

- high street garments are very skimpy on seam allowances (sometimes zero as they are overlocked together). This affects moving/adding/increasing darts because there may simply not be enough fabric to allow for a dart increase.

- necklines will have facings that will need to be adjusted as well as the main fabric. You would need to buy a suitable weight interfacing and more fabric that matched the main fabric.

- alterations where lining or boning is involved is a lot trickier.

- fabric composition: cotton is very straightforward to sew. Synthetics and silks can be a nightmare.

Take a look on You Tube and Pinterest for tutorials. Laura After Midnight is a great blog with lots of sewing tips and information.

MagnaCharge Fri 28-Mar-14 09:39:23

I honestly think that starting from scratch with a couple of yards fabric and a pattern is much easier than adjusting ready to wear clothes.
Disclaimer : I made my first skirt when I was five.

Ujjayi Fri 28-Mar-14 09:42:23

Magna - I agree. I am a womenswear designer and I absolutely hate adjusting clothes I've bought from elsewhere (and alterations generally!). If it doesn't fit properly then it stays on the rail - no matter how much I love it.

Get someone else to measure you when you are wearing the item (they covered this in the velvet trouser challenge in GBSB) - I've lost count of the pairs of high street trews I've taken up too much because I couldn't measure them properly on myself.

FancySpaceGloves Fri 28-Mar-14 10:12:14

Thanks everyone.

Ujjayi, I had a look at Laura After Midnight. I nearly had a heart attack! If you do that stuff, I am seriously impressed. YouTube threw up a few tutorials at my numpty level grin.

A full pattern from scratch is too scary for me. No way I'd get it to fit me properly.

Good point about skimpy seams on high street items. I will be making them smaller not larger so it should be OK.

My shoulders and boobs are wide but I've got a narrow back and waist. It'll be mostly making deeper darts at the waist (is that the right terminology?).

It's the necklines that worry me. I've some completely worn out tops with great necklines (for me) that I've hung onto over the years. I was going to take one apart to use as a pattern for the adjusted neckline on the new item. Does that seem sensible?

Maybe I should buy something cheap from Primark or a charity shop and treat it as a learning piece before moving onto something I actually care about.

Annianni Fri 28-Mar-14 11:54:56

I've altered clothes myself by putting the item on inside out, then pinning.

Usually taking in the legs on jeans or trousers, waists on skirts etc.

I can sew though.

I would say to practice on something old first and triple check before cutting any fabric off.

bawabod Fri 28-Mar-14 12:27:32

wow Ujjayi what an exciting way to make a living.

LadyMud Fri 28-Mar-14 12:38:06

Yes, it's a really good idea, Fancy!

From small things like replacing buttons, through to completely dismantling a garment to use the fabric for a different item . . . I just can't resist altering things.

I even know how to make trousers longer in the waist and shorter in the legs!

My best tip is to turn the garment inside out and look carefully at the construction. Some seams will be easier to alter than others.

In many ways, it is better to start from scratch - but you run the risk of the finished garment not fitting well. So your idea of using a worn-out favourite as a pattern will guarantee a good fit.

Have fun!

dotty2 Fri 28-Mar-14 12:51:21

The partner of someone I know has just started running a sewing teaching business from home - and this is the kind of thing she covers. Bring a project, sewing machine provided, she'll work it through with you. It might be worth looking to see if there is anyone locally offering something similar?

Ujjayi Fri 28-Mar-14 16:54:28

OP: I take your point re seam allowance but if you are increasing the size of a dart (say from waist to bust) you may need a good seam allowance because a deeper dart may take up more fabric than was originally in the bodice. If that happens, your side seams will shift and come towards the front of the garment instead of sitting nicely along the midline of the side of the body.

Regarding taking existing items apart to use as a template - that's a good idea but be aware that different fabrics behave in different ways and check the grain line on the fabric - i.e. straight vs bias cut - and replicate that in your new item. Finally, don't try it with fabrics with a good deal of stretch (jersey and also silks or lighter weight fabrics which can bend out of shape due to washing & wearing - this won't necessarily be apparent when it the garment is still intact but once you take it apart you may notice fluting and stretching around the edges, making it hard to find a straight line to trace).

bawabod - I'm just starting out, having graduated last summer. I've started my own business, working from home and I am loving it. Whenever things go wrong I remind myself I could be stuck churning out polyester tat for the high street instead!

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now