Thursday, July 3, 2014

Altering Clothes: Polo and Jersey Fabric Tops

I've been working on bettering my sewing skills for the past year or so (intermittently). I have found it really helpful and wanted to share some very basic tutorials on alterations. The first tutorial is how to alter a garment made of jersey or stretchy type material. Jersey material is very easy to alter and wear especially if you want to continue the seam into the arms. With less stretchy material, if you alter the arm holes without taking the garment apart then you restrict movement. 

My husband was nice enough to play model for me since I had honed my skills altering all of my clothes. I use this technique for tops or dresses that need to be taken in a size. 
Here is the before. It's about 3-4 inches too big. 


My first step is to turn the garment inside out and pin it. I don't take a lot of care while pinning it. I just try to get a general idea of how much material I need take off. After it is pinned, take off the garment. If you are doing this yourself, find a similar item in your closet that fits well and pin your item based on that. 

Once you have it pinned, I measure both sides to ensure that I am taking in the same amount on both sides. I also make sure both sides of the garment are lined up exactly. You can even fold over the shirt so both pinned sides line up and you can make sure you are taking in the same amount of material on both sides. Then using matching color thread so sew the sides where you pinned on the inside of the shirt.

Try it on and make sure everything fits well and you can move around in it. If it doesn't then rip out the stitches and try again! If it does, good work you saved yourself some time! I am always really careful about measuring because I hate going back and having to do it over. 

As you can see in this picture, the new seam has been sewn. I then cut off the extra material leaving about 1/4" left. 

Use a zigzag stitch to hem right along the edge of the material you just cut. I use the zigzag stitch because I do not have a serger and this helps to finish the edges so they don't fray. 

Trim the excess thread on everything and you are done! I also typically backstitch right at the end of each seam I do to ensure the seam doesn't come undone. I am hoping to work on hand sewn hemming and altering a button up, too! 
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19 comments:

  1. Okay okay, so I need to stop sending my clothes out, is that what your saying, lol!?

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  2. this turned out well and looks easier than i thought!

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  3. I put a sewing machine on our wedding registry, and I've decided that I'll get one for myself I don't get it haha. I really would like the opportunity to fix/alter our clothes when I can.

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  4. I have a few pieces that need alteration and I am SO lazy about it. Someday, they will get done. I swear.

    Chic on the Cheap

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  5. I'm just saying that sending them halfway around the world might not be possible! ;) Honestly if your grandma would just adopt me I wouldn't need to learn all this!

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  6. Lol, and if I would just have the patience to learn ie:make mistakes and be okay with it, then I would be all set!

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  7. It's worth it! I asked for one for Christmas a few years ago and I love it! And it really isn't too hard to learn!

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  8. I go in spurts. Sometimes I will go months without doing anything and other times I get 5 items altered in a day!

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  9. Love this post. I keep taking mine to an alterations guy down the street (which in LA is 45 minutes ughhhh) and he is great but $27 a top is a bit overkill. Definitely going to be trying this technique!


    xx Cara
    www.carascliche.com

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  10. I am studying your technique seriously now, since I have been struggling with altering stretching materials for a long time.

    I newly discovered a website full of trending clothes with super friendly prices. In case you want to check it out; http://www.sheinside.com

    Have a lovely day!
    From Jing at www.bejingxu.com

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  11. Here came my question after study: Did you sew back the zipper?!!!! That's quite a "surgery" to me.
    From Jing at www.bejingxu.com

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  12. Hi Laura! It's really cool to see a fellow sewer like yourself. Usually, I make clothes from patterns or I just got a dress form to use to make my own patterns. I haven't really down alterations other than hemming but it was really interesting to see what you did! I have about three pairs of pants, including a fabulous pair I got at the salvation arm-size 7:), that I need to learn how to take in. So seeing your tutorial really helped me! Question though, the seam you made can be seen from the outside of the shirt and not hidden on the inside?
    xo Olivia

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  13. Though your tutorial sounds easy I don't think I could do it. Thankfully alterations cost a decent amount of money in Albania, not an arm and a leg. LOL


    And what a sport of your husband to collaborate and pose for you. =)

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  14. It's hidden on the inside. I turned the shirt inside out for pinning and resewing the seam. I noticed I didn't actually say that in the post though so I updated it to reflect that. Thank you! :)

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  15. Wow!! You did a fab job! I have been looking to buy a simple and easy to use sewing machine, what would you suggest. Primarily for altering and taking in clothes and hemming. Love the final look of the jersey shirt here..

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  16. Singer is a fabulous brand! My Mom still owns her old old singer and it works like it was bought yesterday. However, I got a fab deal on a Brother one over the weekend and ordered it, lets see how it goes for me.. :)

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  17. Glad you got a great deal on one! I hope you have lots of fun with it when you get it!

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  18. I have a sewing machine that I got in high school, but I haven't used it in AGES. I really, really need to take it out again and get started! I used to sew costumes for our school's plays and musicals, so I've made all kinds of things...perhaps it's time to make some things for myself! :) Thanks for the reminder ;)

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