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Learn all these sewing and alterations you can do yourself to make your wardrobe fit well and last longer. Don’t pay for these alterations!
Clothing is made to fit an average body that doesn’t exist. It’s the average measurements of people done by doctors from more than fifty years ago. It’s really hard to get ready to wear clothing fit you perfectly right off the rack.
It’s great to learn simple ways to sew and alter clothes to get a beautiful, custom fit. A custom fit is the best way to make your clothing look well-made and expensive.
There are lots of ways for sewing and alterations to change clothes like lengthening or shortening hems, taking in the sides or letting out the sides, adding darts or removing darts, lengthening or shortening sleeves, mending holes, etc.
There is no end to what you can do with clothing, and you can even do additionaly refashions like adding a skirt, chopping off sleeves, and adding pockets to make something you love.
A lot of these clothing alterations work well for women’s clothing since I usually alter for myself, but the majority of these work for all: men, women, and children. You can always take excess fabric in, and you can often let clothing out by using the side seams or adding fabric.
Should I prewash the item?
If you have not washed the item yet, and it doesn’t fit the way you want, then I recommend washing and drying the item the way you will treat it when you wash and wear it. You want the fabric to shirnk or settle into the way it’ll be permanently. Then any changes you make will be accurate.
Do you like reworking clothing? Check out these lists of tutorials!
- Dress refashion tutorials
- T-shirt upcycle tutorials
- Pants upcycle tutorials
- How to alter jeans
How to Hem Jeans
Learn how to hem jeans by measuring the desired length, cutting off the excess fabric, and sewing a new hem. It's a beginner sewing project!
How to Make a Shirt Bigger
Learn how to make a shirt bigger by sewing fabric panels into each side seam. This is a great fix for shirts that are just a little too tight, and it makes the circumference of the body and of the sleeves larger.
How to Shorten Sweater Sleeves
Learn how to shorten sweater sleeves that are too with just a sewing machine. Make sleeves the right length and keep the nice ribbed cuff.
How to Replace a Zipper on a Jacket
Learn how to replace a zipper on a jacket to keep using it. This is the perfect fix for unlined jackets with a broken zipper.
How to Sew on a Patch
Learn how to sew on a patch three different ways! See examples of sewing a patch onto a backpack, jeans, and a pouch.
How to Add a Pocket to Leggings
Learn how to add a pocket to leggings to hold your phone or keys. It’s annoying not having pockets, and this is a simple way to add a center back waistband pocket.
How to Crop a Sweatshirt: 3 Ways
Learn how to crop a sweatshirt that is too long. Shorten a sweater three different ways by cropping, hemming, and resewing the waistband.
How to Alter Shoulders on a Blouse
If a blouse fits in the bust or hips, but it’s too large in the shoulders use this the alteration. Learn to alter shoulders on a blouse for a custom fit.
How to Lengthen Pants
Learn how to lengthen pants by letting out the hem and rehemming with a hidden bias hem tape. This technique works well on dress pants.
How to Cinch a Waist with Elastic
Learn how to cinch a waist of a dress or a shirt with elastic. It’s the quickest and easiest way to bring in the waist and make it more flattering.
How to Take in Waist of Pants
Learn how to take in the waist of pants for a better fit. This works best when the pants fit you everywhere except for the waist.
How to Hem Jeans with the Original Hem
Learn how to hem jeans by reusing the original hem. Shorten your denim pants and keep the same look!
How to Crop Jeans
Learn how to crop jeans to the right length to get the popular raw edge look. This is an easy project and doesn’t require a sewing machine.
How to Lengthen a Dress with a Ruffle
If you have a dress that’s just a little too short then you can lengthen a dress with a ruffle! It’s an easy and quick fix, and you can use pretty fabric.
How to Fix a Zipper on Jeans
If your jean zipper has broken on your favorite pair, then learn how to fix a zipper on jeans by replacing it with a new one.
How to Shorten Sleeves
Everyone has individual measurements which means we all need alterations to make our clothes fit. Shorten the sleeves of a button up shirt for an easy sewing alteration!
How to Take in the Waist of Jeans with Elastic
Learn how to take in the waist of jeans with elastic for a quick and simple fix. This alteration is great for getting the waistband of jeans to fit!
How to Cut Pants into Shorts
Learn how to cut pants into shorts for the summer heat. This easy sewing alteration is a great way to give pants or jeans new life!
How to Shorten a Sweater
With this simple sewing tutorial you can make a sweater the right length! You can shorten the hem of a sweater, the hem of a cardigan, or you can shorten the sleeves of a sweater.
How to Add Sleeves to a Strapless Dress
Learn how to add sleeves to a strapless dress by sewing on thick straps and flutter sleeves. This is a quick alteration to make a dress more wearable!
How to Make a One Piece Into a Tankini
Learn how to make a one piece into a tankini. This refashion project is great for a one piece swimsuit that is too short or long in the torso.
How to Mend a Hole in Jeans
How to Fix a Zipper: Replace Zipper Pull and Replace Zipper Stops
Learn how to fix a zipper. Learn to replace the zipper pull on a jacket or jeans, and then replace the zipper stops to keep the pull on.
How to Refashion a T-Shirt That is Too Small
Learn how to refashion a t-shirt that is too small by removing your favorite graphic and putting it onto a larger t-shirt or shirt.
How to Raise a Neckline
Learn how to raise a neckline of a dress with this simple sewing tutorial. Be able fix a low cut neckline of a prom dress or any formal dress.
Shorten a Sweater from the Bottom with Hem Tape
Learn how to shorten a sweater from the bottom with hem tape. This sewing technique removes the ribbing, but it’s an easy sewing alteration.
How to Line a Lace Dress
Learn how to line a dress for modesty and coverage you are comfortable with. Line the bodice of a lace dress or the sleeves of a lace dress.
How to Cover a Hole in Jeans Without Mending
Learn how to cover a hole in jeans without mending or visible stitches. This is great for coverage behind holes without sacrificing the destroyed look.
How to Sew Back Darts
Learn how to sew back darts to get the best fit on your top or dress. This is a great way to fit shirts and dresses!
How to Make a Dress Longer
Make your dress that is too short fit better with one of these two great sewing tutorials. Learn how to make a dress longer with lace or with fabric.
How to Add Sleeves to a Dress
I’m demonstrating this sewing tutorial on two different dresses with two different styles of sleeves. The first is how to add sleeves to a sleeveless dress and the second is how to add sleeves to a dress with straps.
How to Add Back Darts to a Dress
Learn how to add back darts to dress for a better fit! This alteration is great to make your dresses fit better and add shaping in the back.
How to Lengthen Sleeves of a Jacket
With this simple refashion tutorial and a sweater, you can learnhow to lengthen sleeves of a jacket or coat! This is great for someone with long arms!
How to Fix a Hole in a Sweater
Instead of throwing away a sweater that has a hole in it, you can easily mend it! It’s an easy fix to give a new life to any sweater!
How to Hem Shorts with a Cuff
Learn how to hem shorts with a cuff for a casual and fun look. This sewing tutorial requires minimal sewing and can be done by hand.
How To Sew A Cuff on Dress Pants
Learn how to sew a cuff on dress pants with just a sewing machine. This is an easy way to hem nice pants without sewing by hand.
If you make something using this sewing project, I’d love to see! Please share it on social media with the hashtag#heatherhandmadeand tag me!
Trust us: it's dead simple. You just need a machine and a little practice for a perfectly fitted future. The very first rule of dressing well is making sure your clothes fit well.What is the meaning of sewing and alterations? ›
Alterations are less extensive changes to the garment that also change the way the garment fits, and are usually focused on one particular fit area. It could be as simple as taking in the waist on a pair of pants or shortening a sleeve.Can I alter a dress myself? ›
In general, you can alter a dress 1 to 2 sizes.
It's usually easier to make a dress smaller than it is to make one larger, but both can be done. If you need your dress tailored more than a few sizes, it's probably best to bring it to a professional.
Sewing isn't hard, but it's not easy either. It takes serious effort and commitment to spend time and money to learn this life-long skill. Some days are easier than others. When you get down, remember patience, practice, and the process will help you reach your sewing goals.Is it legal to alter clothes and sell them? ›
The short answer is yes, as long as the dimensions remain consistent with the tagged size. Customer expectations are the main challenge when it comes to reselling altered clothing. People confidently buy [Brand X] because they know the size [X] fits them just right.How many months does it take to learn tailoring? ›
Learning tailoring is a process that takes time, patience, and consistent practice. While it is difficult to give an exact timeline, it generally takes several months to a year or more to become proficient in basic tailoring skills.Are alterations worth it? ›
A perfectly tailored clothing item can save you time and money. Rather than going back to the store, returning the item and re-purchasing it in a smaller or larger size, you can have it tailored during one appointment. The opportunity cost of tailoring is essential when deciding what to have tailored.What do you call a person who sew? ›
/ˈsimstrɪs/ IPA guide. Other forms: seamstresses. A seamstress is a person whose job involves sewing clothing. You could be a seamstress if you hem your own pants, but most seamstresses work in factories sewing garments using sewing machines.Is alteration the same as tailoring? ›
Typically, tailoring is a term used to refer to major alterations performed on a garment, where a garment needs to be significantly reconfigured to fit an individual properly. A tailor is usually employed to handle complex alteration projects for suits or wedding dresses.How long does it take to alter a dress? ›
Depending on how busy your local seamstress or tailor is, alterations could take between two to four weeks to complete. On average, alterations typically take 1 to 2 weeks to complete across the industry.
-Typically, a gown can be altered about 2-4 sizes down without losing the integrity of the dress (size 14 to a size 10.) -If the gown is unaltered, it will usually have about an inch of wiggle room on each side seam to be let out. -Bridal sizing is all about measurements and not the size stamped on the tag.Is it easy to sew your own dress? ›
A dress makes for a wonderful beginner sewing project if you choose a simple style and easy-to-work-with material like a knit fabric. If you're excited about crafting your very own dress, you've come to the right place.Is sewing a skill or talent? ›
Sewing is a hobby to some and a skill for mending and re-purposing one's family's clothing to others, as well as a thriving industrialized business. This skill is used by those in the clothing and upholstery industries, and is used in the manufacture of many different types of cloth (sails, tarps, shoes, etc.).What is the first thing a beginner should sew? ›
One of the first things most sewers will learn to make is something simple like a cushion cover. This is a great project to try, because it allows you to practice basic sewing skills and whip up your first pattern very quickly.What is the first thing to learn in tailoring? ›
1. Know Your Tools and Materials. You can't really accomplish much without knowing your tools and materials, and this includes your machine and fabric. Learning about fabric is a lifelong part of learning how to sew, but you have to start somewhere.Is altering clothes expensive? ›
While the exact price depends on the shop, item and alteration, many tailoring expenses can range from $10 to $75. Even if the clothing item that needs tailoring is more costly, having it tailored is worth it. A perfectly tailored clothing item can save you time and money.Is it worth learning to make your own clothes? ›
If you look at the numbers, you can save money by sewing your own clothes—but often only if you are thrifty with fabric and don't count your time and labor.Is it a good idea to make your own clothes? ›
Sewing your own clothes saves you money
First, it's a great way to get rid of old or out-of-fashion clothing that is still in good condition but doesn't fit well anymore. Instead of giving these items away for free and buying new ones, simply transform them into something useful again!
Chiffon, organza and some jersey fabrics can also be a bit challenging to alter, while cotton and linen are some of the easiest fabrics to tackle. “Non-stretch woven fabrics are the easiest for tailors because of their stability. Stretch fabrics are typically harder to handle when making adjustments,” said Adrienne M.