The Sewing Place

Random thoughts on alterations

b15erk

Random thoughts on alterations
« on: July 05, 2019, 10:23:09 AM »
Not sure why I'm writing this, but here goes. 

Alterations have been going through my mind lately.  Not just on RTW, but on projects I've made and haven't fitted properly.  Would it be useful to start an Alterations thread? 

I asked advice about altering a pair of cut-off trousers which I particularly liked, but are miles too big.  Well, the reply wasn't promising, so I left it.

Then, I bought a 'bargain'.  A nice pair of lightweight stretch denim jeans (yes, moi  :o), with a lovely slim leg.  They fit beautifully - except at the waist, where they were huge.  They were 5 euros in Tenerife, so I bought them.

When I got home, I had a go at the alteration - through the back waist and waistband, and they look great.  I also put a couple of short darts in the back.  They are still a little big, but I wasn't confident enough to start hacking the front, about! 

Then, while looking to thin out the wardrobe I came across a blouse which perfectly matches the cut-off trousers - apart from the 90's wide shoulders.  This is a Dorothy Perkins and 100% viscose fabric.  So, I have taken the sleeves out, and intend to trim the shoulder by and inch and just o/lock and turn the hem.

This means I am also tackling the cut-off trousers.  :S 

They don't actually look too difficult.  I've made a start by unpicking the back waistband, and pinching out an inch.  It makes a difference, but not enough, so, I'll be attempting to take in another inch from each side seam.  There are pockets here, so I'll need to be careful.

Sorry for the ramble, but I felt the need to write my thoughts down - and my intentions, so that I don't forget what is possible!

Jessie
Jessie, who is very happy to be here!!  :),  but who has far too many sewing machines to be healthy, and a fabric stash which is becoming embarrassing.

Acorn

Re: Random thoughts on alterations
« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2019, 10:50:53 AM »
I seem to spend large amounts of time taking things in.  I suppose the real solution is to make the right size in the first place, but I don't seem to be able to get out of the habit of assuming a few extra inches are good... until I try whatever it is on.

Sometimes this is easy - I've just taken in the waist of a Tessuti Milenda dress by about 4 inches with my overlocker - took me about 5 minutes including marking the line - but it would be better to have had it fit from the start, and I daresay the shoulders could do with having been a smaller size.

Trousers, though - I can never manage to alter them, and they always come out too large to start with (are you seeing a theme here?)  I cn take in the waist, but the tops of the legs are usually too big as well, and going all the way down the outside seam rarely works.  They really need to be much closer to the right size to start with.
I might look as though I'm talking to you, but inside my head I'm sewing.

b15erk

Re: Random thoughts on alterations
« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2019, 11:03:10 AM »
@Acorn I absolutely understand where you are coming from!

Writing things up on this forum has helped me to get a reasonable fit, but I still err on the side of caution - and add an extra bit!

Then I wonder why the garment looks like a bin bag on me!

I'm determined to have a bash at getting a few well fitting garments.  I just have to convince myself to trust the tape measure and not my instincts!

Jessie
Jessie, who is very happy to be here!!  :),  but who has far too many sewing machines to be healthy, and a fabric stash which is becoming embarrassing.

annieeg

Re: Random thoughts on alterations
« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2019, 11:24:44 AM »
I think some of us are already familiar with this measuring tape:
https://www.myfabrics.co.uk/142-53106-000_easy-check-measuring-tape-150cm.html?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIgezHqsed4wIVS7ftCh1FfwT8EAQYAyABEgLMpfD_BwE

This is a very efficient way of getting reliable measurements by self-measuring - ie.., when there's no one available to measure you.

Elnnina

Re: Random thoughts on alterations
« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2019, 12:12:28 PM »
I bought one of those tape measure after reading about this from a post by Marniesews.  I bought mine from the place Marniesews recommended and it arrived very quickly (a UK place).  Go looking for a thread called Tape Measure around March time 2017.

Incidentally the tape is yellow coloured and has both metric and imperial measurements on one side only, tape is the usual length of 60", and is German made.

b15erk

Re: Random thoughts on alterations
« Reply #5 on: July 05, 2019, 12:14:00 PM »
@annieeg it's not the measuring tape which is at fault, it's just my need to be more generous with the sizes.

I work on the principle that it's easier to make something smaller than to make something bigger - but, as I have found to my cost, this isn't always the case.

I just need to get my brain to believe the size which is written on the tape measure!

Jessie
Jessie, who is very happy to be here!!  :),  but who has far too many sewing machines to be healthy, and a fabric stash which is becoming embarrassing.

Ellabella

Re: Random thoughts on alterations
« Reply #6 on: July 05, 2019, 12:19:33 PM »
I also have the ‘make it a little bit bigger just in case’ mentality.

I really need to trust my tape measure more :S

I do like the look of one of those tape measures though. The only problem is the postage costs, do I bite the bullet, pay the postage and not add to the stash or spend more money and get some nice fabric.

Oh it’s such a hard decision  :D
Stash reductions 2019 31m
Stash additions 2019 55m

BrendaP

Re: Random thoughts on alterations
« Reply #7 on: July 05, 2019, 15:32:39 PM »
The only problem is the postage costs, do I bite the bullet, pay the postage and not add to the stash or spend more money and get some nice fabric.

Oh it’s such a hard decision  :D

It's not hard!  You just find something else to drop into the cart and get the free postage 0_0
Brenda.  My machines are: Caroline a Singer 201K-3 born 1940, Thirza a Featherweight 221K born 1949, Azilia a Singer 201K born 1957 and Vera, a Husqvarna 350 SewEasy about 20 years old. Also Bernina 1150 overlocker and Elna 444 Coverstitcher.
http://paternoster.orpheusweb.co.uk/

BrendaP

Re: Random thoughts on alterations
« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2019, 15:38:37 PM »
The last altration I did, just a couple of days ago was to a princess line dress which had become way too big.  No, sadly I haven't got any smaller, it was the fabric stretching out; cotton sateen with a bit of lycra and after a few washes it was too big all round and too long on the shoulder.

So, I bit the bullet and cut the sleeves off, trimmed an inch from each armscye and from each side of the bodice pieces, sewed the sleeves back on and tapered fromwaiste out to full width at the hips so no messing about with the hemline.  It looks much better now. 0_0
Brenda.  My machines are: Caroline a Singer 201K-3 born 1940, Thirza a Featherweight 221K born 1949, Azilia a Singer 201K born 1957 and Vera, a Husqvarna 350 SewEasy about 20 years old. Also Bernina 1150 overlocker and Elna 444 Coverstitcher.
http://paternoster.orpheusweb.co.uk/

Ohsewsimple

Re: Random thoughts on alterations
« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2019, 16:20:33 PM »
Tape measure also available at
https://www.venacavadesign.co.uk/product.php/969/0/easy_check_tape_measure
https://rebeccashaberdashery.co.uk/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=98

I always suggest measuring in centimetres instead of inches.  We seem to understand inches but centimetres seem to be a mystery to many in relation to our shape and size.  I think people measure more accurately and are less inclined to 'cheat'.  :)
If you are making a size bigger 'just in case' then you could have problems with necklines, shoulders and armscye seam.  If the armscye seam is resting over your arm it will make movement more difficult.  Your brain then says....it’s too small I need more width!   But in fact the opposite is true.
And I’m sure you all know this. 
Use your measurements.  Write them down, keep them updated. Check the finished measurements on the pattern.  Measure some clothes you like the width of.  Clothes you feel comfy in.  They will be the ones you keep wearing.  Be aware that different fabrics behave differently and need different amounts of ease to feel comfy.  And different styles need different amounts of ease to look right. 

Kwaaked

Re: Random thoughts on alterations
« Reply #10 on: July 06, 2019, 03:52:06 AM »
If you do it for other people, cms also make it easier to take...no one understands the measurements all that well.  I usually use it, but it's more accurate for me personally.

b15erk

Re: Random thoughts on alterations
« Reply #11 on: July 08, 2019, 10:10:10 AM »
Well, I did both alterations, and very pleased I am too!

First up the trousers.  Principles, linen, with legs that roll up to a nice cuff, the colour has a two way sheen - not sure what you would call it.  Started with the back waist, and I was able to take out an inch either side of CB, tapering down the back seam.  They still felt a bit big though, so, dreaded moment, I took off the two side belt loops, and took them in by an inch on each seam.  I now have a pieced facing, but I'm able to wear the trousers.

The top was slightly less of a challenge.  Bought either 80's or 90's not sure, but the greeny colour perfectly matches the trousers.  Firstly, I tried it on - I'd already taken the shoulder pads out.  The sleeves overhung my shoulder by over an inch and the shoulder seam was perfectly straight, so looked saggy.

I took the sleeves out, and tried on again.  The shoulder needed to slope down to the armhole, straight away the blouse hung better, and I was able to see how much the shoulder needed to be narrowed.  I took about an inch and a half, tapering down to the underarm.

Overlocked and turned up to finish as that is how the rest of the blouse is done. 

Both items are now able to be worn.  In fact I did so yesterday and DD complimented me on my outfit!

Jessie
Jessie, who is very happy to be here!!  :),  but who has far too many sewing machines to be healthy, and a fabric stash which is becoming embarrassing.

Ohsewsimple

Re: Random thoughts on alterations
« Reply #12 on: July 08, 2019, 10:53:15 AM »
Nice job @b15erk.   Looks great and you’re right the top goes so well with the trousers.

Catllar

Re: Random thoughts on alterations
« Reply #13 on: July 09, 2019, 23:05:05 PM »
I seem to do a fair bit of altering. >:)

 I just finished a Style Arc dress, slip over the head type in a lovely soft batik weave. Looks very nice on Pattern Review and on the SA site, but it looked like a sack on me. So I split it down the back and removed 10 cms then I put in an invisible zipper. Much better now and Mr C said I don't look pregnant any more 0_0
If life gives you lemons, add to gin and tonic !