Altering a Vintage Dress

The past 5 days have been busy...and amazing. I love when out-of-town guests come to visit and in the span of 5 days we have had 3 sets come through. Some as overnight guests and some just for lunch. No matter the time span, it's refreshing to my soul to connect with good friends ~ especially those we don't see often.

There isn't alot to post about today but I did want to share just a tid bit of craftiness with you. Altering clothes. Do you alter your own clothes? Hemlines, waistlines, necklines? I am an avid thrift store shopper and as you may know if you too shop at thrift stores, clothes typically just don't come off the rack in our size.

I love this dress. When I bought it a couple of years ago it was too big and had big bulky pockets at the hips (lovely.) I wore it like that until recently and finally took the time (about 15 minutes) to alter it and make it fit my body shape more appropriately.

How to alter your own clothes:

Here's what I typically do: (I am not a trained seamstress. Do not do this to a dress you spent $200 on at Nordstrom. This technique works but experiment on some things you are willing to practice on.)

1. Put the item of clothing (shirt, pants, dress, skirt) on inside out. Button it, zip it...whatever you need to do like you would walk out of the house with it on inside out.

2. Have your hubby or friend (don't get your 5 year old help with this...that could be painful) help you. With straight pins follow the natural contour of your body to pin (vertically down your body, not horizontally) the outline of your shape. As in the case of this dress, there was about 2" of excess fabric on each side plus those pesky pockets that I did away with all together.

3. Once you have 'taken in' the piece to an appropriate size (don't go too snug, leave a little wiggle room), take off the garment and lay it flat on the floor (inside out still). As with this dress that had buttons up the front, I re-buttoned it before laying it flat.

4. With a pencil or white sewing pencil, measure 3/4 inch away from the pins (towards the outside of the garment) and make your mark lines there. You don't want to cut right where the pins are. If you do that, your clothes will not fit when you sew them. You must leave a seam allowance + a little more.

5. Draw the outline of the shape you are after with the 3/4 inch allowance. Once you have that outline drawn, cut along the line, leaving the pins in place for the time being.

6. With a 1/2 inch allowance, use a long stitch (the longest your sewing machine allows) to sew along the pencil line. Once both sides are done, try it on. If it is too tight, take out your stitch (this is why you use a long stitch so it comes out easier) and try again. If you like the way it fits (it lay nicer once you get a finished stitch on there and iron the seam flat...don't worry) the head back to the sewing machine and use a shorter stitch, follow that same line and sew.

7. Once finished, press the seam flat and turn right side out. Voila!

*This technique works well on tee shirts and skirts too.