How to alter clothing to adjust for weight loss or gain

Before altering any garment, examine it carefully. If its seam allowances have been clipped or its darts slit, you will be limited in how much you can let the garment out, if at all. For neat results, always iron the creases after you open any seams or darts and again after restitching them. Adjusting waistlines A dress or skirt waist or women’s pants should fit snug at your natural waistline. If a waist is too large, open the waist seam or the waistband at the sides. Take in both side seams the required amount (equalized between the two). Remove the old stitching and press the new seams open.

On a dress, after side seams are restitched, reattach the waistline seam along the original stitch line. On a skirt or pants, after the waistband sides are taken in, reattach the trimmed, pressed band as before.

A too-tight waist can be let out about 2 inches, depending on the original seam allowance. Open the side seams and apportion one-half the total ease needed to each seam. A little extra ease can be added to a skirt waistband by simply moving the button or hook and eye. Adjusting for a large abdomen Open the front waist seam and the side seams. Let out the side seam fronts up to 3/s inch. Lower the fabric in the front at the waistline as much as 3/8 inch, tapering the new seam to the original stitching at the sides.

Adjusting for a swayback – Open the back waist seam. Raise the waistline by taking a deeper seam at the center back. Taper the new stitching to the original stitching.

Darts should point to the fullest part of the body area being fitted and end about 1/2 inch from the most rounded part. To realign waist darts, open the darts and pin fit them on the right side of the garment. On the wrong side, mark new stitching lines with tailor’s chalk. Baste the new darts and try on the garment before final stitching. Press newly stitched darts toward the center of the garment. This same technique can be used on bustline, shoulder, and elbow darts. Hipline adjustments If a garment is too loose across the hips, determine how much needs to be taken in. Then open the waist seam at the sides. Allotting each seam half of the desired decrease, stitch new side seams parallel to the original seams and tapering to the waist. Remove the original stitching and trim the new seams. Press them open and restitch the waist seam.

For a too-tight hipline, reduce the seam allowance the required amount equally along each of the lengthwise seams. If a skirt is long enough and if it isn’t too straight and narrow, you can add a couple of inches to its hipline by raising the skirt at the waistline. (This applies also to dresses with waistline seams.) Try on the skirt or dress. Raise the skirt until the hipline feels comfortable and tie a string around the new waistline. Mark the new waistline with tailor’s chalk. Remove the waistband or open the waist seam. Trim the top of the skirt 5/s inch above the chalk marking. Take in the darts (lengthening them as needed) and the side seams at the waistline to fit the waistband or waist seam. Adjusting for shoulder wrinkles If you have square shoulders, garments may be taut and wrinkled in that area. To correct this, remove the sleeves. Open and restitch the shoulder seams, gradually narrowing each seam as it tapers from neckline to armhole. To compensate, raise the underarm seams an equal amount.

If you have sloping shoulders, your garment may wrinkle diagonally from the neck to the armholes. To correct this problem, remove the sleeves. Open and restitch the shoulder seams, this time gradually widening each seam as it tapers from the neckline to the armhole. Compensate by lowering the underarm seams an equal amount.