Saturday, July 23, 2011

Adventures in DIY Alterations - Taking in the Sides

Earlier this summer, I bought a gauzy, white button down shirt at LOFT to add to my summer wardrobe staples. I was planning to wear it tucked, untucked, and half-tucked into shorts, skirts, and jeans, so it would get a lot of wear. I liked the material and tab cuff sleeves so much that I was all too ready to overlook the fact that it was a bit too loose to actually tuck into anything, and gave me no shape when untucked. 


So it sat in my closet. Until today.

I wanted to wear my perfect white shirt, so I decided it was time to get out the sewing machine and finish the job that LOFT started.

The first order of business was to check out the care instructions. I was happy to see that it was a 'hand wash cold - lay flat to dry' item, since that meant that if I washed it in hot water and dried it in the machine, it should shrink up a bit. It definitely helped, but didn't quite give me the shape I was looking for. 

As I changed the thread in the machine from brown to white, I was reminded of my last sewing project: making my husband a pair of pants as part of his costume for a play, which was met with only moderate success (They were barely passable and had to be restitched 3 times throughout the course of the performances). Not one to be easily discouraged, and assuring myself that a a simple alteration is much easier than making pants from scratch, I turned the shirt inside out and pinned up the sides so that the narrowest part would be at my true waist and then it would taper out again to the hip. 

I think I just made that part sound easy. Oops. It actually requires that I make my best guess as to where to pin, then try it on, then move the pins, and try it on ad nauseam until it fits the way I want it to. But it is certainly better to make the changes before you sew anything, or you may end up having to endure the painstaking process of ripping stitches out very carefully (and slowly) from delicate gauzy fabric (I happen to know this by experience).

The next step was to fire up the sewing machine and stitch alongside my perfectly placed pins. I usually set the machine so that the stitches are as long as possible in case I make a mistake (so there won't be as many stitches to tear out). 

Once I was satisfied with the fit of the shirt, I held my breath and cut off the excess fabric, leaving about 1/4" after my new seam. Finally, I turned it right side out again and was relieved to see that my work had improved the fit, and that I had not ruined my beautiful new shirt.

Original Fit (after shrinking)

Altered Fit
I am pretty happy with the results. What do you think? Hopefully, you will be seeing a lot of this shirt for the rest of the summer. 

Thanks for joining me on my adventure in DIY alterations!

1 comment:

  1. You are brave making alterations. Anytime I try to alter something I end up ruining it...