Thursday, May 25, 2017

Tips and Tricks: Adjusting the Fit

Ever find a pair of jeans that fit great except that they are a little too big in the waist? Or perhaps a shirt or jacket or maybe even a dress that is too tight at the armpits? Sometimes I buy things that don't quite fit me because I like them too much to pass up. Then I get home and have to figure out how to make them work. I wanted to share with you a few fixes that I came up with for items like this.

First, jeans that are too big in the waist. This seems like a frequent problem. The jeans that fit in the waist are too tight around the hips, and those that fit right in the hips are too big in the waist. Jean waistbands pretty thick, so taking tucks in them results in bulky bumps that are rather uncomfortable. I discovered a way to make the waistband smaller while still keeping it flat and smooth.

First, cut some slits in the waistband. The slits should go most of the way through the waistband but not cut through it completely.

Overlap the cut edges about 1/4" and pin in place.

Sew together with a zig-zag stitch.

And that's it! You can do this as many times as you need to in different places around the waist until the jeans fit just right. I always wear shirts untucked over my jeans, so I used a light colored thread that matched the thread on the rest of the jeans. If you want to make the stitches more invisible, use thread that matches the color of the jeans themselves.

Now for the second fix: shirts, dresses, or jackets that are too small at the armpits. This fix has some strings attached. First, it works best with knit fabrics - things that are at least a little stretchy. Secondly, the item that you are working with needs to be a little big. You have to be able to take it in a bit on the sides or take darts in the back so you have some extra fabric to work with. The idea is to take fabric from somewhere on the item of clothing and use it to create inserts for the sleeves. Let me show you how I did this on a flyaway cardigan.

I seam ripped a few inches of the sleeve just under the armpit, disconnecting it from the top. I also seam ripped a little ways down the sleeve seam.


The cardigan was a bit wide on me, so I took a couple of darts in the back and trimmed the extra fabric.


I then used that extra fabric to make triangle inserts for the sleeves. (The seams are a little hard to see in this fabric, so I outlined them to make them clearer.)

Expanding the sleeves about an inch meant that they were now too wide for the armholes. But the whole point of the project was to make the armholes wider. Remember the opening I had seam ripped in the armpit at the beginning? I cut the armholes a little deeper in that opening to make room for the wider sleeve.


Then I sewed the up the armpit seam.

It fits much better, and the insert is almost invisible. No one will ever know. Except you blog readers.

Do you have any genius alterations that you would like to share? Any tips and tricks for making clothes fit just right? Tell us about them in the comments below!

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