I picked up this little J Crew chambray number several months ago.
The armholes were too big, it was entirely too long for what I was wanting and I really didn’t care for the buttoned tabs at the shoulder. But hey, for $3, I figured I was worth a shot at tweaking it a bit.
There really is no pattern to follow when altering clothing. It’s more of a method that involves lots of tweaking, trying on, pinning, basting, re-pinning, ripping, stitching … you get the picture, right?
A few of the rules I have learned:
– Try clothes on inside out, it’s much easier to pin
– Use lots of pins
– Use a basting stitch and try it on again, right side out and adjust as needed
– Finish with a regular length stitch – ask me how I know that one – oops!
The first thing I did on this shirt was to take in the sides several inches. I knew I would wear a tank of some sort under it, but those arm holes were ginormous! Then the buttons and shoulder tabs just had to go.
The next step was to split the bottom of the shirt straight up the middle so it could be tied at the waist. You’ll notice a small triangle I left at the bottom of the existing placket. That was so I could turn it under and stitch the edge so it would be finished.
I double-hemmed the edges (turned them under 1/4″ and 1/4″ again) and stitched them.
And then. Well. That was pretty much it. I may decide to go back and restitch some of the buttons a little neater, or I may decide that it really doesn’t have to be perfect.
I just paired down my summer wardrobe and this one made the cut. It works great over a tank or bandeau top when we head out for church or a date night. It was definitely worth the $3 to have a fun little summer shirt. That, and the knowing that it’s worth taking the chance that it may or may not work.
As far as the last rule I’ve learned about doing alterations? It’s worth it to experiment and try redeeming that old shirt / skirt / dress before you drop it off at the local thrift shop. What do you have to lose?