There are so many things to love about winter! For all you flip-flop lovers out there, just bear with me here for a minute, I’m trying to redeem your not-so-favorite season. It’s the abundance of all things cozy that gets us every time. The chunky afghans, fuzzy socks, thick sweaters, mugs of hot chocolate on early winter evenings and one of my all-time favorites – flannel sheets. But after several seasons of washing and drying, those pesky top sheets tend to shrink so much that they easily come untucked in the middle of the night. And if you’re using flannel sheets it necessarily follows that it must be cold. Untucked flannel sheets + cold night air + frozen toes = certain disaster. Granted, that’s a bit dramatic, but you get the idea. So just in case you’ve had similar issues with your own sheets, today I give you this- Short Sheet Fix | Tutorial with faux flat-felled seams.
Short Sheet Fix | Tutorial with faux flat-felled seams
Follow along for a brief explanation of each step, and pictures just in case Read More
I heard on the radio yesterday that gym memberships and exercise routines spike after the Olympics. Once you start exercising, then your clothes don’t fit right, then you have to take them in, but you already spent too much money on the gym membership to take them to a tailor or buy new clothes … Okay, maybe that’s not your story, but work with me here. Why not try taking them in yourself? What do you really have to lose? It’s not like you were going to wear them anyway. You’re in luck because today I’m sharing the basic steps to take in a garment.
If you’re too scared to learn on a favorite garment, then pick up something similar at a thrift shop and practice on them. It might actually cost you a whole $4, and that’s a pretty cheap lesson!
So there’s a bit of good news and a bit of not-your-favorite news in this process. The not-so-favorite news is that this will require trying on the garment, repeatedly and then a few more times after that, too. It’s kind of like editing a paper or project in that way, once you muster the energy to take the next step, the reward of it being the best you have to give is huge!
The basic steps to taking in a garment
The example I’ll be using in the picture is a pair of Gap linen trousers that I picked up at a thrift shop, I will be using the word pants to make this less complicated, but fill in whatever garment you are working on. I would use the word trousers, but that sounds a bit stuffy.
The easiest garment to start on if you’re not so sure about this would be a skirt or dress, but again if it’s something you’ll never wear until it’s fixed or if it’s a thrift shop score, then just muster up your courage and go for it!
pinning and trying on
If you have pants that fit you well, then use them as a guide. Make sure they are made of similar fabrics in terms of their stretch and drape. Turn the pants you want to alter inside out and lay them on a table, with the ones that fit correctly over them, to get a general idea of where and how much you need to take in on the pants you’re altering.
STEP 1 | Know that you may pin one leg tighter the other, that’s okay – it allows you decide which one you like better, or if you want to go with a measurement somewhere in between the two.
STEP 2 | Undo the stitching in the hem so you can stitch all the way down the pant leg. You may want to leave the hem at its current length, which is fine, but you still need to take it out now to allow your pants to hang smoothly in the end.
STEP 3 | Line up the original seam lines with one another and pin through both layers, then pin the same distance from the original seam all the way down the leg.
AND NOW FOR THE STITCHING
STEP 4 | At this point, try them on again. If you’re pleased with the pinned lines then baste (the longest stitch your machine makes) along the line you’ve created. If you’re not pleased, repin areas as needed.
STEP 5 | Try the pants on. Repin as needed and baste.
STEP 6 | Baste stitch the other side, creating the same seam allowance. Try them on … you saw that coming didn’t you?
STEP 7 | Trim away excess bulk, this is not a final trim so it can be more than 1/2″
STEP 8 | Stitch over the basting lines with a permanent stitch. Try them on again.
STEP 9 | Press and trim seams to between 1/4″ and 1/2″
STEP 10 | Finish raw edges of the seam. I opted for Seams Great for the linen trousers because it gives a low-profile finished edge that is completely enclosed.
STEP 11 | Replace hem or embellishing, whipstitching as needed.
Oh, the fun of all things summer! Cookouts, lemonade, flip flops and lightning bugs. There’s something almost magical about it. And the weddings, lots of weddings, with laces and chiffons and all the fluttery fabrics. Somehow, they’re both elegant and carefree all at the same time. Until you have to figure out the best way to hem fluttery summer fabrics, then it can be a little scary!
I have to admit, last month I was given a chiffon wedding gown to hem and even after all the years of rolled hems and alterations, I was a bit nervous that I would mess it up somewhere. Good thing there’s no pressure when it’s pretty much the most important dress a girl will wear!
My big concern was that the hem would try to roll out as I’ve had them do in the past when I used my rolled hem foot. I was so excited with this method that I’ve since used it to hem a knit cardigan and it worked like a charm. This weekend I have the honor of witnessing this sweet bride and her new husband make their wedding vows, So today seems like the right day to share the hard-learned tips I’ve discovered along the way.
A rolled hem without a rolled hem foot
If you’re fortunate enough to have a rolled hem foot, then you know how easy it is to make a small hem for napkins, handkerchiefs and the like. But a narrow hem on an A-line chiffon gown is a different story. Even when you’re extremely careful, there will be missed spots and then the tendency for the finished hem to try to roll out. It’s not pretty y’all!
So, when it comes to chiffon and other lightweight fabrics, or even uncooperative knits, there’s an almost fail-proof way to create a narrow hem.
It does take a little more time than using a rolled hem foot, but once you try it but, you’ll be so pleased with the results and the simplicity of it that you may find yourself searching for other things to finish with a narrow hem. Seriously!
Pinning the Hem
Mark a line about 3/8” – 1/2” below your new hemline and fold your fabric under on that line. (Fyi – some of these pictures are for the slinky underlining on a chiffon gown)
You can lightly press it, using a low setting and a handkerchief over your fabric to ensure that you don’t burn the chiffon.
The pink tape around the seam gauge was my own reminder of how much I wanted to turn up the hem. It’s a quick help when the seam gauge slider is missing or the hem is too deep to use the slider.
Stitching the Hem
Next, stitch 1/8″ – 1/4″ from the folded edge, as close as possible without going off the edge of the fabric.
TAKE YOUR TIME on this step. You want to trim as close as possible, being careful not to clip the fabric above the seam line.
Instead, pull the top threads from the first and last stitches to the back of your fabric and tie them off. This way you won’t even have the visual bulk of extra stitching on your finished hem.
Hopefully, my rolled hem mistakes over the years will help save you a bit of time and frustration when you need to make a rolled hem without a rolled hem foot.
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?