5 Easy Sewing Alterations to Improve Your Wardrobe | OLFA - Craft OLFA – Craft

5 Easy Sewing Alterations to Improve Your Wardrobe

Bet you have at least one article of clothing in your closet that qualifies as a “too.” It’s either too loose or too tight, too short or too long, too outdated or too something. Whether you’ve had it for ages or just couldn’t pass up a great bargain even though it was less than perfect, the fact that the fit is off means it’s collecting more dust than compliments.


But that doesn’t need to be a permanent situation. We’ve gathered five easy alteration ideas for you to try on everything from blouses to jeans. All you need to do is grab your handy OLFA® Rotary Cutter, some basic sewing supplies and follow these clever suggestions. You’ll be able to retro-fit your wardrobe just like that!


Shortening a pair of jeans without creating a tacky-looking hemline only seems tough. The truth is all you really need to do is fold, pin and sew. Figure out exactly how much you need to shorten each leg and divide that number in half. Using the smaller number, fold the bottom of each pant leg up that amount and pin in place. Then use a sewing machine and denim-colored thread to sew along the right side of the original hem. You can cut off the excess denim if you’d like with the OLFA® Splash 45MM Rotary Cutter. Fold the newly sewn hem down and iron in place. Just like new!


Well-fitted, nicely tailored bottoms are on trend—and you can easily bring your favorite pair of loose pants up to speed with a bit of judicious snipping and sewing. After you have figured out how much tightening needs to take place, turn the garment inside out and mark new seam lines along the outer leg seams, using chalk or a disappearing ink pen. Pin and sew new seams along the marked lines. Then cut off the original seams.


If the waistline sags and bags, you can add a couple of quick darts. Figure out how much the waist needs to be taken in, divide that number in half and pin the waistline in that amount on either side of the center back seam. Turn your pants inside out and sew, starting at the waist. You can trim the darts and iron dart seams flat to reduce bulk.


Found an out-of-fashion blouse in the back of your closet or at a thrift store? You can breathe new life into the top by changing the sleeve length to either 3/4, short sleeves, or no sleeves at all. Use your favorite OLFA® Rotary Cutter, OLFA® 6″ x 12″ Square Frosted Acrylic Ruler and OLFA® 12″ x 18″ Double-Sided Rotary Mat to cut the sleeves to the desired length, then roll under a short hem and hand-stitch in place.


Similarly, cutting up an outdated sweater to make a cardigan is just as simple. Slice it up the front, apply fusible web to the edges, fold under and sew (or add strips of decorative fabric to finish the knit edges). Add some fun buttons and you’re good to go.


Shortening straps on tank tops and dresses is easy peasy! Simply pull the strap up on each side to the desired length and pin. Then, working from the inside, measure both straps to make sure they will be even, mark the line and sew. When you are done sewing, snip off the excess material.


Fitting a too-loose shirt takes just a bit of sewing and a piece of elastic. Turn your blouse inside out and mark where you plan to sew the elastic (usually horizontally, near the waist). Then place a piece of 1/2″ or 1/4″ elastic that is shorter than the space you’ve marked and place at one marking, overlapping the marking by about 1/2″. Pin in place. Loosely gather the fabric and pin the free end of the elastic at the other marking, overlapping the marked spot by 1/2″.


Sew a few stitches down the middle of the elastic piece. Once the elastic is secure, pull the other end so that the fabric underneath lies flat, then sew down the middle. When you’re done sewing, the fabric will gather once the elastic springs back to its normal size—and it will tighten the body of the shirt.


Tips from the Experts

  • It’s a good idea to slip on the shoes you plan to wear with the pants you need to shorten. This will ensure that you set your hem at the right length—not too long or too short. The same advice goes for skirts and dresses.
  • If the garment you want to adjust is made of cotton, be sure to toss it into the washer and dryer first. Cotton fabric typically shrinks during the initial laundering but stays the same size for subsequent washings.
  • There are some alterations that should be left to the pros—particularly anything to do with constructed shoulders on shirts. This portion of a top is tricky to fix and often not worth the bother. If you need to add room up there, consider cutting open a section on the back and adding a piece of lace or decorative fabric. That will create some space without much fuss or bother.