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I learned how to do alterations!

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Well, I posted a few weeks back on the difficulty of self-alterations, specifically hemming shirt length and taking in the sides. My aunt came over this weekend to show me. She is a master sewer and makes her own clothes (not just follows pre-made patterns, actually designs everything herself - and they look good.). She made it look so easy. I tried to shorten a few shirts myself (so that I can wear them untucked) and they turned out okay (wearable). Also, she showed me how to take in the sides of a dress shirt to make it more tapered. It takes me about 1.5 hrs to shorten a shirt and 2 hrs to taper the sides. Of course, this is with measurments and everything; I expect it to go a lot faster when I get more experience. Now I have a bunch of shirts that fit me a lot better, and I know that if there's a shirt that I really like that has a full cut (Armani, Zegna, etc) I can alter it in a few hour's time. Just wanted to say that if anyone was interested in trying this themselves - go for it. Not only is it cheaper than going to the tailor, you can alter them EXACTLY how you want (without leaving it up to someone else). Plus, you get to learn a little more about how shirts are made/cut, and you get some pride knowing you picked up a new skill.
post #2 of 14
Well why don't you tell me how to do it then? I alter pants. I've never tried a shirt. I probably could do a good job if I wanted to, but I'm pretty paranoid.
post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Well why don't you tell me how to do it then? I alter pants. I've never tried a shirt. I probably could do a good job if I wanted to, but I'm pretty paranoid.
I know what you mean ( I was afraid of screwing up my Armani Collezioni shirt real bad). Best thing to do is head over to a thrift shop and pick up a bunch of $2-$5 dress shirts in your size that are too long or too baggy. Practice on those. Its basically the same as doing pants. After I cut the material to length, I drew a line (with pencil) 3/4" from the bottom of the material, for the hem. I then folded that material over and ironed it so it was easier to work with. I then folded the material under prior to hemming and pinned the entire length with pins (spaced 1-2" apart) so it was easier to work with while I sewed. Just pull out the pins as they get to the foot of the machine. I bet Mr. Kabbaz could add some insightful tips to this thread if he reads it.
post #4 of 14
Yeah. So it's basically the same as hemming pants. I could do with ease, probably. I don't have any shirts I need to do that with at the moment, but I might in the near future, if I see something I just HAVE to have, not in my size.
post #5 of 14
I do have one shirt I wish was smaller. But it's a sweatshirt. I bought it at the one and only Kamkyl boutique, in Montreal. It's an XL. I bought it right before I lost weight, and it was already a bit big on me at the time. I wonder if I could take the sides in on this. But then I would have to take the shoulders and sleeves in as well, or else it would fit on the bottom, and not the top.
post #6 of 14
I really think some things should not be altered to fit. Examples are t-shirts (buy another one, they're cheap) and sweat-anything. Knit items like those often don't have seams you would be taking in to begin with and altering them entails more effort than woven cloth. I have a sweater I keep swearing I will alter because I love it and want it to fit me tighter but in that case as with many clothes that are almost great... If you love it, let it go. On the other hand, I have managed to alter OTR/thrift store pants to fit me perfectly and to have a different shape than how they came to get them out of fashionability and into style. Pants are a good thing to start on as long as you use good technique so you don't get a ripped out seam. They are really easy to alter, mainly because they don't require (don't remember the real term but) sewing then folding back then sewing right on an edge like shirt sides do.
post #7 of 14
Normally that sewing right on the edge is supposed to be serging, but not many people have a serger to do that. They're more expensive than regular sewing machines.
post #8 of 14
Serging automatically cuts and sews over the edge, which is used on some cheaper shirts to produce a single fold seam which then has a flap inside. Serging is also necessary on knits to keep them from unraveling. What I was referring to is the type of seam on jeans' outside seam (I think it's called flat-felled, been a long time since I looked into this stuff) that is sewn together then folded over and sewn down so it is flat. You can do it with a normal machine but it is a pain.
post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
What I was referring to is the type of seam on jeans' outside seam (I think it's called flat-felled, been a long time since I looked into this stuff) that is sewn together then folded over and sewn down so it is flat. You can do it with a normal machine but it is a pain.
Yup, its flat-felled. I learned how to do that for shirt side-seams (most all shirts have this). It takes more time but produces a more finished look. All you're doing basically is folding the material over and sewing the other side down.
post #10 of 14
So with that, you would see the seam as well as a stitch line on the outside of the shirt?
post #11 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
So with that, you would see the seam as well as a stitch line on the outside of the shirt?
I'm not really sure, but chances are that your shirt has flat-felled seams on the side. If they aren't flat-felled, it will just look like two pieces of fabric were layed flat on top of one another, one side was sewn, and then it was folded over. Flat-felled will appear as material folder over, with two parallel lines of stitches . Its more work, but then again thats what the kids in sweat shops get paid 6 cents an hour to do. Sorry if that last comment was in bad taste.
post #12 of 14
I'm all about bad taste. I think I'm going to take a look at some of my dress shirts and actually pay attention to the construction. Because I can't really picture what you're saying. I'll get back to you on this. I have a Zegna shirt I wouldn't mind taking in.
post #13 of 14
Flat Felled:
post #14 of 14
Now that makes sense. Thank you.
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