The beginners’ guide to resizing clothes

9 05 2013

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Image via Flickr creative commons from whologwhy

There’s nothing worse than getting home from the shops and finding that the item you were planning to try on but didn’t have time to, doesn’t actually fit at all. Clothes sizes vary massively between manufacturers and without trying a garment on it can be very hard to tell whether it will actually fit you. For some people however, the search for clothes that fit does not often have a happy ending. It can be that the arms on tops are always a little too long, or perhaps trouser legs always end up in a puddle around the ankles! If you’re always on the lookout for petite dresses or trousers with a short length, then you’re not alone by any means. Some shoppers are always forced to do their own small adjustments at home to create the perfect fit – and here’s a guide on how to get started if you’re looking to make a few alterations of your own.

Hemming pants

One of the best places to start when you are new to making your own adjustments to clothes is with the basics, and there is nothing more straight-forward than adjusting the length of a pair of pants. Of course it might take you a little while to get your first pair exactly the way you want them, but before long you’ll be zipping through the process in no time at all.

Get the right equipment

There’s not much kit you’ll need to adjust the length of a pair of trousers, but it’s worth having the right tools to hand. Along with the pair of trousers that you’re changing, you’ll need to find some good, sharp scissors, some measuring tape, a piece of chalk, a sewing kit or even better a sewing machine, a seam ripper and an iron.

How much do you need to take off?

One of the first things you’ll need to discover is how much you need to take off the trousers. Using your seam ripper, take out the stitching that’s already holding the hem in place and let it hang loose. Now use the iron to put in a ½ inch fold and then repeat with the other leg. Put the pants on, as well as the shoes you’ll wear, and fold the hem up and inside. Once you’ve got the right length, pin the hem in place at the top and bottom.

Mark ’em up

Take off the trousers and turn them inside out carefully. Measure from the bottom fold to the top edge that you folded up and inside the leg and use this measurement to fold and pin the rest of the hem. By measuring in four places around the leg you’ll get an even finish. Chalk is great here for marking up the measurements as it won’t run and damage the material.

Get out the iron again

Iron in a new crease along the bottom edge and remove the pins as you do so. If you’re worried that you’ve made a mistake then try the trousers on again to check. Better to do that now than after you’ve got the needle out!

Start sewing

Now comes the part where you’ll need nerves of steel! Get your needle and thread out, or fire up the sewing machine and sew all the way around the leg, about an eighth of an inch from the top of the hem. And there you are, your first alteration done and dusted! Congratulations!

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