Although nothing can replace the expertise of a professional tailor, there are a number of reasons you may want to start altering your own clothes. This could be a great alternative if you want to get some experience with sewing, or if you are financially unable to work with a tailor for the time being.
Plus, it can be a bit of fun to try creating your very own fashion statements!
Fashions change, and so do our personal senses of style. So if you have ever had the inclination to learn how to sew, the guide is for you.
Just as a word of caution… if you’re going to attempt altering your own clothes, be sure to start with some older garments that may be in need of some TLC.
Let’s review five tips to make altering your own clothes just a little bit easier.
Keep a Supply of Tailor’s Chalk
Tailor’s Chalk is great for making marks on your garments that are easy to remove. You may think that you have a steady hand and a keen eye, but nothing replaces the value of marking clear and precise lines before making any cuts.
Generally speaking, you can get tailor’s chalk in both chalk or wax varieties. Chalk washes out with a bit of rubbing, while wax disintegrates with a little heat from an iron. Avoid using wax chalk if the garment you will be working on cannot be exposed to high heat or steam.
Don’t Be Afraid to Take Pictures
We are fortunate to live at a time in which taking photographs of everything is fairly easy thanks to smartphones. And if we can be so bold, we recommend taking a photo of everything you do.
Most of us do not have photographic memories, so it is a great idea to snap pictures at every step of the process as you disassemble a garment. In essence, you need to document each step while altering your own clothes so that you can easily recall how to put them back together after.
Remembering measurements can get very difficult, and every now and then you may miss a detail that you should have measured; therefore, it is a good idea to lay a ruler on your garment in each picture. Be sure the ruler is positioned in such a way that observing the measured length is simple.
The added benefit of taking so many photos is that they will serve as a visual guide for any future sewing projects you may attempt.
Try Everything Before You Cut
If your objective is to make your garment smaller, mark the lines you intend to cut with chalk. Sew your garment back together, and then try it on to see if it fits. Do this before you cut anything!
There is no such thing as too much fabric, as excess fabric can always be removed; however, if you make any cuts before you try the garment back on, you risk being left with too little fabric if you took it in too much.
Broken Seams Can Be Repaired
If you are new to sewing, you may not be familiar with broken seams as compared to holes or tears in your fabric.
When fabric wears thin, or when a garment is older, it is natural to end up with a broken seam. In fact, it can be fixed fairly easily.
On the other hand, if a garment has been ripped or torn, you will either need to sew a new seam or put some kind of patch over it. In either case, a rip has a probable chance of ripping again, so it may be best to re-purpose an old garment full of holes.
Whether it is a hole in your favorite garment, or a broken seam, this may be the point that you want to consult with a professional tailor.
A tailor will be able to get your garment as close to its original condition as possible, or at the very least, offer you some helpful suggestions.
If you happen to live in the Greater Toronto Area, consider contacting Love Your Tailor. The team of professional tailors at Love Your Tailor perform every type of repair or alteration to your most precious garments, from the comfort of a 10,000 square foot facility. No job is considered too big or too small for our team!
If you don’t have time to visit Love Your Tailor in person, you can request a quote online or take advantage of our pick up and delivery offer.
Know Your Limitations
As long as you’re gentle when disassembling a garment, nothing will end up permanently broken. What you have done can almost always be reversed by a professional tailor or seamstress. And in most cases, you will discover that tailors charge less than you might think.
It is worth sewing, altering your own clothes, experimenting, and making mistakes. Experience is the best teacher. But you also need to know your limitations. If a particular alteration is beyond your skills and capabilities, don’t be afraid to pay someone else to do it for you.
And unless you happen to be really passionate about sewing, learning how to do it on your own can be very time consuming.
Consider that if things really go awry, it may in fact cost you more time and money to have a professional repair the damage you have done – so experiment if you wish, just tread cautiously.