22 May 2012

DIY: How To Tailor A Dress

This post is written by contributing author Paige Ronchetti. 

Basic sewing skills are handy for an avid thrifter. Sometimes when I'm shopping, I'll come across a garment that has a ton of potential. It's a pretty color, it's my favorite style, it's a name brand... but it doesn't quite fit. In these situations I try to tailor the piece, especially if it's something I know I'll wear a lot.

In fact, I fixed up a little something over the weekend! Here's how it started:

As you can see, there's a bunch of extra fabric around my midsection. Attractive! The first step to getting rid of it was to put the dress on inside out, so I could see the seams. I took regular straight pins and marked off an equal amount of fabric, about an inch, from both sides. Here's a good shot of the bulk after I removed the dress:

And speaking of removing the dress, I made sure all of the pins were pointy side up so I could slide the dress down without getting stabbed. This is key. Nobody wants a puncture wound. Anyway, once I was happy with the fit, I removed the dress and drew myself a chalk guide line.

Why the chalk? The pins were in a bad spot for sewing. Placing them vertically made it easy for the beginning of the process, but the heads were in the way of my machine's clamp. So I just took them out! I wasn't worried about the fabric getting out of place because it was on the sturdy side, and I was sticking pretty close to the original seam. There wasn't much room for error, so I went for it.

I followed my lines on both sides of the dress, turned it right side out, and tried it on:

No more stomach pouch! Great success.

So the next time you're thrifting and you find something that's not quite right, give tailoring a shot! I don't have any formal training (just trial and error), and I promise it's easy. I worked on this over two days, but the total time, including picture-taking, was only a couple of hours. It's definitely worth it.

Have you tried your hand at any clothing alterations?

Paige Ronchetti lives in the Chicago suburbs with her husband. They have no kids and no pets, which gives them a lot of time for eating spicy food and looking for bargains. Paige's blog is Little Nostalgia is a collection of projects and pretty things. There you can find DIY tutorials, home decor inspiration, and affordable fashion ideas. When she is not blogging, Paige is working on her vintage-inspired jewelry lines, Little White Chapel and Oh Nostalgia. Connect to Paige via twitter or pinterest.