The most common clothing alterations involve hems and resizing.
Sew Chic offers a variety of different styles of hems. The most requested style is the European, otherwise known as “original hem.” This type of hem is used to maintain the look of designer clothing. Some of the most popular brands of jeans, such as True Religion, 7 For All Mankind, and Levis have unique stitching at the hem. If cut and re-sewn with standard denim thread or a closely matching thread the look of the jean will be ruined. This can be quite devastating after spending top dollar for a pair of jeans that fit just right.
The original hem alteration technique can also be used for dresses, skirts, shirt cuffs, and jackets with a design border or embellishment near the hem. A standard single or double stitch hem is always another option where the excess fabric in the hem will be cut off and an entirely new hem made on the jeans/pants. This type of hem is entirely appropriate for some garments, such as scrubs and basic pants.
Some dress or pant hems can be an inch or longer. You can tell by looking at the garment and measuring from the bottom to where the stitching begins. In this instance we can undo the hem, attach a fabric facing to the bottom, and re-hem giving you an extra inch or two without the fabric facing being visible from the outside of the gar
ment. We do this type of alteration often for very tall men who prefer to have their slacks lengthened rather than buying a larger size.
Another option that is used to make the hem of a skirt longer is to add a band of fabric to the bottom. We have used leather, lace and even black fabric combined with a belt/sash or piping along the armholes/sleeves of the same fabric to give the appearance that the addition was done from a design standpoint rather than out of necessity.
Making a clothing item smaller is fairly standard and will require a fitting and being pinned. Frequently requested items to be made smaller include tapering waists and pant legs.
Increasing the size of a garment requires a strategy that satisfies your need but is also feasible from a garment construction standpoint. The biggest challenge is how much seam allowance is in the garment. You can usually judge yourself if a garment can be made larger by turning it inside out and looking to see how much fabric is inside where the seams are. At least 5/8 inch on each side of the seams is necessary to take a garment up one size. This type of alteration can make all the difference if you just can’t seem to shed that extra 5-10 pounds of pregnancy weight and want to get back into your pre-pregnancy wardrobe.
When the existing seams do not allow for making a garment larger, panels of closely matching fabric can be added to side seams or to the backs of zippered shirts or dresses to make larger. We do our best to set realistic expectations when it comes to this type of alteration because it will not look perfect and sometime may not be worth doing the alteration. On the other hand, sometime this type of alteration is necessary when you have to wear a specific garment for a special occasion and there is not enough time to get the larger size.