Sunday, January 18, 2009

Helpful hints from a seamstress...

As a seamstress, I spend a lot of time...well, sewing. Working at an alterations shop and designing handbags for a living, I have acquired many helpful tips and tricks of the trade over the years. While pondering over my latest blog post, I have decided to use my knowledge for good and share them with you. Keep tuning in, because more tips are to come.

Shopping Tips for Alteration-Friendly Clothing

So you go up and down in weight, or you are only 4 foot 10", your wardrobe doesn't have to suffer. Here are a few ideas on how to shop for clothes that can move with you.

1. I love this suit, but I don't think that these sleeves belong to me!

When you have shorter arms, you know the feeling of looking like a kid playing dress up in adults clothing when you try on a Jacket straight off the rack. The sleeves are too long. For both men and women, when buying a jacket or blazer always check out the button holes on the sleeves. If the button holes are fake and only for show underneath the buttons, you are in luck. Those button holes can be removed without leaving a gaping hole and the sleeve can be shortened. You will lose your button hole stitching, but the buttons can be sewn back on so you will not lose the style. If the button holes are real and already cut open, you may not be able to shorten it to the length that you want, or the buttons could end up awkwardly close to the hem of the sleeve.

The same goes if your arms are long. No one wants to look like they are too big for their jacket. Also, when looking for jackets that need extra length, make sure that there is plenty of fabric turned up in the hem of the sleeve. Jackets without buttons and vents are generally can be lengthen easier and with less visibility.

2. Make Those New Jeans Your New Favorite Jeans

So you found this great new pair of Rock and Republic jeans and they show off all of your best assets. Keep them looking fabulous by getting them hemmed to the perfect length. Before you have any jeans hemmed always wash them first, if you want to be safe, wash them a couple of times. It would not be worth the effort and expense to shorten the jeans, only to shrink when you get them home. It is also better to hem them sooner rather than later. If you wear a pair of jeans that are too long for you, they will begin to look tattered at the hem, and maybe even tear. To obtain the perfect length, you will need to try them with the tallest and flattest shoes that you will normally wear. If you want to wear stilettos with your jeans, you should wear stilettos when marking the hem. And since we can't wear heels everywhere, you will need to also put on your flats. Mark the hem just off the floor with your flats on and make sure that it is not too short with your heels.

You will also need to decide how you want them hemmed. You can have a hem put in with matching heavy thread, and it will usually look just fine. This type of hem is better if you like to roll your jeans up and is usually less expensive. Sometimes, however, you may want to have the original hem, also known as a Tricky Hem. This is when the original hem of the pants is moved up and reattached to the leg of the jeans. There will be a seam at the bottom of the leg, but most of the time its visibility is minimal. One downfall to the tricky hem is that sometimes the seam want to flip out and show at the bottom if not ironed down.

3. My pants always seem to shrink in the closet!

So those slacks seem to be smaller than they used to, and you are getting a little softer around the mid section. Releasing the waistband on a pair of slacks can be a great way to give new life to an old pair. If you tend to go up and down in weight, before buying slacks check out the waistband. Men's slacks should have a seam in the back of the waistband and seat with plenty of fabric tucked inside. You can usually tell how much you can release by the amount of fabric left in the seat seam. You can only release the waist as far as the seam allows. This type of pant can be let out and taken in easily. And keep in mind that some fabrics will show the alterations more than others. For example, releasing a pair of corduroys will show much more than a pair of wool trousers.