A-Z of Style: Altering Clothes

One of the best ways to look put together is to have clothes that fit you well. Everyone looks better in well fitting clothes. No long pant legs dragging on the ground or button-popping tight shirts. Some lucky people can pull things off the rack and it fits perfectly. I’m not one of those people.

A-Z of Style: Altering Clothes

When buying clothes, I often size up and then, if necessary, alter it to fit me. When I was working, this was easy. I would shop and then drop at the dress makers. Now, I work from home and altering can be expensive. But trust me, it is better to have one pair of pants that fit you perfectly than 5 pairs that are ill fitting.

Now that I’m more budget conscious, I do my basic altering myself. A few things that you should be able to do yourself at home with a sewing kit and machine:

1. take up hems
2. take in waists on dresses
3. move buttons
4. shorten straps
5. create darts

Anything more tricky, I still send to the dress maker.

Do you take on your own altering?

If you are interested, here is a maxi dress I altered to make it more wearable.

A-Z of Style: Altering Clothes Altering Clothes A-Z of Style: Altering Clothes 1


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  1. I’m envious of your sewing abilities. I’m like you and need to alter most of my clothing. The last time I used the sewing machine, about 16 years ago, hubby threatened me with divorce if it ever appeared again. He was joking but it was no joke how frustrated and bad I am with anything more than sewing on a button. Even my button sewing is rather lame.

    • I don’t have great abilities with the sewing machine. I was impressed that I knew how to tread the machine when I first got it. I did learn something in Home Ec at school :)

  2. I have a rarely used sewing machine but I just don’t have the attention to detail to ever become skilled at it. I can fix the basics and I can make bags easily but I’m not too good with fixing clothes.

    • I don’t know if I’m ‘good’ at fixing and altering, I’m just not scared to give it a go. If I’m not wearing something because it doesn’t fit well, then I can’t do any worse by having a play with it.

  3. So funny you posted this today. I tried on a dress in the Portmans outlet at Harbour Town Saturday morning and fell in love with it, but it was just a bit too big and of course no smaller size. I considered having it altered because I am useless with a needle and thread, but wasn’t sure if it would be an easy fix or not, or if Id even get around to taking it to an alterer. 3 days later I still regret not just getting it. $40 for a gorgeous portmans dress!?!? AAAHH!

    • I would be kicking myself too. I started off with no altering skills but I just decided to give it a go. I’m glad I did. I might still have no skills but I have confidence to give it a go :).

  4. Can you show us the result please?

  5. I’m hopeless at sewing. Maybe I should learn?