woman trying on dress

Dress Shopping and Alterations, The Right Way

When people think of alterations, they usually think of the services that a wedding dress shop usually offers to those who have a wedding dress that doesn’t fit. But alterations are for more than bridal dresses and you don’t always have a take it to the shop. You can learn to do some simple alterations yourself and here are some tips on how to start.

Know Your Exact Measurements

Before you do anything, you should learn your exact body measurements. A lot of people estimate things by eye and that is not the best way to go about doing tailoring. You need to have accurate measurements so that you can change the dress in the right way. With alterations, you will notice how important an inch is when it comes to fit.

To get the right measurements, you need to know the correct way to measure them. For example, when you are measuring your bust, you need to have a friend assist you so that you can wrap the tape fully around you and at the fullest part of your bust. Other places to measure are your waist, hips, and shoulders. Your height and legs will also be necessary for a complete set for your dresses.

Experiment With Old Clothes

Learning to alter clothes is a process that you can’t learn until you do it. But altering your best clothes immediately is the wrong approach. You need to start with older clothes first. You likely have a few dresses that could use a few changes. The great thing about experimenting with old clothes is that you can make them look good as new if you do it right.

If you don’t have any old clothes, look for some at thrift shops. It is a practice of experienced hobby sewers to alter old clothes to make them modern or to give them a lease on life. For you, it will allow you to see your alteration skills in action.

Start With Easy Changes

There are many alteration techniques out there. Learning all of them is going to be a challenge. But if you are going to start anywhere, then you should start alteration for clothes that are too big. These alterations are much more forgiving since there is more fabric to work with. Large dresses often have large armholes and necklines. When you wear them like that, they can look pretty bad. Reducing their size should be simple enough. Gathering the cloth allows you to keep the original fabric which means you can simply let it out if necessary. Another change that is easy to do is fixing loose waistlines. You can add an elastic waistband to make it easy or you can reduce the fabric. The results are the same.

woman looking at clothes

Have The Right Materials And Tools

When you are planning to do alterations, you need the right tools. The simplest that you’ll need is a needle and thread, along with a pair of scissors. That should be enough to get you started. But if you want to get serious into dress alteration, you’ll need fabrics, buttons, and more. The most important is a sewing machine. While you can do all your alterations by hand, a lot of the work is easier if you have a good sewing machine. There are many affordable ones out there with a wealth of features. Finally, you’ll want a space to do your sewing so that you can do it properly and with no interruption.

Look For Resources

In the past, mending and altering dress was a skill passed on from mother to daughter. If you were lucky, then you had some grounding in it. But for more complex alterations, you’ll want to learn from other sources. Fortunately, there is a strong online community out there that would be willing to help you out. YouTube has several sewing guides available and you can also look for online classes on sewing. Besides alterations, they can teach you to make a dress from scratch, which is something you can be proud of. Additionally, there are books and guides available on the topic. Look for some and order them online to learn more. With all these resources, you should be able to practice and develop your skills properly.

Learning how to do clothes alterations yourself can be a money saver. No need to completely junk old clothes if they go out of style or they don’t fit anymore. The right alterations can breathe new life into them. It is also a useful skill to learn since it gives you the foundation of how to repair dresses and maybe make your own.

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