People often tell me that they need to learn how to sew because they just need to be able to hem their own pants! Being able to do some basic alterations and mending can save a lot of money. I used to do quite a lot of alterations for people, and I finally decided that it's more efficient and satisfying to help people learn to do their own alterations and mending. Here are a few examples of what I can teach you to do. 



The Magic of the Perfect Fit

          I made this blue dress from a lovely, cotton fabric, using a commercial pattern, and lengthening the pattern pieces as I usually have to do. The finished dress, on the right, is pretty, but not especially flattering. I found myself having to wear a belt with it to get the feminine shape I wanted. Fortunately, that wasn't the end of the story.

          I opened the high waistline seam, added darts to the skirt and gathering below the bust. The result gives me a much more feminine silhouette. 

Just the Way You Want It

My friend brought me this purchased dress and asked for an update. She liked the embroidery on the bottom, but felt like the dress was otherwise uninteresting. She wanted me to lengthen the dress by adding a pop of white at the waist. This is what I came up with. 

Can't Find Anything With Sleeves

          I often hear complaints that it's impossible to find modest dresses or dresses with sleeves. While it might be hard to find clothing that is perfectly suitable off-the-rack, it is possible to make changes, like adding sleeves, after the fact.

Rip. Snip. Now I Can Zip!

          This is a common scenario. Someone brings me an expensive coat or other item while wearing a look of doom. "The zipper's broken!" is always the lament. Zippers do break, but favorite clothing, and especially expensive clothing, does not have to be discarded. Take courage, and you can make the necessary repairs.

          The hardest part of zipper replacement is getting the old zipper out. You want to be careful not to stretch or damage the fabric around the zipper. But with practice, removing and replacing a zipper is by far the better alternative to losing a favorite item of clothing.