Help for beginner at garment alterations

imraineyFebruary 1, 2009

Hi! Newbie to this forum here.

I would like to start garment sewing again. I'm 62 and I haven't done it since my oldest (now 30) lost a reversible jacket I made for her on the first day she wore it to school.

Anyway, back when I did do some sewing for myself I was a size that more or less resembled standard sizes. Now I'm as wide at the waist as I am at the hips and have a nice round belly out in front. NOT what McCalls and Simplicity design for.

Anyway, I'd like to do a nice ordinary placketed long-sleeve shirt and a basic pair of pants. And I'd like to work up a master pattern for myself in muslin.

Anyone have any suggestions about the basics of alterations? I bought a plus-size shirt pattern based on my bust size and a basic pant pattern based on my hips (since my waist is off the charts). Where do I start?

Thanks in advance.

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Well, get your tape measure and a shirt and pair of pants that you like the fit of. Turn these items inside out, lay them flat and measure, measure, measure! Transfer these numbers to your new pattern.....including seam allowances ........important. (If you were brave you could trace around your garment parts and make your own pattern.) I find this way of making sure something fits properly so much easier than trying to figure out how much ease/play you want in the shirt/pants. Good luck. Salena

    Bookmark   February 2, 2009 at 9:27AM
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You could also try on garments at a store and see what looks well on you. I have a colleague who loves a certain brand of trouser. She doesn't even have to try them on to know they will suit her. (She's a seamstress, and could easily make her clothes, too)

I'm always scouting the Goodwill stores and Salvation Army. At those prices, even an ugly pair of pants, if they fit well, could be taken apart to make a pattern.

Remember that the waist measurement of your pant should be about an inch bigger than your actual waist to be comfortable. Don't stitch the front darts, if there are any. Re-draw the side seams straight up from the hip. Best wishes.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2009 at 8:52AM
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I suggest a library book. Nancy Zeiman has one on pattern alteration that's very accessible and possibly the simplest method. If you have luck, you can move on to the Zapp Method for Couture Sewing, still doable but more complex and precise.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2009 at 10:22AM
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Have you ever seen the duct tape dumby? It is a great thing to make so you can fit yourself. You put on an old tshirt and have someone wrap you in duct tape (sounds weird but works) and then they cut you out. You have a great copy of you to fit the muslin to. It works well for your waist also if you make it that long. My DH thought it was a great thing to make and it really worked. I just had trouble finding a place to put it.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 6:29PM
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