Try-it Tuesday: Ghetto Tailoring Tips

I am no seamstress, folks.

Like, I’m pretty much a disgrace to the word seamstress.

I can sew straight lines, make ruffles (because that pretty much involves sewing straight lines), mostly follow an (easy) pattern, maybe manage a curved line or corner, sew buttons on, and maybe, on a really good day, with lots of patience, install a zipper.

And yet, it’s amazing what you can accomplish with such rudimentary (read: pathetic) skillz.

I’ve completely reupholstered a chair, sewn curtains, made baby shoes and couch pillows, designed a custom window awning for my kitchen, sewn skirts, and even “tailored” my own clothes.

Now that last bit has consisted almost entirely of easy pants-hemming and even a little duct tape action(the shiny kind you actually use on ducts).

But one of the easiest “wrong fits” in the world to fix is the piece of clothing that’s simply too wide.

Maybe it’s the wrong size, maybe the fit’s just weird (every x-small I’ve seen at GAP for the last 18 months has baffled me: if they think x-small people are 4 feet wide, then what about the rest of us?), or maybe your shape has changed.

Whatever the issue, the solution is ridiculously simple.

Check out the sample below:

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Okay, so obviously—and not too surprisingly—I wanted to show off some pics of my cutie-pie daughter in one of my favorite outfits on her ev.er (can you blame me?).

But that adorbs coat she’s wearing (which I bought for a whopping $20 on sale from the GAP outlet on our most recent trip to Dallas because I loved it so much—perhaps the single most expensive item I’ve ever bought for my daughter) is just too big.

Even though it’s a 6-12 mo. size.

And she’s 15-months-old.

Yup. We got our first shrimp in the family.

And yes, I know in the pictures that it looks pretty cute in its endearing swallow-her-wholeness, but practically, it was pretty hard for her to wear—cumbersome and lumpy.

So!

What’s a mama—who handed over a crisp Andrew Jackson for that darling little coat which, with the blazing temps that are already showing up here in Texas, won’t even be able to be worn but maybe two more times—to do?

Rejoice in the fact that it’s the “right kind” of too big and work some magic with her non-seamstress skills.

Here’s all you’ll need for this super-simple project:

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That’s right:

    • Straight pins
    • A sewing machine (or needle and thread if you like to kick it old school)

Here’s what I did:

1. Turned the coat inside out to expose the inner seams, put it back on Adelaide, and then stuck a few quick pins along the length of the seam to mark how much I needed to take it in.

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How do you get a toddler to hold still so she doesn’t get stuck with pins? Ply her with cookies and oversized stuffed animals, of course.

2. Next, I took the coat off, put the toddler down for a nap (this step is pretty important) and assessed.

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3. I set my sewing machine’s seam to its longest length (that’s the 5.0 on the screen) for two reasons: a) my fabric was kind of thick, and I didn’t want a smaller seam causing it to bunch, and b) I don’t plan on this being a permanent fix, since as Della grows, I’ll be able to let these seams back out so that the coat grows with her (and the looser the seams, the easier they are to rip out).

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4. Then I started sewing, starting at the bottom of the coat and sewing up towards the arms. I used my pins as guidelines, but mostly I just used the sewing machine foot, lining it up with the outside edge of the inside out coat, since that was close enough to the pins I’d marked and helped keep the line nice and straight.

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5. As I got to the wrists of the sleeves, I tapered my seam a bit (notice my foot is now outside edge of the coat) since the sleeves weren’t very big on her, and I didn’t want her chubby little baby wrists to be trapped in too-tight sleeves.

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Here’s a quick shot of the seam from the bottom hem all the way up through the arm. Seriously. Easiest. sewing. ever.

6. The coat was also a bit long, so I folded under the bottom hem, and stitched a quick seam using the current one (white) as my guide

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7. I hauled her out her bed, sleepy-eyed and confused, plunked the coat back on her, snapped a quick pic, then buckled her up and drove off to teach BODYCOMBAT.

IMG_1952I realize this is a bit of an awkward pose, but her feet were planted like the roots of a 100-year-old tree, folks, and I have about a dozen other pictures with them in the exact same position because I couldn’t get her to budge an inch no matter how many crazy dances or silly faces I made. She was barely awake. 

But see how much better the fit is? Not quite as adorable as the huge version, maybe, but definitely more practical

(By the way, I’m not the only one who uses this method. Mandy from Biblical Homemaking beat me to this post a while back, and she even altered the width of some pants with great success!)

So…you may be wondering how this relates to you if you don’t have kids.

Well, this is actually only maybe the third time I’ve tailored my kids’ clothes. Most of the time, I’m doing some sort of quick nip-tuck to my own thrifted finds, like this mustard cropped cardi that I wore to Super Night with Super Mom.

Size: XL.

It was okay. There wasn’t any real necessity for its being super-fitted, especially with the outfit I wore it with.

But when I took it with me to Blissdom to pair with my already super-flowy floral maxi, I knew it need a little taking in.

So, I employed the exact same process that I used on Della’s coat, and voilà!

Literally five minutes later, I had a much better fitting cardi—especially in the arm/torso.

So, how about we take a gander at my latest project:

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It’s the perfect candidate for this kind of fix—a, Anthro-esque tunic dress that’s super-comfy and has really pretty colors (and even a draw string waist, which helps with the fit) but at two-three sizes larger than my normal range, it’s just too blousy and “figure-enhancing” for my taste.

Price?: $16.99, regular price from Marshall’s.

But I’m afraid you’ll have to wait until tomorrow’s Wardrobe Wednesday post to see the big reveal (and the shoes I chose to wear it with; I’ll need a bit of help from you guys on that count).

I know. Mean.

Sorry about that. (Don’t I sound it?)

So, what about you guys? Are you intermediate sewers like me? Never touched a needle in your life? Seamstresses extraordinaire?

I’d love to hear your stories and tips, so feel free to share away in the comments! 

Monday  The CSI project ~ Menu Plan Monday ~ C.R.A.F.T.  ~ The Southern Institute ~ Making the World Cuter ~ Thrify Décor Chick ~ Metamorphosis Monday ~ Sumo Sweet Stuff ~ Gunny Sack ~ Singing Three Little Birds ~DIY Homes Sweet Home ~ Dittle Dattle ~ 1929 Charmer ~ Everything Under the Moon  ~ ModMix Monday ~ Sew Stylish ~ Coastal Charm ~ Under the Table and Dreaming

Tuesday ~Sew Crafty Tuesday Get Your Craft ~ Tip Junkie ~ Blackberry Vine ~ Crafty Confessions ~ Me & my Boys ~ A Bowl Full of Lemons ~ Home Stories A-Z ~ My Uncommon Slice of Suberbia  ~ Carolyn’s Homework ~ Sugar Bee Crafts ~ House of Grace ~ Passionately Artisitc ~ My World Made by Hand ~ Uncommon Designs ~ Trendy Treehouse

Wednesday ~it’s Overflowing Blue Cricket Design ~ Somedays Crafts ~ Sew Much Ado ~ Sew Woodsy ~ Handy Man, Crafty Woman ~ Savvy Southern Style ~ {Primp} ~ Midweek Fiesta ~ Rae Gun Ramblings ~ Polkadots On Parade ~ Lollipop Cards ~ JAQS Studio ~ Let Birdz Fly ~ Let Birdz Fly ~ My Girlish Whims

Thursday ~ Transformation Thursdays ~ Somewhat simple ~ Show off your stuff ~ House of Hepworths ~ Delightful Order ~ My Simple Home Life ~ The Frugal Girls ~ Thrifty Thursday ~ DIY Diva Thursday ~ Tablescape Thursday ~ No Minimalists Here ~ Crafty, Scrappy, Happy ~ Thrifty Decorating ~ Between U and Me ~ 36th Avenue

Friday ~ The Shabby nest  ~ Show and Tell Friday ~ Finding Fabulous ~ I’m Loving it ~ Simply Sweet Home ~ Whipper Berry ~ Chic on a Shoestring decorating ~ Spunky Junky ~ Delicate Construction ~ Homemaker in Heels ~ Family Ever After~ French Country Cottage ~ Common Ground ~ Young And Crafty ~ At the Picket Fence ~ Fingerprints on the Fridge ~ Miss Mustard Seed ~ Addicted to Decorating ~Bacon Time with The Hungry Hypo ~ Making Lemonade ~ I Can’t Stop Crafting ~ Over the Big Moon ~ Shabby Art ~ Answer is Chocolate

Saturday ~ I heart nap time- Sundae Scoop ~ Tatertots and Jello ~ Be different Act Normal ~ Funky Junk ~ 2805 ~ Making Lemonade Blog ~I am Along for the Ride  ~ Lolly Jane

Sundays ~ Homemaker on a Dime ~ Sunday’s Best

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19 thoughts on “Try-it Tuesday: Ghetto Tailoring Tips

  1. It’s great to be able to do quick fixes like this! I started working on one last night that I’m super excited about. I’m taking some old really flared jeans and turning them into cropped skinny jeans. I can’t wait to see how they look!

  2. I can’t stand how cute your kidlets are! This one in particular is a lil’ doll-face. OOOOhhh…I wanna squeeze those cheeks! :)

    And, awesome tips! I’ve been doing a bit of sewing lately and will definitely file this info away. I’m featuring this post later today. Thanks for linking up!

  3. Nice post.All the picks are really superb.Your baby is so cute.Thanks for sharing this post with us.I like this .Keep in touch with us in future too.

  4. I like your daughter’s jacket! Pretty cute! The baby is so nice and beautiful like her mom! I liked your latest project. It looks gorgeous! I am looking forward to more new projects!

  5. Good tips. I have a few things that I have thought of taking… I just need to bite the bullet so to speak. Love the mustard cardi with the maxi… bliss!!! Looking forward to seeing what you do with the tunic dress.

  6. Her little jacket is SOOO cute!
    I can’t wait until Bitsy is big enough to rock some adorable gear like that!

  7. dying over your post title!
    can you put your ‘ghetto’ sewing to whip me up a jacket like that – it is adorable!! and you daughter is so incredibily cute!

    you did a pretty good job I’d say.

  8. I LOVE this post! I just recently used the same technique to turn one of my favorite maternity sweaters into an every day sweater. I was so impressed with myself. I will definitely be using this technique again, especially since I know others do it too!

  9. Oh boy, this could be the blog that takes me from a well-equipped (machine, needles, thread, etc.) intimidated scaredy cat into a sew-er. Look at what you’ve done! Bravo, and keep on keeping on.

  10. I’m the same kind of seamstress…ghetto! I do love to sew, but still consider myself a novice. Love the tips. I’ve employed some similar moves myself. I don’t have much to offer, but I’m a total fan of the DIY tailoring method. Deep down, I wish I had some real tailoring skillz :)

  11. So VERY VERY VERY Cute!!!! Baby Girl that is.. :) the jacket is adorable as well… Great finds as always.

  12. Hi, I have to tell you that you have inspired me to give Goodwill another shot. I’ve been there so many times and come up empty-handed that I had given up on it. But, seeing your finds and what you’ve been able to do with them has inspired me to try it again. Sooo, I went back to one and came out with five dresses!!! Granted, I need to make minor changes to some of them, but they have so much potential. I am in the process of making the adjustments and I’ll be writing about it afterward with before/after photos. Thank you for the encouragement and your challenges. I love seeing the great outfits you come up with. Hugs, Kathy

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