If you never became acquainted with the sewing machine, one thing to bear in mind about having alterations done by a tailor or dressmaker is that alterations can be costly, if it’s a simple adjustment ie: lengthening or shortening a garment then alterations can be considered, however, if a garment requires major alterations like remodeling, ask yourself these questions – how many times are your going to wear it? does this garment have sentimental meaning for you? or is it a rear item that cannot be replaced? since the cost of alterations can be considerably more than purchasing a new garment.


The reason for the increase costs is because when remodeling the garment it has to be taken apart before the necessary adjustments can be made and this can be time consuming and painstaking project.  Also bear in mind that remodeling can change the look and fit of the garment and you may not necessarily get the result you had in mind,  You will have to be open to collaborate with the tailor/dressmaker to create a completely new look than you first envisioned.


  • In this tutorial I’ll show you how to line a sweater.
  • Lining a sweater will keep the shape in tact and give added warmth.
  • Suggested fabric for lining a sweater is cotton jersey or acetate, the stretch in the fabric will be malleable and will adjust to the stretch in the knitted sweater.


Always wash the sweater before lining to allow for shrinkage.



 1:  Fold sweater in two and place on top of lining.
  • (You don’t have to measure)  Cut the outline of the sweater leaving approximately  1 1/2 inch


  • (1/2″ seam allowance  and 1″ for ease).
2:  Cut the back as one piece.
3:  Cut the front same as back but leave it open down the front.
  4:   Stitch back and front lining together and clip under arm for ease.
5:   Pin lining to sweater and hand hem around the neck, down the front, the bottom and around the sleeve.
  • There may be excess fabric because the lining is cut bigger than the sweater, if this happens make small tucks in the center back neckline and at the bottom back of the lining.
  • If there is more excess you can make small tucks as you hem the lining manipulating the fabric as you go to make it fit.
(The excess fabric is okay because the lining has to be slightly bigger than the sweater)
  • The lining will not lie flat because it has to be slightly bigger than the actual sweater.
finished lined sweater



People ask me all the time why alterations are so expensive, one lady said to me she “just” wanted a jacket taken in and the tailor charged her much more than she expected.  When anyone come to me for alterations they always say to me all I want done is “just”… In my experience when people have no sewing experience invariable they underestimate the process of alterations that’s why they so often use the word “just”, for instance the lady who wanted her jacket “just” taken in had no concept of the work that had to be done to get her jacket fitted to her size.

First the lining had to be taken out and that is time consuming, then the armhole had to be adjusted because when the jacket is taken in at the sides it will affect the armhole, then the lining had to be adjusted to the size of the jacket and that in turn will affect the hem of the jacket therefore it had to be re-hemmed, so as you see it’s not a “just” it is a very detailed and time consuming projecr


Redesigning a purple chiffon dress



The original dress was very simple, but I wanted to spruce it up to attend a wedding


I purchased about a 1/4 yd. of purple lace and cut out the motif pattern to make an applique

I embellished the applique with tiny pearls, beads and sequins


Then I formed a design following the shape of the wrap top, draped the skirt and formed a rosette at the waist for emphasis.  This gave the dress an entirely new look.


You don’t have to be a couturier to do your own alterations, just learn the basics. There are sewing classes available both online or sit-in classes which ever best suits your needs. If you love fashion learning the basics of sewing will save you a fortune in alterations and the added bonus of being decked off in the latest trends.







  • I wore this outfit to a wedding a few years ago.
  • I recently  revamp it and made it more exciting by smocking the bottom of the skirt.
You can access smocking patterns on-line or you can design your own as I did for this skirt.



On Remodeling 

Remodeling  a garment is a tricky and time consuming operation and a skill that should not be underestimated.  Unless the item that needs alterations has special significance to you  it may be more feasible to purchase a new outfit.



I had a long sleeve shirt that was too tight across the chest , arm and midriff  but I wanted to keep it because I love the tartan plaid pattern.
If you have a shirt that is too small you can insert a gusset at the sides to make it fit.
  • First I cut the sleeve.  I needed the extra fabric to make the gusset to insert at  the side of the shirt so  it will fit


  • Then I cut 2 cone shapes from the underside of the two cut sleeves,

(see the diagram)

  • However if you want the gusset to extend to the hem of the shirt the gusset will the same width to the hem of the shirt. (ie: it will be a rectangle instead of cone shape)



  • Open both side of the shirt from end of sleeve to the point you want the gusset to end.

(if necessary open all the way down the side of the shirt).



  • Measure around arm and cut another piece of fabric to add width to sleeve to widen.
  • Join the under sleeve piece to side gusset as seen in diagram.
  • (If there is enough fabric you can cut the under sleeve and side gusset as one piece without joining underarm)
  • Base to secure in place before stitching.
  • Sew from end of sleeve to desired point you want the gusset to end.
  • For this alteration the widest part of the gusset and the under sleeve is 4″ and tapered to a cone shape since I did not want the gusset to the hem of the shirt.
  • This measurement will vary depending on your personal measurements and how loose you want the shirt to fit.
  • The gusset is inserted from end of sleeve to the point where you would to have the increase or to the hem of the shirt.
Take an old shirt and transform it 
into a beautiful summer dress
In this tutorial I’ll show you how to take an old shirt and make it into a beautiful summer dress.
  • You can insert lace or a different colour fabric in-between.
  • I am a lacy girl so I added lace for a feminine look
1:  Take off the pocket and the collar being careful not to rip the fabric.
  • I left  the  collar stand so the dress will have a tunic collar.
2:  To make the halter use a ruler to draw a straight line from the shoulder to underarm and cut away the sleeve.
3:  Determine how widet you want to insert lace or contrasting fabric.  Start cutting from under the arm so as not to alter the armhole.
4:  Number each section, so they will not get mixed up when stitching pieces together.
5:  Stitch the lace in between in number  sequence.


I wanted the shirt fitted so I took in the sided.  this is optional.



Some shirts are tapered if this is the case you can adjust the lace using a small dart to align with the side seam so it will fit flush around the shirt.



Leave the number pinned on until the dress is complete.




  • I added lace down the front for emphasis.

This is a fun project. it can be worn as a dress or with tights underneath.



Redesigning an old shirt
Shirts are so versatile, you can convert them into most any style.  You can make them into dresses, skirts, crop tops the possibilities of redesigning shirts are endless.  If you scroll down there are more ideas for redesigning shirts.


This is a shirt that I had in the donation pile that
I gave a second chance to live
  • First I folded the back of the shirt in half and then over again so the center fold meet the side seam, this gave me three slits in the back of the shirt.  Then I pressed the seams so I will get a straight line to cut  (see diagram).
  • The next step is to cut three pieces of contrasting fabric the length of the slits  into cone shapes to insert in the slits
  • Insert cone shape contrast into slits and stitch.  (see above diagram)
  • After inserting the cone shape into the slits, I began a design as you go project.
  • I placed tabs from under the collar on the shoulder down to meet the cuff and enhance it with a decorative button.
  • I finished the back slits by placing three covered buttons on the top of each insert of emphasis.
  • To add interest to the front of the shirt and make it more roomy I added piece of the contrasting fabric down the front of the shirt.





Altuzarra Resort


Lace has been very popular for the past few seasons it’s so romantic and can add new dimension to an outfit.  You can duplicate designer trends with items you already have in your wardrobe.



I revamped this tired old shirt to simulate the design from Altuzarra Resort and adapted the look to my personality and comfort level.





I purchased this lace on sale at the fabric store and stitched it around the bottom hem and around the sleeve of the shirt.






The finished look.  I teamed it up with a cuffed capri ideal for summer,




Lengthening or shortening a skirt seems to be a simple operation however, if the skirt is lined the lining has to be shortened also, plus  adjusting the length of the skirt may have an affect on how the skirt falls and the sides may have to be worked on. .

Adjusting a skirt waist – If you just need 2″ or less reduced that can be done by taking in the sides of the skirt . If you need 2″ or less expanded on the waist this can be done by taking off the waist band and adding a facing instead of the waist band (if its a fitted skirt)

If you are dealing with pleats or gathers or more than a 2″ adjustment I suggest you buy a new skirt.  It’s not worth the dressmaker’s time or your money.

Last but not least the fabric has  be taken into consideration – chiffon, jersey, light weight, or loose weave fabrics are more difficult to adjust than stable heavy weight fabrics like denim or tweed etc.

Adjusting one part may affect other elements of the garment and the dressmaker/tailor will factor in the cost based on the level of difficulty and time spent working on the garment hence the reason the dressmake/tailor will give an estimate and the price may change when the alterations are completed.




Transforming a Man’s Shirt into Chic!



Here’s How



  • I prefer converting a man’s shirt because it is bigger and longer which gives your more options for designs.
  • The way I altered this shirt was first I shaped the sides and placed front and back darts to make the shirt more fitted,
  • Then I made the shoulder narrow by taking in the top of the sleeve on the shoulder.
  • I wanted to keep the sleeves long but pulled up over the elbow.
  • To give the cuffs enough room to pull over the elbow I made a fake cuff links with elastic.
For this project you will need:  Notions:  Four buttons with hooks that thread, narrow tube elastic, needle and thread
  • 1:  To narrow the shoulder – You can either put a shoulder dart or take in the sleeve at top of shoulder
  • 2:  I made fake cuff links with buttons with hooks at the back so that the elastic can thread through.  (Narrow tube elastic cut approximately 3″ long)
  • 3:  Thread the button with the elastic and pull elastic through one button
  • 4:  Then through the buttonhole in the sleeve cuff
  • 5:   Continue to pull the elastic through the other buttonhole and through the other button then join both ends of the elastic  by hand stitching to secure,  It should look like the diagram below.
The cuffs should look like the picture above.
I slit the shirt to the waist and put trim around the collar and cuff for a chic look


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