Because everything can be a little cuter

Category Archives: Sewing Projects

Before and after altering a dress

Today being the first day of spring, I felt it was a great day to head to the mall and see if I could add anything to my spring wardrobe! Despite having proven that you are not 21 forever, I ventured into Forever 21 and grabbed a couple of dresses that were each about $10. One fit perfectly, but the other was too big in the bust – unfortunately a typical problem for me.

As I mentioned in this post, I’m really interested in learning to alter clothes, so I decided to buy the dress and give it a try!

It may be hard to see in the above “before” picture, but when I put on the dress as I bought it, it really sagged in the armpits and showed my bra. There was no way I could wear this without a cardigan, and it just made me look frumpy. But I’m tired of always having to wear cardigans with my $10 dresses!

step one of altering a dress

I pinched and tucked and played around with the dress a little, and decided what it needed was the side stitches brought in a little under the arms.

Step two of altering a dress

Next I turned the dress inside out and put it on. If I had a dressform I guess I could just put the dress on there, but alas, I have only myself. This way I could mark about where I wanted to sew to take in the sides.

Step three of altering a dress

I placed pins along where I expected to stitch on each side, and then took the dress back off.

Step four of altering a dress

I did some measuring and decided to take the dress in 1 1/4″ on each side, so I hand-basted a line that started 1 1/4″ from the edge and converged with the existing stitch at the waistline.

step five of altering a dress

I tried the dress on for fit and decided to add a little slack before using my sewing machine to stitch a more permanent line.

step six of altering a dress with a sewing machine

After sewing with the machine, I noticed that on one side the armhole hadn’t lined up properly (left). I possibly could have left it alone and no one would have noticed (or if they did, they’d just assume it was a cheap dress), but I decided to go all the way and fix it. I opened the seam a few inches and re-stitched so that the armhole lined up more smoothly.

step seven of altering a dress with a sewing machine

After trying the dress on for fit, the last step was to trim the seam allowances and finish them with an overlock stitch since I don’t have a serger. Theoretically I could have just left them as they were because they didn’t show through the dress when I wore it, but I decided to go all the way and finish the edges myself.

finished product after altering a dress with a sewing machine

Overall I’m really happy with how it turned out! I have a few dresses that I have this problem with, but they all have something quirky like a lining or a bias finishing on the armhole that would make them a little more difficult to take in, so I’m glad I got to try it for the first time on a dress that I could just pinch in and stitch.

Definitely looking forward to more alterations projects in the future!

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So I went gluten free recently, and that means having to cook a lot of my own foods since most snacky foods or fast foods contain gluten.

Cooking from scratch gets messy. I’ve left hand-shaped marks out of flour, sauces, and many other ingredients during my cooking adventures. So I realized that I need an apron.

I went to JoAnn and went straight to the easy sewing patterns section and found one for an apron that looked pretty simple.

Easy sewing pattern project on Paroxa DesignsI wanted a full body apron so I decided to do the design in the middle. It has pockets, but I have an aversion to food an utensils touching fabric, so I decided not to do the pockets.

It also has little bows on it which I also decided not to do.

So I pulled out the pattern pieces to start cutting.

Laid out easy sewing pattern project from Paroxa DesignsIt’s actually been a while since I used a pattern for sewing. Cutting it out has always been one of the most frustrating parts to me for some reason.

These are the materials I got to do it.

Materials for an apron, an easy sewing project from Paroxa Designs.I went with plain white cotton and aqua/blue accents since the whole color scheme of my apartment living area/kitchen is beachy. I was kind of disappointed to find that since I wasn’t doing the bows, I would only need the bias tape to go all the way around the edge of the apron.

I’ve used bias tape for things like placemats, and it’s always really time consuming so if there’s an alternative I’ll use that.

I did all the cutting and pinning and basting right up until the last step, which was attaching bias tape all the way around the edge. I had decided during the project that I really would rather design my own apron with contrasting pieces of fabric and without multiple yards of bias tape.

I do have one little tip to share for sewing novices though.

2013-07-20 17.21.00When you’re using a sewing pattern, each piece is given a number that’s used to refer to it in the instructions. If you have multiple numbered pieces that are the same shape, it can be helpful to mark them with the number with whatever fabric marking equipment you’re using. I was using disappearing ink on white, but to be safe I wrote it in the seam allowance. When I’m using chalk I just write it big on the piece.

Hopefully soon I’ll have my own personally designed apron to show you!

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