Weekend alteration project #2, taking in the sides. Sorry I didn’t take a before photo, but basically, imagine it was very boxy originally.
This is something I’ve gotten very used to doing, because I have large enough upper arms (especially after I started lifting and grew some real muscles there), that I’m actually often a size bigger in the arms than I am in the torso. Women’s clothes, it turns out, are not generally cut for muscled upper arms.
So if I want something which lets me move my arms, but also actually fits along the torso (and usually I do, because at 5’0″, a blocky shape just makes me look like I’m swathed in fabric), I end up taking in the sides. (Maybe I watched too much What Not To Wear — I can hear Stacy London’s voice talking about how you want your clothes to ‘skim the body’….)
The stitching is easier to see on the back panel of fabric (which is a contrasting plain orange) — I start right at the armpit, curve in, and then either run that seam straight down, or curve out again at the bottom (depending on what kind of shape I’m going for).
If I’m going to take it in more than this, I usually do it in stages — I’ll do the first inch or so on both sides, try it on, decide that yes, I want to take it in more, then do another line of stitching, an inch or half-inch further in. And so on.
If I’ve gone in a lot, when I’m done and gotten it to a shape I like, I’d cut off the original sewn edge, and press the seams flat, so it’d lay better. But honestly, I didn’t bother doing that with this one — I don’t need the alteration to be perfect. I am a very amateur sewist, and all the people who know what they’re doing with alterations should feel free to comment on how to do it better. I’d welcome your tips.
The nice thing about not cutting off the original seam, is if I ever decide I do want to go back to the original blocky shape, or if I pass this top on to someone else who wants to, it’s easy to rip out the line of black stitching. Maybe not on something like silk, which I think would show the holes, but on lots of fabrics.
When you buy an Indian sari blouse, which generally has been handmade for you, they usually have a few lines of stitching and a little extra fabric at the side seams, so you can rip out a line or two if you get bigger.
I think that’s it for tonight — it’s past my bedtime, and sewing-when-tired = mistakes!