What alterations have you made to clothing or accessories?

What alterations have you made to clothing or accessories?


I occasionally make small alterations to clothing or accessories to either make them fit better or make them more functional. Yesterday when I was working on my latest couple of projects it made me curious what kinds of alternation other people do.

For example my two projects yesterday were small, but I’m really proud of them.

The first was to a bathing suit. I spent last summer looking for a one piece suit that was cute, supportive in the bust, and long enough for me (I’m 5’9″) and I just couldn’t find anything I liked. So last fall I ended up buying a suit off of Amazon for $30, it didn’t offer any support in the bust, but my plan was to sew one of my old bikini tops into it which I finally did yesterday, and I couldn’t be happier with the results. I don’t have a picture of myself in the suit, but [this](https://imgur.com/hOyiKTO) is the picture from Amazon. Note in that picture the model was clearly wearing a bra that was photoshopped out or something because without the addition that I sewed in it flattened me out like a pancake.

The second alteration that I did was to my [Madewell Canvas Tote](https://imgur.com/a/93bOjCn). I wanted to add a cross body strap to it so I ordered some D-rings with attached leather tabs off of etsy and a strap from Amazon and put it all together. Madewell does make a canvas tote with a cross body strap now, but it is slightly smaller in dimension than the bad I have and I like the size of mine.

the alternations I make are usually fairly small like the ones of above sometimes hemming or slightly taking something in. I’d love to hear about, and especially if you have pictures see, the kinds of alterations other people make big or small.



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Comments ( 34 )
  1. xNotMagicx
    May 31, 2018 at 2:30 pm
    Reply

    No pictures at the moment, but I’ve hemmed a vintage skirt and a dress I got off Etsy, and I have another vintage skirt that’s awaiting a hem. The hemmed skirt is a wool maxi skirt in a red plaid that I’d guess is from the 70s or 80s. I hemmed it by hand to midi length and love it for the fall/winter.

    The dress is a wild jungle-and-parrot print dress from the 80s, also originally a maxi. I intended to make that one a midi skirt, but accidentally cut it too short, so I’ll probably re-hem it at some point to it hits an inch or so above the knee (it’s currently right at knee length, which is fine but not ideal). Used a sewing machine for this job.

    The skirt awaiting a hem is a maxi suede skirt in a beautiful rich brown color, I’m guessing from the 70s. Also destined to be midi length. Since it’s suede I don’t actually need to hem anything but the lining, but I’ve been putting off giving it the chop since I don’t intend to wear a suede midi skirt until fall.

    I’ve got a few other works-in-progress lying around–some thrift shop blouses that need to be taken in, an 80’s era purple skirt I’ve disassembled for the fabric, a navy floral 80’s dress I want to update into a more modern summery silhouette… It’s supposed to rain all this weekend, so maybe I’ll knock some of these projects out.

    I’ve also got some novelty parrot shoes from the 80s that I almost never wear because the way the leather on the interior sides of the shoe rubs the sides of my feet uncomfortably. I need to figure out a way to smooth those over so I can actually wear them.

  2. any_name_left
    May 31, 2018 at 3:06 pm
    Reply

    I’ll do *SMALL* things myself but most things I take to a tailor. I am not very good at sewing yet.

    Being petite almost all of the straps on shirts/dress are too long, sleeves are too long, hems on pants and skirts are too long. I am also curvy. So the waist often has to come in too.

    I am practicing on my sewing, and hope to move on to alterations at some point.

    I have hemmed jeans and khaki pants, slacks still go to a tailor. I have shortened lanyards and vests. The vest was the hardest (and TBH not great) but I’m proud of it. I had to wear a vest for work every day and being short, it came almost to my knees so I shortened it! Done lots of repairs, loose seam, buttons, holes, ect.

  3. patappldfr
    May 31, 2018 at 4:26 pm
    Reply

    I have done a few things myself, namely hemming a pair of lined slacks to go with flats and taking in the sides of a dress that looked too boxy on me… I am not skilled enough to sew on anything stretchy or delicate, lol. My dream is to own a serger and be skilled with it, but that is a long way off.

    A couple of years ago I bought a dress that was too long (and fit ok otherwise), and as I didn’t have a sewing machine at the time I looked up a tailor to do a quick hem job. I tried on the dress for him to measure and he made a few marks on it. When I picked it up a few days later, the fit was PERFECT—he had nipped in the dress in a number of places, taking care to match up the pattern on the fabric and reattach the lining perfectly. Totally a professional tailoring convert, now.

  4. AravisTarkheena
    May 31, 2018 at 4:42 pm
    Reply

    I have a bunch of skirts that were my grandma’s in the 60s-80s that I’ve shortened. I love them, because they were made back when women were expected to have more of a waist and as such they actually fit! What a luxury.

  5. BoozeBabe
    May 31, 2018 at 4:46 pm
    Reply

    I have a sewing machine as of this Christmas, but have worked no seamstressy magic as of yet.

    My alteration was taking the bust pads out of a plunging neckline drapey top so that it would actually drape instead of sticking out weirdly. Inspired by reviews on Wish telling me to do exactly that.

    I feel bad about myself haha.

  6. foreignfishes
    May 31, 2018 at 5:19 pm
    Reply

    I’ve done little sewing things like shortening straps and resewing seams that I accidentally ripped open trying to remove one of those tags in the side of a shirt (oops), but my angriest alteration had to be when the TSA manhandled my duffel bag and managed to break BOTH of the clips and strap attachments that attached the shoulder strap to the bag. After I awkwardly lugged it home with no strap, I cut the webbing on the bag and refashioned it into new loops, melted them together with a lighter, and got two carabiners to attach the strap again. I also used a friend’s sewing machine to put some stitches into the webbing. THE TSA WILL NEVER BREAK MY BAG AGAIN!

  7. BonhamsFourSticks
    May 31, 2018 at 5:34 pm
    Reply

    I’ve done everything from making myself a dress that was a copy of a Kate Spade dress I wanted but couldn’t afford or find in my size, altered skirts, taken in shirts for my SO (who has lost close to 100 lbs, but is still 6’5″, so he needs all the length he can get), added “flair” to jackets and shirts, and doing simple hems. I’m not a great seamstress, but it’s a dying art, so I make the skill work for me. I tend to send higher dollar items and higher quality fabrics to a local tailor so I don’t feel guilty if I fudge them up.

  8. mmarouli
    May 31, 2018 at 5:46 pm
    Reply

    I have no sewing talent at all but I’m a fan of washing machine dye.

    These last two weeks I wore:

    * a dress that used to be bright pink and I’ve dyed it a more brown shade of pink so I could wear it to work,
    * a shirt that used to be white and now is fuchsia with bright blue,
    * a dress that used to be pale cream/pink and now is purple,
    * a lacy shirt that used to be white and now is bright green,
    * a grey t-shirt that I didn’t actually dye anything but I used bleach on a qtip to make a dot pattern on it

    Some white clothes use synthetic white thread that will not take dye at all, but I like it. Blindingly white seams make black shirts more interesting.

  9. zlauren
    May 31, 2018 at 6:18 pm
    Reply

    My last alteration was sewing a lace panel to make a plunging neckline in a cocktail dress a little less plunging. I was really happy with the result – the lace was beautiful!

    My next project is just hemming a pair of linen pants. Boring, but necessary.

  10. nostairwayDENIED
    May 31, 2018 at 6:22 pm
    Reply

    I let down the hems of trousers, and also add hidden backwards buttons to the bust of shirts – not because I have a bust, mind, but because I’m broad shouldered and when I move my arms around can sometimes make it gape and not lie back flat when I stop. I have also recently switched out all the buttons on a cardigan because I loved it’s style but it had hideous tacky buttons. Also similar on a silk shirt I found in the sale but missing 2 buttons – they wouldn’t even give me extra off!

    I want to do more ambitious projects, but finding the time!

  11. therealtompetty
    May 31, 2018 at 6:47 pm
    Reply

    On asos the pack of camis with this weird caging detail on the front was way cheaper than the regular camis so I bought the weird ones and just cut out the caging detail so now they look like regular camis. I felt like a thrifty queen.

  12. dreamingrain
    May 31, 2018 at 7:04 pm
    Reply

    I hemmed most of my jeans by hand back in uni, and I have stitched closed some work shirts that are lovely but way too gape-y over my chest. Can’t bust loose if there is no loose to bust!
    Other than that I mostly alter the shirts I buy- I find most band shirts come too high on the neck so I tend to cut out and resew where the collar should be. Handy, if tedious.

  13. derpturtles
    May 31, 2018 at 7:47 pm
    Reply

    I love the ankle pant look but I’m only 5’2″ so I have to hem my pants to get it! I altered [this dress](https://i.imgur.com/VlJogHf.jpg) from a romper – it already looked a lot like a dress, I just cut out the bottom and sewed a line in the front and in the back so I could cut off the extra crotch fabric. My sewing skills are pretty basic but I want to learn to take in pants waistbands next.

  14. nilpferdchen
    May 31, 2018 at 8:20 pm
    Reply

    Can you post a pic of the results of the swimsuit job? We have similar body types and you’ve got me thinking about doing the same thing with that Amazon suit

  15. miss_me_puddin
    May 31, 2018 at 9:06 pm
    Reply

    I volunteer in a thrift shop where I make minor alterations with no one noticing to help certain things sell faster, i.e. cool vest with cheap looking belt? Cut those belt loops off and get rid of the belt! I did that once and it sold within an hour, it had been in the shop for 2-3 weeks beforehand. Sometimes I cut out shoulder pads etc, depending, as some tops look fine with them.

  16. P-L-H
    May 31, 2018 at 9:31 pm
    Reply

    I’ve sewn hidden snaps in to the hems of two pairs of wide leg trousers so that I can wear them with different height shoes. Have also embroidered little doodles and initials over small stains that I couldn’t get out in a thread matching the material. Felting needles and wool robing are great for repairing holes in wool. Have nipped in the waist on a pair of old orange tab Levi’s and replaced the leather straps on my mom’s old straw bag (used the speedy stitch sewing awl, such a good tool). Right now I’m trying to alter the neckline of a cheap polyester sheath dress I loved when I was younger but I think that’s going to be a failed experiment!

  17. robotgwen
    May 31, 2018 at 11:11 pm
    Reply

    I’ve started getting into sewing/alterations recently:

    I have a giant tank top (men’s XL) that I shortened (just cut off and left the edge raw) and then took in the sides.

    And I tapered a pair of my wide-legged linen pants to be joggers. I didn’t really know what I was doing, I pinned the outer edge and then cut and sewed. The new edge doesn’t line up to the original edge so it’s a bit weird (there are two seams around the back of my thigh) but it’s not really noticeable. I’m really pleased that it worked out!

    I cut off another pair of linen pants (they were too long) and pinned them, I just need to sew up the new hem.

    I sew everything by hand (don’t have a machine nor know how to use one). The stitching isn’t pretty but it’s functional. And I think I’m getting better at it.

  18. hownottoadult
    May 31, 2018 at 11:22 pm
    Reply

    i’ve stapled the cuffs on a pair of pants several times because i was too short for them and i was running late

  19. katzed
    May 31, 2018 at 11:35 pm
    Reply

    I have a pot full of black dye and two silk tops simmering on my stove right now! One was originally hot pink and the other cream with a navy plaid. I expect the plaid to still show through, and I’m using cheap dye over cheap thrift store blouses, so it’s not high stakes.

    I sew for myself more than I alter items, but I have: taken in the waist of wool pants, hemmed pants and skirts, removed trim and hemmed a long black linen skirt, taken apart an 80s silk floral dress to make a skirt and top, restored leather bags and shoes with cleaning and polishing, used fabric/zippers/buttons from thrift store items to make new items.

  20. 8337
    May 31, 2018 at 11:47 pm
    Reply

    I have thick calves so I buy straight leg jeans and take them in at the ankle to create skinnies that actually fit.

    I also buy white or off-white pieces of clothing and custom dye them to get the exact shade I want. I started doing this when I fell in love with the “cream blush” Pantone colour and wasn’t able to find anything in that exact shade.

  21. sophiabk
    June 1, 2018 at 12:00 am
    Reply

    I take the pockets out of dresses that I know I’ll never put anything in them. Not as fun as some of the above answers but it gives me a cleaner line which is appreciated.

  22. milkywayinradius
    June 1, 2018 at 12:16 am
    Reply

    I removed the Abercrombie and Fitch logo from the bottom of [these button down shirts](https://www.abercrombie.com/shop/us/p/striped-button-up-shirt-10790921?seq=04&categoryId=6570723&ofp=true). It’s not much in terms of sewing/alterations, but I’m happy with not having the logo on my shirts.

  23. vagueconfusion
    June 1, 2018 at 1:10 am
    Reply

    I hem a lot of my trousers and skirts because I’m only 5’4.5″ but I’m addicted to maxi skirts and flares (those take a fair bit of time to adjust the length of, then hem). I took about 7-ish inches off a skirt I was insanely in love with (and still love to pieces) because it is a full circle maxi skirt, which are normally difficult to find or expensive and it was also too much faff to send back. I’ve also had accidents with removing tags that I’ve been fixing. I’ve made a few length pencil skirts and side slit pencil skirts but I’m going to start work on a big cloak in a few months so that I can wear it through the Autumn and Winter. I tend to sacrifice old bed sheets and table cloths while I make mock-ups. Takes twice the time but saves my good fabric from all manner of mistakes.

    I’m looking into getting a double needle for my sewing machine so that I can make replica stretch tees by copying existing but damaged/old/faded ones and taking them apart. I’ve heard that using one can be used instead of an overlocker. (The reason I’m going to so much effort for certain tees is that the tees in question are the most flattering cut. And I’ve never found anything as good since. A not too deep nor too shallow boat neck that’s very flattering on on wide shoulders + a big bust with the most perfect 3/4 sleeve that you never need to push up or pull down.)

  24. cflatjazz
    June 1, 2018 at 1:25 am
    Reply

    As a short person with a sewing machine, I hem ALL THE THINGS.

    But also occasionally I’ll wind up getting a dress with a cute pattern that gapes oddly at the bust or the waist sits too low. I’ve been know to take an inch out of the inside shoulders to help with a gaping bust or raise the skirt if its sitting too low.

    I draw the line at resetting sleeves. Too much trouble.

  25. Eightinchnails
    June 1, 2018 at 2:23 am
    Reply

    Just smaller things. I hem pants with no issue. I’ve made men’s t shirts fitted for my body. The fanciest thing I did was take these absurd flutter sleeves off of a fancy dress, then wore it to my company’s holiday party, I was so proud of that!

    I want to be able to do more, Ive been practicing with making clothes but nothing I would wear yet.

  26. absitively
    June 1, 2018 at 5:07 am
    Reply

    I hem my own (non-denim) pants, shorten skirts/tops/sleeves, and sometimes taking in the sides. That’s honestly about it – nothing that’s not a fairly straight line is still harrowing for me. I can do small maintenance things, like sewing on buttons, shortening straps, fixing loose seams, etc. I’m perfectly willing to pay someone else to take in the waist of my jeans or fix a huge rip in the back of a jacket (I thought about trying it myself, but the way my tailor did it is seamless and looks perfect – totally worth the $20).

    I am thinking of trying some larger alterations soon. I have a shift dress that’s a bit tight in the hips that I might turn into a top, and I have a dress where I want to enlarge the neckline to make it a boatneck (from a very tight crewneck).

  27. facciabella
    June 1, 2018 at 5:55 am
    Reply

    Ah I need to sew in some support to my swimsuits! Never even thought about it to be honest. I don’t tend to alter my items myself, but curious as to whether anyone has adjusted the bottoms on a swimsuit – the elastic part on the bottom always digs in to my thighs/butt and I’d like to make them just lay flat.

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    June 1, 2018 at 7:14 am
    Reply

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  29. Adapter20
    June 1, 2018 at 1:05 pm
    Reply

    I have very few sewing skills (basically I can attach buttons and *maybe* hem a skirt), but I do little “alterations” to my clothes/shoes all the time. With clothing, I often remove visible labels, embroidery I don’t like, cut off sleeves, switch out buttons, etc. I’ll sometimes use my screen printing equipment to remake graphic tees that have gotten ruined. With shoes, I’ll remove decorations if necessary, but making alterations to shoes can be tricky depending on their construction.

  30. [deleted]
    June 1, 2018 at 1:35 pm
    Reply

    I sew snaps between the buttons on my button downs . It prevents the gaping at the bust line.

  31. medi-ochre
    June 1, 2018 at 2:38 pm
    Reply

    I’m short with even shorter legs. Absolutely everything gets hemmed.

  32. purplecookies101
    June 1, 2018 at 3:45 pm
    Reply

    I love how Tshirts in the size men’s medium fits my broader shoulders, but I feel like the length and shape are unflattering around my stomach. What I’ve started doing is cutting loose men’s shirts into slightly cropped tops to wear with my high waisted jeans and shorts.

  33. katie-didnot
    June 1, 2018 at 6:34 pm
    Reply

    This alteration was more petty than anything else. When I was in middle/high school my father would get mad at me for not wearing a belt. “If your pants have belt loops it means you’re supposed to wear a belt with them.” So one night I took the manicure scissors from the bathroom and I spent two hours removing the belt loops from all of my jeans.

  34. tourmalie
    June 1, 2018 at 9:22 pm
    Reply

    I am petite and fairly thin with big breasts. I often have to size up to accommodate them. One thing that helps is to make sure that the sleeves don’t swallow me up, so I get long sleeves hemmed to 3/4 or bracelet length, sometimes with a bit of a taper. This detail makes things more flattering.

    I also try to hem skirts, no matter the length, to hit on a slim part of my leg.

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