Thursday, 22 January 2015

Crafted Couture : Silk dress alterations

It has been a while since my last clothing blog, so here is a simple alteration for a dress that no longer fits. 

Alteration know how is a very handy skill especially in vintage stores when the fit decades ago differs from the shapes we are today.
Common alterations are taking up hems and making garments smaller, but what can be done when something is too tight?
I found this beautiful pale pink silk and lace dress in the charity shop for £5, it was tight enough to strain the seams which would eventually have ruined it.
 The first thing to look at when making something bigger is inside the garment.  How much of a seam allowance is there to play with and make this case, none! 
The next thing to decide is where the garment needs made bigger, in this case down both side seams. There was no extra fabric here as they were French seamed.  So extra fabric had to be found from elsewhere. This is where the waist tie belt came in.
So this is how I added an extra size into the dress...

Turn the garment inside out and with a sharp pair of shears trim away the French seam.
The belt is thick enough that if I make it half the width I can use the other half to add into the dress side seams.

Trim close to the belt edge cutting away the stitching. This saves time unpicking.
The belt is now split in half, and happens to be the exact same length as the side seam!
Press the belt fabric and join it to the side seam, making a new French seam. 
 Second stage of the French seam.
Close up of the finished French seam which has given me an extra few centimetres each side.

With the original tie belt now half its width, put the right sides together, sew a straight seam and then pull through with a safety pin as shown.
Turn it all out the correct way and press.  Its the same length as the original belt, but now half the width.
Room to breathe.

 A very discreet alteration in the side seam.  And it now fits perfectly.
Till next time


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