Alter Cloths Yourself So They Fit Perfectly

Years ago sewing was a skill commonly learned by most women and many men. Ready-made clothing was often poorly made and didn't fit well. So people insisted on making their own cloths or, at the very least, making adjustments to the cloths they bought so it would fit better and be more durable.

Not only that, but if a zipper got stuck or the owner's waist line expanded, all could be quickly fixed with a simple repair or alteration.

Today people who can afford fine suits often have a professional tailor perfectly fit the suit to the customer. If you watch TV news anchors and wealthy tycoons, their clothing always fits perfectly.

Unfortunately, the rest of us usually have to put up with cloths that don't fit their best. Even worse, we are forced to purchase new clothing when what we have doesn't fit right anymore or develops problems.

I was very fortunate to learn the skills of a professional tailor early in my career and have perfected my own sewing and alteration methods over the past 30 years.

Don't go around wearing a shirt or dress that needs an alteration to fit you perfectly. Doing your own alterations is quite simple if you use the correct tools. For dresses and shirts, use a grade 120 thread. Anything heavier will make the fabric pucker. Use a regular needle.

Let's say you gained some weight recently, or successfully completed one of the new diets, and your waistline isn't the same as it was when you purchased your jeans.

No problem. Use a slightly heavier needle for altering jeans -- 75's or 36s, sometimes called a jeans needle will work fine. While you're at it, you can quickly take up pant legs to be just the right length for your individual frame.

What if your garment is made from lycra, spandex, or other stretch knit material? Many people tell me "my sewing machine won't sew that type of material."

The problem is with the needle you're using. For lycra and similar fabrics, use a Stretch needle. This type of needle is also called a ball point or special point needle. You'll find your sewing machine works fine with this fabric once you have the correct needle in place.

Frequently a perfectly good coat or pants will be discarded when the zipper malfunctions. Don't throw the clothing away. Instead, take out the old zipper and sew in a new one.

Often you can get tips and pointers by visiting a fabric store. The owner is probably skilled at sewing and certainly knows the in's and out's of needles and thread.

You can also pay a professional tailor to alter or repair a piece of clothing. Ask the tailor to show you how they made the alteration. Frequently you can learn enough to do the job yourself the next time.

By: Jack Heywood

About the Author:
Well-known tailor Jack Heywood has created a visual step-by-step guide to alterations at . His new DVD shows you how to easily alter clothing, let out and take in trousers, replace zippers and much, much more. See parts of the DVD free at his site.