Have you got items in your wardrobe that you put on and then take straight back off again? There’s just something about it that’s not right but you can’t quite put your finger on it… Instead of buying something new, it may be that a simple tweak could be all that’s needed! 

For items we have owned for a while or those we picked up secondhand, we are more likely to ‘have a go’ at adjusting our clothing to suit us – and this can become a valuable skill.  

I picked up this green, linen dress because I loved the quality of the fabric and the gorgeous shape… but I hated the colour! So I dyed it black!

A word of caution though – the linen fabric is a natural fibre and so took the dye well; the polyester stitching (a man-made product made from plastic) won’t take this dye as well and has remained green. Manufacturers will often use polyester thread as it is cheaper and more durable. I actually like this detail but it is something to be aware of!

During wardrobe edits with my clients, I suggest alterations to items if they are not quite hitting the mark for them!  Here are my most common alterations suggestions:  

1. Adjusting the length. At 5ft 3.5″ (the half is very important!) most trousers are too long for me so I have learnt to re-hem them at the correct length. Conversely if you have longer limbs, you can either try making the garment more obviously “cropped” or add in extra cuffs or trims to give extra length where needed. 

2. Shoulder pads are a game-changer. Changing the structure at the shoulder-line affects the drape of a garment and can help to bring balance to your frame.

3. Cutting off eye-catching bands at the bottom of tops (my pet hate)!  They usually sit at the widest part of the body and distort the visuals of the whole outfit. 

4. Reach for the dye! Great fit but wrong colour for you?  Dying clothes is very simple and can be done in the washing machine, on the stove or in a bucket. Again, always check the instructions and your fabric type (watch out for the thread colour!).  This is also great for just refreshing those favourite black jeans!  You can get dye from any fabric shop, hardware shops or Amazon.

5. Change the buttons! Quite often buttons are not to my colouring or style personality. A quick change of the buttons is easy and can really transform a piece making it unique to you. 

6. Adding embellishments. If you are a ‘more is more’ kind of person, go for it! A great source of inspiration is Nicole Akong from the Sewing Bee. 

7. Tweak the fit.  If something isn’t fitting right, could you let out a seam, create a dart for more shaping or perhaps take off the sleeves?  Play around with some pins and get creative! For example, folding over a shoulder seam on a larger shirt can produce a lovely pleating detail as well as a good shoulder fit. See my Instagram story under “Sewing” for how I adjusted the waistband on the green trousers below).

8. For those of you who are more experienced, refashioning a garment into something completely different is such a joy – jeans into skirts, maxi dresses into jumpsuits, standard button-down shirts into pretty blouses.  The sky’s the limit!   

Really look at the garment and decide what elements you could change to bring it back into your wardrobe rotation. This can really help to hone your personal style as well as your alteration skills!  

Book a discovery call if you would like my help with your wardrobe!

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