How to alter a skirt to make it smaller

As someone who has been sewing and altering clothes for quite a few years now I thought it was about time that I shared my knowledge.

I thought that I would start showing you all basic step by step guides on how to alter clothing in the hope that I can persuade you all to buy more secondhand clothing. With most of the secondhand clothing that I buy, I either paint on it or sew it into something that fits me a bit better. I often see things that are gorgeous but are a few sizes to big so I get them anyway and make a few alterations.

Just because something isn’t in your size it shouldn’t put you off buying it, all you need is some basic sewing skills and you’re all good. You may even have family members that could give you a hand!

I saw this gorgeous brown corduroy mini skirt for Β£1.50 in Oxfam and knew that I wanted it even though it was a size 14/16. I photographed every step of me altering it so I hope that any of you find this useful.

Firstly you gotta try it on and see what you’re working with. As you can see this is pretty huge around my waist and I only needed to take it in a little bit in the middle. So what I do is I place some pins where I need to take it in. I do this while I am wearing it instead of taking measurements because I find this more accurate. So here the space between the pins is what needs to be removed to do this requires moving the zip as well.

I could have easily just sewed the sides in and I tend to do that on pieces that don’t have pockets. But I love these pockets and it’s just as easy to remove and resew the zip in.

Then you need to unpick the back seam. Don’t just rip it, I would use a proper unpicker or if you don’t have one that a pointed pair of scissors. Make sure that you don’t damage the zip because you need that intact. If you end up ripping some of the fabric then it’s not the end of the world because you will be getting rid of that fabric anyway.

Next using your pins as a guide you need to put the zip back in. I can’t explain how to explain a zip because I taught myself how to do it so your best bet is to find YouTube video or ask for help from someone who can sew! They’re really not as hard as they look, trust me!

My top tip here to go slightly inside the pins because if you make it too big then you can just carefully unpick and start again but if you make it too small and you’ve cut the fabric then it’s a bit of a pain. So don’t cut off the excess fabric until the very end when you’re happy with everything!

Once the zip is in, there should still be a slit to the bottom of the skirt because before you sew that you need to try it on again. Keep trying it on and see how it fits, and if you have to move the zip because it’s too big then it’s not too hard to do that.

From the bottom of the zip to the bottom of the skirt you need to sew the two sides of the skirt together to create a seam. Again it’s good to try it on so that you can check it fits how you wanted to.

Hopefully you can see from this photo how I didn’t just sew a straight line because that creates more of an a line skirt where as I wanted this to be a little bit more fitted. It goes in at the top to fit my waist and then out in the middle and then back in at the bottom so that it doesn’t stick out at the back and look stupid. Obviously this all depends on how you want it to fit and your body shape like I have wider hips than my waist.

Now you can finally cut off all of the excess fabric once you are completely happy with the overall fit! Once you cut it off there is no going back!

Here is my finally finished fit and as you can see it looks so much better!

I love projects like this because it means I can sew things to fit me perfectly because high street fashion brands never fit my figure, they’re always to big on my waist. All this cost was Β£1.50 and half an hour of my time.

I would love to know if this is something that you would consider doing! Or do you tend to only look for things that are your size?


3 thoughts on “How to alter a skirt to make it smaller

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