Sometimes my clients see an outfit that is almost perfect. It’s the right color and is made of cool fabric but the style needs to change a little bit. So, what do you do? I believe there is a little designer inside all of us. We have great ideas that can only be recreated by a professional seamstress or an alterations specialist. If you are dealing with a fine garment, for instance, you do not want to try it at home. Remember, apparel alterations are not cheap because it involves re-engineering the garment.   

For example, this prom goer decided to honor her mom by restyling her prom dress to the current off-the-shoulder fashion. Notice the before picture – 

 

Here is the difference between alterations and restyling –

  1. alterations changes size usually along the seam line
  2. restyling changes style lines like adding sleeves to a dress or changing a round neck to a V-neck
  3. A restyle can be more expensive because it is an additional service.
  4. A restyle also makes the garment unique!

Choose to restyle if it makes a dramatic difference to making you look fabulous! Look at the “after” photo. She looks fabulous and no one will have the same dress!

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You just got a dress from your mom, or maybe you found a vintage garment from your favorite thrift store. You just love it, but you want to create something unique or new with your clothing. If you cannot do it yourself, you take it to your seamstress or alterations specialist.

What is the difference between a clothing alteration and a restyle? Why is it important to know the difference?

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Simply stated, a clothing alteration changes the size of the garment to tailor your figure specifications. A re-style will change the design of the item from the original intent of the designer. In our business, we call it altering style lines. We can change style lines giving you the opportunity to re-design the garment.

Now that you understand the difference keep in mind that a re-style often involves more time and therefore more cost. However, you have a garment that is unique to you and often it is a garment that was purchased second hand or passed down. Therefore, a typical re-style should be considered affordable allowing you to be the designer.

By Linda Miller, Owner of CustomAlterationsbyLinda.biz in Jacksonville, FL.

 

We have just completed the prom season and one of the most common alterations I see are dresses (and other clothing) that are being purchased online. The biggest challenge is proper sizing and expectations. Customers are shopping directly from the resource online (i.e., Etsy) and are often surprised when the garment style does not fit or the garment’s quality is different than what they imagined. They are also amazed at how different the garment appears on their body compared to the skinny model in the photo. So, what is the best solution for properly purchasing clothing online in your favorite style? Take accurate measurements, be knowledgeable about what looks flattering on your figure and become familiar with fabrics.

  1. Measure Accurately – The most common measurements taken are bust, waist, and hips. In sewing, we know that you could measure yourself but it is rarely done well. It is best to get a friend to help you. Better yet, for accuracy, one should seek out a professional seamstress or tailor to ensure proper measurements. A professional who works with clothing every day knows which points to measure. If you do this yourself and with a friend, it is likely to be inaccurate. When it comes to measuring, you need to get the numbers correct because any variation could cause the clothing article to be too small or too large. However, it is easier to work with a garment that is too large rather than one that is too small. By hiring a professional tailor, the garment can be altered for you. Here is an example:

Multi-color Casual Lace Dress Too Big(Compliments of Photographer, Cassie Reeves, multi-colored dress from Etsy)

As you can see, this lovely garment from Etsy was purchased for a special occasion but it is too big in the bust area. Once the adjustments were made, this fun dress looked great on Cassie.

2. Know Your Style – Do you know what shape best flatters your figure? If you have a style or dress shape from a previous purchase that got you lots of compliments, stay with that shape as a safe bet for your figure.

3. Know Fabrics – cotton is the most popular fabric with lots of easy care. It is often paired with spandex or polyester, for instance. The fabric has a big effect on sizing. Anything with spandex tends to provide a closer fit.

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What is the best prom dress style for my figure?

Image is courtesy of Playbuzz.com

When you go shopping for your prom dress, whether it is online or in the store (which we recommend), you want to choose the most figure flattering dress possible. Here are some basic types that may help you with your best style:

Determine your figure type which tends to fall into five body groups.

Pear or triangle: shoulders are more narrow than hip area

Tubular or rectangle: shoulder, waist, and hips are similar in width

Apple or round: bust, waist, abdomen, hips, bum is larger and rounded

Hourglass: weight tends to distribute above and below a cinched waist

Strawberry or inverted triangle (no image): more weight in shoulders, arms, bust areas.

 

When you know your body type, this information will enable you to make better decisions for your best style.

Remember, there is no such thing as a perfect figure. There are eight figure types, and many people have a combination of variations.* However, for simplicity sake, it is easier to categorize figure types into limited geometric shapes or fruit, in this blog (fruit are more fun).  Nonetheless, no matter what shape we are born with, we all need to learn to love the skin we are in and develop a positive attitude about it. Clothing manufacturers, who typically design for the rectangular shape, cannot afford to tailor each garment according to our specifications; that’s why we use tailors or an alterations specialist.

Therefore, it is best to become a wise shopper and buy clothing that balance out our variations. For instance, if your figure type is pear-shaped (triangle), a prom dress with a fitted top and flared bottom can enhance your best features. Study some websites like PromGirl.com that allow you to shop by body-type, and you will be on your way to a stunning look for your special day. Finally, no dress will be perfect because we are all unique. For the ideal fit, alterations are necessary especially at the hemline. So do not hesitate to call an alterations specialist to fit your needs.  

 

Linda is owner and alterations specialist at Custom Alterations by Linda in the  Jacksonville, Florida area.  Member of the Association of Sewing & Design Professionals

 

(*Fitting and Pattern Alteration-3rd Ed., Liechty, Rasband and Pottberg-Steineckert 2016)

It’s time to look for a prom dress. Yeah! When shopping for a prom dress, the perfect look starts with the fit. The fit is often overlooked when choosing the best dress to flatter your figure. Here are a few tips based on an article from Seventeen Magazine-March 2017, to help you find the perfect prom dress.

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  1.  Shop Local – It is best to shop locally. Though it is very popular these days to shop online, it can be quite time-consuming to determine what looks best for your figure. Typically, the models wearing the dress that you love will not have the same figure variations as yours. Shopping local may reduce the cost of alterations because you can try the dresses on, as well.
  2. Get Inspired – Start looking everywhere for inspiration. Seventeen Magazine offers a Prom Issue that I got at the local grocery store last year. They suggest that you look through magazines, save online images and check out celeb social feeds. Also, check out wedding dress shops, too!
  3. Comfort is key – Once you have tried on a few dresses, you will know what looks best and “feels” comfortable to you. Make sure the garment is not too tight. You want to be able to move with the music.

Have fun shopping!

Linda Miller, Alterations Specialist & Owner of Customer Alterations by Linda, Jacksonville, FL. Website: http://www.CustomAlterationsbyLinda.biz

It’s time to look for a prom dress. Yeah! When shopping for a prom dress, the perfect look starts with the fit. The fit is often overlooked when choosing the best dress to flatter your figure. Here are a few tips based on an article from Seventeen Magazine-March 2017, to help you find the perfect prom dress.

51926

  1.  Shop Local – It is best to shop locally. Though it is very popular these days to shop online, it can be quite time-consuming to determine what looks best for your figure. Typically, the models wearing the dress that you love will not have the same figure variations as yours. Shopping local may reduce the cost of alterations because you can try the dresses on, as well.
  2. Get Inspired – Start looking everywhere for inspiration. Seventeen Magazine offers a Prom Issue that I got at the local grocery store last year. They suggest that you look through magazines, save online images and check out celeb social feeds. Also, check out wedding dress shops, too!
  3. Comfort is key – Once you have tried on a few dresses, you will know what looks best and “feels” comfortable to you. Make sure the garment is not too tight. You want to be able to move with the music.

Have fun shopping!

Linda Miller, Alterations Specialist & Owner of Customer Alterations by Linda, Jacksonville, FL. Website: http://www.CustomAlterationsbyLinda.biz

Nancy Zieman (June 21, 1953 – November 14, 2017) was truly an inspiration in her lifetime. Though she was born with Bells Palsy, this condition did not stop her from being the “face” of sewing. Nancy was a great sewist who developed out of the 4-H club, an entrepreneur, an author, and a sewing teacher who hosted the PBS Show, Sewing with Nancy on Wisconsin Public TV.  She inspired me to sew through her mail-order catalog that started from her kitchen table. As she kept me sewing, I, benefited from her television programs, her publications, and her life.

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May we continue her legacy and pass it on to the next generation through teaching.

By Linda Miller, CustomAlterationsbyLinda.com, member of Association of Sewing & Design Professionals and a Master Alterations Specialist Candidate, member of the American Sewing Guild, B.A-DePaul Univ., M.A.-Phoenix Univ.