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  • Writer's pictureSarah

Resizing a Garment

Hey there! We've been so busy the last few months. Matthew is shearing up a wool storm and I have been to New York and back. I am working on an update about my trip but I have to tell you that I learned so much and I'm so excited to be putting all that to the test in our own mill. In the midst of all that, the kids keep growing! I have made several garments for my kids that they wear regularly and I always want to be sure that I get the most mileage out of them that I can.

My oldest is going through quite the growth spurt and in the last year has outgrown a sun dress that I made for her that was too big when I finished it!

The dress just fits

So last week, on a rare day off, due to being sick, I binge watched a TV show I've been meaning to catch up on and took apart her dress. When I made this dress for her, I purposely left too much room in the finished garment, thinking I'd get some time out of that. That worked really well for the year she's had it but I also hid some sneaky bits of extra fabric throughout the garment in all the places you can't really tell there is too much fabric.

Our sewist ancestors have done this for generations, when fabric is good quality it will last far longer than a child's size time frame and it's more expensive. So not only is it a good idea to design garments with cutting and reusing large pieces of fabric but it's also a great idea to plan to keep using the same garment expanded to different sizes.

On her dress I added extra room on the button side of the center front button closure, keeping the buttonholes intact when I made the bodice bigger. I also made a false back center seam when I originally sewed the dress buy folding and felling the fabric as if it were a seam when there wasn't a construction seam. Style wise the garment merely looked like it had a center back seam but in reality it was just a sewn down pleat.

Between unpicking the center back pleat and the button band I had several inches to work with without having to cut into any more fabric or having to mess with the button holes or the zipper closure!

I seam ripped off the bias tape neckline and opened up the center back pleat. Then took the buttons off and unpicked the front fold. I took the skirt mostly off the bodice, leaving the zipper intact and re-allocated the pleats to make the skirt match the new bodice waist measurement. This was scary looking but it had to be done. The girl commented "I sure hope you know what you're doing!" I also unpicked the extra in the hem line to make the skirt longer. I topstitched the button band back into place and resewed the buttons on. I did have to make more bias binding for the neckline which is why I always hang onto the scraps.

I also discovered that I had put the top buttonhole just a smidge too close to the top and had caught some of the bias binding making that a little messy to reconstruct but we managed to eek out just enough space to get it all back together, so when thinking of remaking or resizing a garment be sure to think about how you will take the garment apart and plan for it. But know that you won't always think of everything and that's what makes this a creative and fun exercise! Right? we're having fun, right?!?

I have to say a little bit about the hemline here. When I first made the dress I didn't make the skirt as full as my girl wanted. She decided she could live with it but would want that fixed on other dresses. This time, since I already had the hem apart, I sewed in a kick pleat in the back of the skirt.

I had never done a kick pleat quite like this so it was for sure the most frustrating and time consuming part of this whole remake.I'll have to refine my process but it looks great now and she's really pleased with how much more ballet she can do it her skirt. So for a sick afternoon of binge watching and sitting cozy at home we have a dress she can wear all summer again!

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