Steely Seamstress

Sewing for life

Repairs and Alterations (2018)


I’m fully aware that this is definitely not the most exciting blog post that I’ve put out in the last year. I wrote a similar post about last year’s alterations – the stats on the website reveal that alterations and repairs just really don’t enthuse people! Actually, they don’t enthuse me either, but this post is a tiny “pat on the back” to celebrate of all those unglamorous jobs that I have done this year and keep as many items of my wardrobe in working use.

Last year, I made three alterations and I can say that those items were worn far more as a consequence this year. This definitely provided some impetus for me to tackle some more alterations and repairs.

First of all, I didn’t do many repairs this year, but I did colour code my black socks. Black socks annoy me since they never seem to pair up properly. They look similar, but then you find that you have one that is greyer than the other, or they are different lengths or the band is different. I sewed little crosses into the inside of the socks at the band with embroidery thread in different colours. Now I can easily find the other sock in a pair!

For the alterations, again, I picked three items that needed something doing to them. They ranged from simple to time-consuming.

Red Sorbetto Top

This is another Sorbetto top from my wardrobe. My main complaint about it is the bias binding finish on the arms. The bias binding is a polyester satin binding and it’s probably intended for “craft” rather than dress-making use. It is too thick to use for this top and somehow the finish means that the bias binding sticks out and looks strange at the arm-holes.

I had been wearing this top layered with a cardigan all the time to hide this problem.

To make the adjustment I took off the bias-binding from the armholes, and reapplied some new bias-binding made from the same fabric that the top was made from (a claret-red poplin). I decided to keep the black satin bias binding at the neckline, because this works well with the black lace at the centre front, and somehow the shallower curve at the neck doesn’t warp the bias binding finish quite so much.

I am now more confident wearing this top without the cardigan with its new armhole finish. I have also concluded that I do need to make some more sleeveless tops, but I would create them from a custom-fitted bodice. I do have my doubts about the fit of this top, although it’s probably a fussy, finicky sewist gripe. I think the bust dart should be a little deeper, which would prevent the gaping at the armhole (minuscule that I know it is)

Effort required 5/10

Happiness 6/10

Red Sorbetto Top altered to use self bias-binding on armholes

Red Sorbetto Top altered to use self bias-binding on armholes

White Dobby Top

This top required a major alteration. Due to the method I used to add the yoke to the top, it ended up being too short at the front. The alteration took me ages (so long that it merited its own blog post), but I feel now that the top is far more wearable.

Sadly, I just didn’t wear the top this summer as much as it probably deserved. I’m not even sure why that was. But then, this year was a year of surprising wardrobe choices as it was so hot in the summer and we had lots of snow at the beginning of the year.

Effort required 8/10

Happiness 6/10

White Dobby Blouse

White Dobby Blouse

Silk top

I mentioned in my last post that I was gutted that my new silk top on its first outing managed to end up with huge greasy stains on it. These were very noticeable on the front of the blouse and also on the sleeve. I used some washing up liquid and after several spot washes the greasy seams have diminished substantially or even disappeared. It’s a little hard to judge whether my stain removal has been fully successful as I was doing this as we’re in December and have limited hours of daylight here. I took the photo below outside and I really can’t see the stains anymore so I’m super pleased. I’m very happy that the top has been rescued.

Effort required 3/10

Happiness 9/10

Lekala 4220 blouse

Silk blouse without the stains

Sadly there are still some items that need alterations. I have tried over the last couple of years to make sure I am totally happy with a garment before I move on to making something else. This often requires wearing the item for a few wears just to make sure I’m happy. Overall, this tactic has meant that I have added fewer items to the alterations pile. Having said that I did finish my Ruri sweatpants just before I went on holiday and I found, on my return, that doing yoga in them was annoying as the waist band just wasn’t tight enough and I spent too much time hitching them up each time I moved. Unfortunately, I’d started on to my next make before I found this out, so the sweatpants got added to the alterations pile.

Do you find it difficult to avoid the lure of sewing new things, rather than fixing, sometimes even easy problems with the items you already have?

Author: steelyseamstress

Sewing a new wardrobe

8 thoughts on “Repairs and Alterations (2018)

  1. Oh my Crate of Shame is overflowing with ‘little’ jobs which just don’t get done. Occasionally I guilt myself to a frenzy and get some done…and this year I reclaimed two ‘Toni’ dresses by slitting the front seam to make them into long waistcoat-y things, which I wear a lot. Maybe next year I’ll clear more [yeah right] Glad you salvaged the silk blouse, it’s lovely!

  2. I’ve owned one silk top and got grease stains on it too which are a devil to remove and you then usually end up with washing up liquid or water stains where you’ve tried to remove them. Also a devil to iron too. I’ve decided that however beautiful silk is, it’s not one of my favourite fabrics!

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