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Saturday, August 6, 2011

Shortening Vented Sleeves

Here's a nice note from Vicki

I was so happy to find your webpage today. I have a home business doing wedding and formal alterations, but my sister brought me an expensive jacket and wanted the sleeves shortened two inches. It has vented sleeves with buttons, and I had no confidence! Your web page explained perfectly how to do it, and the jacket looks great. Thank you! I'll be coming back when I have more questions. Yours is the best website I've found for help with common alterations.

Thanks so much for your kind words, Vicki. I love to hear success stories!!
I think you saw the instructions on the blog entry for shortening sleeves.
If anyone else is interested, the page Vicki is referring to is here.

 I actually have a full blown web page coming soon that has the steps in chart form with the yellow "table" format. I'm so glad you could get the whole idea from what I've written so far.
Stay tuned :) I'll keep your email address and let you know when it's posted.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Shortening a Wedding Gown

Here is a note from Carolyn, She writes:

Was asked to shorten an A line wedding gown with a chapel train.{removing the chapel train entirely-making it even in length with the rest of the gown).10, up to 15 inches will have to come off -and I am stumped how to shorten the full chapel train, and will it look stupid? I plan to hand sew the hem. Any help appreciated!

My answer to her needs to be in two parts because I need more information. We'll start here:

Hi Carolyn
I have several ideas but I need some more info, please.
Are you shortening the whole gown, that includes a train (all one piece gown, not a train that is detachable)?
Do you have a picture? You can email it to me at If you don't have a picture, try going to Google and type in chapel train. Then go to the top left corner and click on images. You will get 815,000 results ... Yikes!! Try to pick one that looks similar to the gown you are working on. Roll your mouse over the picture and it will give you information. Copy that and send it to me; maybe a few, if you want). We'll get this thing going.
Remember, don't panic. It just a dress with a lot of extra fluffy stuff going on :) Oh, yeah, tell me how many layers, tulle, etc. it has.
If you are doing this for money make sure you charge enough. I usually start hems at $100.00 and this sounds like it should be more than that. You are also being paid for the risk you are taking by cutting this gown and working on it. There is no shame in being compensated for this.


Someone Else is Getting into the Business

Below is a letter from Kris. Hopefully some of you are in the same place as she is.
If you are starting a business, or have one going already, drop me a line and let me know about it.

I LOVE your blog/webpage!!!! I am doing the same thing you are, a former teacher with a home sewing business, only I am on the beginning end of it, after sewing for my family for 20+ years. Business is starting to pick up, and I am thinking that I can actually make a go of this. I read your blog and don't feel like I am the only one. Thank you so much!

Hi Kris,
Thanks for the kind words in your email. You sound like you are well on your way to having a successful business. You have the confidence you need and the rest will come. Most of alterations is trial and error, trying to put things back the way you found them.
I wish I had had a digital camera back when I started. I really rely on it to remind me of how things looked before I started opening up seams and ripping things apart. Keep that in mind when you get something challenging.
As always, write to me if you are stuck on something. I'm sure I can help! And some of my readers have great ideas too.
Good luck and stay in touch.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Volunteering with a Seamstress

Nancy has written this nice note from Ireland. Is there anyone out there who can help her out with an answer?

where can I do a course in altrations in Meath or louth Ireland or can one work voluntary with an altrations person to get experence. thank you.

Nancy, I don't know of any classes. Hopefully someone who reads this blog will be able to help.
I am thinking about offering online alteration classes in the future. I need to see how much interest there is. If anyone wants to know more, could you drop me a line on the Contact Me page, or leave a comment below?

As for working on a volunteer basis, I'm sure most seamstresses/tailors would love the idea. You may get stuck doing some mundane tasks, like ripping out seams or something, but you can watch carefully and learn a lot. Eventually you will gain confidence and you can practice what you are learning on used clothing or old stuff from your closets.
Let us know if you are able to get this going. I'd love to hear about what you're learning!
Thanks so much.