Altering Purchased Sweatshirts and Sweaters


** Updated 11/24/07 **

Here's how I adjust sweaters and sweatshirts to fit me. Please read and understand these directions before you start. I apologize for not including any pictures or drawings at this time. These instructions are for the intermediate to advanced sewist.

I am short with a big backside. I have to buy sweatshirts and sweaters in sizes larger than most people would believe. To shorten the sleeves the way that I do, the garment must be a set-in sleeve style - raglan sleeves would not work in almost all cases. If you want to shorten the bodice, you can not expect to leave both the hem and the neck finish intact; you must sacrifice one or the other.

I use a favorite Stretch&Sew knit top pattern (#130) which I have traced to allow for my wide hips, narrow shoulders, and short arms. I prefer Stretch&Sew patterns because they start with the shoulder width, which improves the fit greatly. All adjustments should be made on the pattern so that no adjustments will be required while cutting, making the entire process much simpler. Keep in mind that I use a pattern with 1/4-inch seams.

TEST this pattern before using it on an expensive garment. Find a similar garment with similar fabric at the thrift store - if it doesn't work out, you can donate it back.

I recommend cutting with a rotary cutter and mat because I find it does not distort the shape of the garment when cutting out. The looser the weave (or knit) of the garment, the more important this is.

Undo the stitches of the armhole seam to separate the sleeves from the bodice. Turn the sleeves and the bodice inside-out. Steam press the sleeves lightly so that the sleeve seams are flattened and there is a light crease on the fold opposite the seam. Steam press the bodice lightly so that th