How to make girls' clothing alterations for longer wear

It’s easy to tell when a girl has a growth spurt – clothing suddenly doesn’t fit anymore. Kids go through clothing so fast it can be quite expensive keeping them supplied. Many parents save money bypassing the clothes down to the next child. That does help stretch the clothing budget but there are other ways. If you’ve noticed lately that your daughter’s clothing fits everywhere but in one area, like the length, there are simple alterations you can do to get more wear from the outfit.

Pants can be lengthened by letting the hem out and putting in a shorter hem. Dress pants, especially, often have wide hems. After letting the hem out press the old hem area well. Where the hem was originally folded a line can be seen even after pressing well. Jeans normally have a small hem that can’t spare any extra fabric. For girls, jeans simply add lace or a strip of fabric around the bottom. Sew the fabric under the existing hem for a layered look. Another way to deal with the problem of short lengths is to cut the long pants into a Capri style, just below the knee. Add a button-and-tab for a more finished look.

Adding length to a skirt or dress is basically the same thing as adding length to pants. Sew a piece of lace or cloth around the hem of the dress. You can either attach it under the hem to give it a layered appearance or remove the previous hem and attach the two pieces. Fabrics don’t have to match – use a coordinating print against a solid dress or vice-versa. Do the same thing for sleeves that are getting too short. Short sleeve shirts can also have the sleeves removed to make a shell-type top. Another option is to cut off the long sleeve and make the outfit short-sleeved. This works for boys shirts as well as girls.

For shirts that are getting too tight across the chest or back remove the buttons and slide them over towards the edge more. Be sure and pick out all threads from the previous buttons. Launder the garment before wearing to help eliminate the noticeability of the previous button locations. This technique works for skirts, pants, shirts, coats, and some dresses.

Shirts which don’t button, like tee shirts, can be altered in a totally different way. Cut a piece of coordinating fabric for the front and back. The fabric must be the same type as the shirt. Cut the shirt in half, lengthways, and stitch the new pieces in the center before sewing the shirt back together. Give it a factory appearance by using some of the new fabric around the hem of the sleeves or neckline. Do the same thing to similar shirts which have become tight in the waist or you can stitch the fabric strips into the side seams.

Full skirts where the waistbands have become too tight are time-consuming projects but not difficult to do. Cut the waistband off and make a new, larger one. Sew it back on to the skirt, taking fewer gathers than what was originally in the skirt. The technique doesn’t work as well for skirts with large pleats.

Full skirts

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