If you have any sewing related questions, please feel free to ask and I’ll respond as quickly as I can.

Happy sewing to you!


109 replys to Contact
  1. Hi Linda,
    Thanks for responding to my email so promptly. By the way, I do alterations out of my home for ready-to-wear clothing (mostly women) and I love it.

    I would like to change my narrow leg (peg leg) pants into cuffed capris. Of course, there is not enough room once I fold up the hem for the cuff. Is this something I should even attempt or can I do a faux cuff?

    Happy Thanksgiving,
    Linda M.

    1. I forgot to add my response to Linda here back in November 2009. So, here it is:

      Yes, without that extra fabric needed for the cuff, you’ll either have to sew on some extra, which would be hidden in the cuff or put on a faux cuff. Glad you love doing the alterations!

  2. I am about to hem a Prom dress that has 9 layers to it.
    The first 3 outside layers are net.
    Then the main dress is satin.
    The rest are underlayers of netting
    and the last layer is netting sew to fabric
    What is the easiest way to measure this gown and cut and stitch?
    Should I start inside out or outside in? When I measured the inside layer it was 4” too long.
    That stool idea is great and it too saved my back

  3. Joy,
    You might start this whole process by cutting the netting right at the floor. Then, take a look at how the netting hangs. Trim any that is extended on the floor. When you get that at the proper length and you like how it looks, then think about how high off the ground you want the dress to be. If it is 1 inch off the floor, then I would take the dress over to the ironing board and put on one layer at a time and use your seam gauge to cut that 1 inch off all the way around. tehn repeat with the other layers. Try this on just one of a few layers first.

    Then, take your scraps of netting and practice your serged edge (or machine stitch edge) that you want to use. This will give you the opportunity to change tension settings if you need to before you sew on the real dress.

    Some people just leave the cut edge alone and you could sure do that if you like tha tlook. You’ll just need to make sure you cut it nicely, of course! On the satin layer, I would definitely finish that layer with a rolled serged edge if you have a serger.

    Hope that helps!

  4. hi.

    thank you for publishing such helpful information!

    my sister sewed a mid-thigh length coat out of a poly batting with a nylon outer layer. it didn’t fit her right and she’s too frustrated to even look at it, so i’ve taken it on. there are 2 darts in the back to make it fitted at the waist, but this is causing it to puff/pooch at the rear rather than flare out. i’m trying to figure out what to do to make it lay along the rear without tucking under. if this makes any sense, might you have a suggestion?

    thanks a lot!

    1. After e-mailing back and forth, we realized that this coat is going to be boxy in shape because of the batting. It’s hard to get a thick coat to drape well when batting is not pliable.

  5. I’m trying to get the courage to start a sewing/repair business from home (in addition to working). I’ve been sewing since I was a little girl — my mom was a seamstress in some fashion for most of her life. How you do you get started? Thanks for any info.

    1. Hi Jill,
      I’m glad you asked! I’m not sure how much of my website you’ve read, but did you click on the tab on the upper right side of this page that says, “Sew For Dough”? After that, you might want to read this post:

      If you’ve read both of those, and you have more questions, write me back and let me know specifically what you’re thinking of. All the gals I know who have started a business like mine have said it was really easy, so I don’t want you to feel imtimidated at all. No question is a bad question, so let me know what your thougths are after reading these. I check my e-mail two or three times a day, so I’ll be sure to answer quickly.

    1. I basically just pay attention to how the zipper was put in in the first place as I rip it out. Then, I just put the new one in the same way. Each garment is different and that’s why I haven’t written a post on zippers yet. I may try. I just don’t get a call to do those much anymore.

      1. I live in Texas and get a lot of jean zippers to replace. If I can avoid taking the top stitching out on the placket it saves a lot of time on replacement . I use the closest match that I can and sew through all layers on the right side of the zipper. This works the best on denim as it just dissapears I then change to heavy denim gold for the rest. This shortcut really helps on some of the newer fancy jeans with the special threads that you can’t buy. You can usually use a seam ripper to cut the top of the zipper out of the waistband and just turn the top of the new zipper under and stitch well.

  6. Question and help, please! All thoughts appreciated!
    I bought some velvet type pants online..they were so big it was a joke.They have an elasticized waist and huge legs. Now, I was going to try adn remake them and them I thought , Hey, turn the pants into a long skirt (with slit in back) . I don’t want it to look like all the “remade jeans skirts with gussets” and wondered if it might just work to undo the leg seams, crotch seams, and probably straightenout he bum and tummy curve into a straight seam?
    Phew..I hope I wrote it so that it makes sense. I will never remake the pants, I know that, but heck, a long skirt for evening would be fun!
    Thanks !!!

    1. I have never done that myself, but I don’t see why not. You should give it a try. The only thing that might be a problem is that when you open out the crotch area, you’ll have a curved seam. If you have a skirt pattern, you might want to use that to make those front and back center seams straight. As you know, you’ll have a center front seam, which most skirts don’t have, but it should be fine. Most people don’t notice that.

      Velvet can be very tricky, though. Sometimes, while sewing it, your presser foot may make an indentation as it sews. Pressing velvet is tricky too. The best thing that works for that is a needle board, but I haven’t seen those sold in years. Perhaps JoAnn Fabrics, Clothilde or Nancy’s Notions may have one. Check online first.

      I wish you great success! Let me know how it works,

      1. WAWAK sells needle boards, but are expensive if you are only using it one time. I suppose before doing any alterations I would check with a dry cleaner to see if marks are left if they can steam them out when your garment is finished. Velvet also wrinkles and you can’t press the fabric. Usually you can hang it over a hot steamy bathtub of water and the steam from the water should relax the wrinkles, but doubt it will help with seam line problems.

  7. Hi I would just like to say what a wounderful site you have, I have had so much fun browsing though all your archives, I am from across the big pond England and have tryed to buy a jean o magig but do not seem to be able to find one any were here do you think you could send me a web link or some were i could purchuse one yours hopingful sally x

  8. Hello Linda,

    Your blog/site continues to be a brilliant source of information and inspiration to me! There doesn’t seem to be anything similar from the uk and it has really helped with my alterations and repairs business – so thank you!

    I was wondering if you had any advice with regards to altering a tux jacket – my customer wants it taken up 2 and a half inches and it has curved rather than rightangled edges. I have never done this before and am a bit daunted – How straightforward is this going to be do you think? Would you go in through the bottom edge seam? How long do you think it should take? Would a template of the curve be useful in replicating what s currently there!

    I get the feeling this chap knows his onions and I really would like to do a good job on it! Apologies for all the questions, but i’m in need of a bit of reassurance (or maybe a reality check!!!), and advice very gratefully received!

    Kindest regards and many thanks,

    1. I’m so glad the site has been helpful to you!

      No, you don’t need a reality check, you just need reassurance! Yes, you are correct…make a template of the entire hem including the curved edge. Then, move that template up the 2 1/2″ and hand baste a new hemline there. Add at least 2 inches to that measurement so that you have fabric to fold up for the hem. Stitch the new hem. you may need to shorten the pockets if they hang down after the alteration is complete.

      Note: I sent Niki a very detailed set of instructions for this alteration. If you need the same, just e-mail me and i’ll send you a copy.

  9. Hi linda the dress I altered for my daughter went wel thanks again to your websight, I have another problem I am trying to put a new zip in an anaorak it has a facing on one side and when I sew it in I seem to keep streching the coat as I sew in the zip ????? dont now what im doing wrong plzzz can you help

  10. There is a company in New York called Wawak that ships international. They are an amazing supplier for the sewing industry and the prices are wonderful. The website is

    1. Hi Carol, I just was reading posts and saw yours. Thank you for the website – it looks fantastic and was just what I was in search of.

  11. I’ve been on your mailing list for awhile, but I only recently tried my first alteration. My three year old daughter keeps getting taller, but no wider, so her pants are the right length, but they fall down. Last night I tried your example of taking in the waistband on her jeans. They have an elastic waist. I ignored that and took in the waistband just as in your instructions. I figured the elastic needed to be shortened as well, and when I made the center seam it would hold the elastic in place. They turned out well, but I’m confused about one thing. I didn’t realize the waistband would come completely away from the top of the pants. There wasn’t anything in your instructions about reattaching it to the top of the pants. So the new seam I put in the waistband went down to far for me to slip the top of the pants back in. Did I miss something in the instructions? Also, I couldn’t put the belt loop back on because it was to thick for my sewing machine to handle. Is there an alteration I can make to my machine to accomadate this? It seems like I had heard of a special jeans foot somewhere.

  12. Can you give me some pointers on taking in side seams of slacks with flat felled seams?
    Thanks so much, I have gotten so much help from your sight!

    1. I have done several Euro hems on jeans with those fancy stitches and colors that people pay high dollars for just because of the fancy stitching. They do not want to lose that fancy stitching and I can not duplicate it. If you go online it will show you how to do a Euro hem. Using that same idea I thought perhaps one could apply the same technique to the side seams and flat felled seams thus not having to remove and replace the flat felled seams or the fancy stitching. It worked out perfectly. It is a bit tricky to figure out how much fabric to fold in order to get the finished width of the leg seams. Remember to always alter both sides of a leg so as to keep the straight of the grain. On the non felled side take in the amount needed and do the same on the opposite side with the flat felled seam. This measurement will be different than the non flat felled seam. Once you determine the actual width of the jean bottom is correct then on the flat felled seam side place your pins as close to the decorative stitching as possible. This is being pinned on the wrong side of fabric. Then with a straight edge ruler draw a line from the bottom edge of the pants up to the point where you no longer want any jeans taken in just like you would take in any pair of jeans. I then require the customer to return to try them on for correct fit. If they fit well then I cut off the excess fabric and serge the edge. I have never tried this technique on both shortening a hem and side seam together. I kind of feel it cant be done without leaving a huge thick bumpy seam, but then I could be wrong. I hope I explained this as well as possible. I know it is confusing, but if you do a Euro hem you will understand the technique for doing the side seams.

  13. Hi Linda,

    Once again, I find myself in need of some sewing assistance!

    I have a customer who has bought a very pretty maxi dress which has a concealed/invisible zipper up one side. The side which hasn’t got the zip falls beautifully (it has three layers 2 chiffon, 1 satin), but the side where the zipper is looks lumpy and doesn’t fall as flat which is a problem for her. I have looked at the construction and there doesn’t appear to be anything that is causing this – no puchering, nice smooth seams (it was an expensive dress and made well). I have tried remedying it by attaching the remaining bottom of the zipper (approx 1″) to the seam but this doesn’t appear to have done anything!

    Do you have any suggestions or is it simply how the dress is designed?
    Any advice hugely appreciated as always!
    Thank you (and congratulations on the upcoming wedding!)
    Best wishes

    1. Thank you!
      Yes, I have had that trouble before. I have tried taking out the zipper and replacing it, doing what you did, with a partial re-sew, and nothing seems to work. After consulting others, we have decided that those invisible zippers many times protrude and there seems to be no way to remedy it. I would tell your customer that you tried and have consulted someone else as well, but it is just one of those unfortunate things. I wish I had a better solution. Oh, and for some reason, it seems this problem happens more on chiffons than other fabrics.

      I hope your customer can stilll wear the dress. You could put in a regular zipper, which probably would take care of the problem, but it might not look near as nice as the invisible kind. (It’s just a thought…..)

  14. My daughter’s ball dress is lined with an empire waist and cut out sides. She is short waisted so the sides are not lying flat. Any suggestions for altering from the waist? I have it pinned up about 1 1/2 inches and it looks great but not sure how to go about sewing it with the linings.

  15. Hello, I have a evening gown that I need to have altered…..size 16 petite needs to be probably in between a 12/14. It has 4 layers (top is lace/sequins, silk, tool then another layer of maybe taffeta or something. Needs to be shortened by about 3″ and taken in around the hips and bust area. I was wondering if we should take some of the puff out around the leg area so it doesnt look like a full on ball gown especially because I am short?? Is this possible as well?

    I am taking this in on Monday to a lady I read about on the internet she seems very qualified but I am so scared about cutting into this beautiful dress. I wanted to ask question prior to taking it in so that I am some what educated on what she is telling me. Thanks for any information/advise you can offer.

    Also, can you guesstimate on alteration cost of this?



    1. Well, it’s going to be expensive, that is for sure. Whenever you have extensive downsizing and hemming, it may end up being more than you bought the dress for. As to the exact cost, or even an estimate, I cannot tell for sure since the dress is not in front of me, but each layer of that dress needs to be hemmed and I don’t know how dense the sequins are. They may need to be sewn back on by hand. If so, that adds to the cost as well. The poof can be taken in, but again, that is another charge. I would take it to two shops for estimates. If the lady you are seeing on Monday seems qualified by what you read, I ‘m sure she is. You just have to figure if the cost is worth it to you.

      I wish I could be more help, but just trust your instincts. Also, maybe ask for “before” and “after” photos to see if you like their work.

      I hope that helps,

  16. HI. I installed a corset back on a secondhand wedding gown following your online directions and I think I was successful, however, I cannot determine where to stop the loops at the bottom of the dress. My question is how far down do you make the corset back lacing loops go down the back… all the way to the end of the opening or stop the loops at 2 or 3 inches up from that center skirt seam so that the modesty panel can cover it? Thanks. This website has been a real blessing!

    1. That’s a good question. I didn’t address that in the post because each dress is different. You want to make sure that when you lace up the back, the loops don’t smash into each other, so you can stop a few inches above the bottom, like you said.Just experiment until you get it to lace correctly. The modesty panel should cover up the area below your lacings.

      Hope that helps!

  17. I need to alter flower girls size 2 dress, its a lined bodice no sleeves do I take it apart at the waist or zipper?

  18. Thank you so much for sharing your extensive knowledge! Your photographs are so very helpful in the illustration of your tutorials. You are an eloquent writer and a very talented individual. You are a true professional.

  19. Started a small shop in Sept. I am doing alterations and giving sewing lessons, selling notions, etc. This is the first big messup I have made. If you can, advise me about the way I am handling this. I was given a pair of men’s nylon pants with zip off legs, swimsuit lining, My job was to hem them by machine one inch. I did that easily, then went to press and my iron was too hot and melted the cuff a bit. I have ordered what I believe to be an identical pair. Is that what you would do in this given circumstance? Just found your blog!! Thanks, love it.

  20. Hi,
    I’m so sorry to hear about this sewing accident. If it makes you feel better, we have all done the same thing at one time or another. Yes, you are doing the right thing….order an identical and take the loss. Don’t let it discourage you. You will only do that once. I think it is always good to tell your customer the truth. Sometimes, when the accident isn’t so bad, the customer doesn’t care as much as I thought they would. I don’t know what your spiritual background is, but I always pray before I sew on someone’s garment. I pray that God would help me do my best work, not to wreck the item by tearing the fabric, stain it, scorch it, cut it by mistake, etc. He has been so gracious in answering those prayers. I also try to pray for the customer as well and sometimes ask them what I can pray for.

    Thanks for your question and I’m glad you found the blog. I hope you find it really helpful. Congratulations on your new shop. I am praying you’ll be very successful. With the way you are handling this, I know you’ll be a great success.


      1. I believe there is a place that sells those. Go over to the post I wrote on how to put in a corset back and read through the comment section. Hope that helps!

    1. Just saw your reply Linda. Thanks! I guess I have only been praying on really difficult tasks…don’t want to use all my prayers for foolishness 😉
      Yes, God is good and will watch over us. The new pants were 27 bucks, but worth the peace of mind for doing things “right”.
      I have to pose another question. A customer brought me a vintage dress made out of a crepe type material. She would like it to be partially lined. How would you proceed? Thanks in advance. I need to remember to stop back to check your responses. Love your blog’s contents and ideas. Keep it coming. Cathy

    2. Been there and done that. I always use steam when I press and have found I have not had a problem since. I learned the hard way to always check first to make sure there is enough water in the iron and to always check my iron settings first. Like I said I always use steam, but the one time I realized the setting somehow got moved to off and I burned a hole in the lining of a coat. This can also happen if there is no water in the iron. Luckily for me I did tell the customer and I took the pocket lining out of the jacket and pieced it in nicely so as to line up the seam in the inside of the jacket. I then replaced the pocket with a different matching color. I was honest with the customer and showed them the spot where I pieced in the lining and they could not even tell it had been pieced. The give away would have been the pocket lining, but they didn’t care because they still had a usable pocket and it didn’t show. If possible I would offer them a free alteration or at least a reduced price for the goof. Most people are understanding and will pay for the full alteration as long as it looks good. I guess it is a matter of the old saying used by a carpenter–measure twice, cut once. Just remember to check your iron and test it on an inconspicuous spot if in doubt. Also if in doubt of leaving iron shine on some fabrics always use a press cloth as a buffer. You can’t get the iron shine out of the fabric and if shows. It happens a lot on dress pants and suit coat fabrics. We all try to handle our customers garments with the utmost care, but still accidents will happen. We are all human. I know it is difficult to purchase a new product or to give them money for a replacement, but sometimes you must do the honest thing. You will be glad you did. Don’t try to hide or cover up your mistakes. It makes you look dishonest with the customer.

  21. Been there done a similar thing only it was on a black dress that turned and bit white –fixed it with permanent black fabric paint and no one knew the difference except me which about killed me—–didn’t charge for the heming on that one and told the owner who was amazed that I could fix it….

    1. Refreshing to know that I am not alone in having “goofs”. I think more than anything, it just makes ya mad at yourself for doing whatever ya did to cause the problem. I agree it is best to let the customer in on it. If they find error with your work on their own, they most likely will tell everyone you can’t be trusted. Good luck with future projects!

  22. …wondering if you could direct me with something. I have a boss who is constantly giving me his suits to mend. Recently, it is a black suit with a huge rip at the elbow. I have to patch it because it is more like a square cut out. Any suggestions?

    Thank you.

    1. Are you charging him for your work? I hope so! I hope he doesn’t expect you to do these alterations for free. There aren’t too many ways to repair this problem. You could put big patches on each elbow, but only if you find something suitable (no pun intended!) There used to be people who could weave new threads into a tear like this but I don’t know if they exist anymore. It used to be a pretty scarce profession and imagine it is even harder to find someone who does that now. If you live in a large city, ask a tailor’s shop and see what they do. Hope that helps. Linda

  23. Hi Linda, I guess I’m giving the at-home alterations business a go. Already started handing out cards = very nervous! My question is, how do you and most people handle work for family. Just an example: I recently did repairs/alterations on 12 garments for my niece. I really have trouble taking money from family, but at the same time I did put some time into it (about 3-4 hours) since some of the items had to be partially taken apart to fix. I’m so torn – any advice? I was considering a 2/3 off family discount. I’d probably charge a stranger at least $75 for what I did – I was going to tell her $25 – sound fair for family? Or should I just say ‘no charge’?

    1. One way I have solved part of your problem was to offer gift certificates. I have several family members who need alterations done and we always exchange gifts at Christmas (birthdays could also be another occasion). I tell these relatives not to buy me anything for Christmas because I am now on a limited income and can’t afford to purchase presents for everyone. Besides I am at the age I really don’t need a lot of things. I have installed Microsoft Word on my computer and they have a template for gift certificates you can print up. Last year I printed up several Christmas gift certificates and included an amount to be used towards the cost of their alterations. Included was not to be refunded for cash which they thought was funny, but they loved getting the certificate. They used them and I kept track of the charges until they used up their amount. You could even just do so without making a gift certificate, but write it on a greeting card.

  24. Just my 2 cents Sharon….I have done alterations for quite a while but started doing them in the area I live a couple of years ago…..I have the same problem with charging friends/family for jobs….but have come to realize that I need to treat them as I would my customers…not possible to make an income if I don’t!! I would however give them a family discount…I don’t think that you should give them that much of a discount though!!! How about 20-25% off ? I hate to see you doing all of that hard work for nothing…and there are some friends/family who will begin to take you for granted…..
    Treat yourself as a professional and your customers will do the same!
    Best Wishes/Luck in your new business…

    1. Thank you for your reply, Jan. I do agree with you. I have to get over the idea that I shouldn’t charge anything. I guess I just need to establish ‘something’ so I can be consistent and, in some ways, that might make them not feel funny about asking. They’ll know they are getting a huge break, and hopefully that will be acceptable. I appreciate your thoughts. I absolutely love this site – it has been so, so helpful to me – none compare!

      Thanks again,

  25. Don’t know if this will help — I keep trying to get started in the same thing. I’ve done my “homework” and have a printed list of what I charge regular customers and keep it posted in a fairly obvious location. Then when friends or family ask for help I offer them 25% off. They feel they’ve gotten a bargain and I don’t feel like I’ve gotten cheated. Hope this helps a bit.

  26. I am trying to add about 2-2.5 inches to the top of a strapless banded silk gown. There is a corset & boning. I ultimately can zip it up but I think it would be more flattering with a little room. I was thinking of cutting a v shaped slit in the back and piping the rough edge and putting a piece of silk- covered elastic across the top. The zipper is on the side. I am wondering if this will compromise the integrity of the corset or if you have another suggestion to add a little room? Thanks!

  27. I make dance costumes out of ready wear sounds like something Ijust did and it worked just fine send pics & let us know how it works

  28. My husband Simon and I are believers living in England. Simon works in London. Some one told him that one of the receptionist was due to be married in 2 months but was too large for her beautiful wedding dress as she was pregnant. She had tried to find a dressmaker to alter the dress, but they all either refused or would have charged the earth! Simon said that he was sure I could alter it for her! He has far too much confidence in me sometimes! First I panicked, then I prayed! I then Googled and found your site.The upshot is I altered the dress and it fitted perfectly on the day. She says I am now her Fairy Godmother
    THANK YOU SO MUCH for your clear and so helpful instructions! Look out for me in Glory!

    1. Hi Mary! It sounds like your husband has great faith in you!
      You made my day! So glad you found this site and it helped you alter that dress. And so thankful you are a believer. Yes, I’ll look for you. Will we be sewing in heaven? 🙂

  29. Hi Linda,
    Do you happen to have a source for ordering the large clear plastic snaps that are sometimes used on the modesty panels of wedding dresses? I have searched all over and cannot locate anyone that sells them. I appreciate any help you can give me! Love this blog site and all the information that you offer. Thank you ‘sew’ much! Cheryl

  30. Hi Linda,
    I have another question. I am working on alterations for a tiered angle bridal gown. The tiers measure 7″, then 3″, then repeat all the way down to the floor. The gown needs to be shortened 3.25″. How do I shorten it without messing up the spacing pattern? Thanks for any and all help on the matter! Cheryl

      1. Gosh Linda, I would love to, but my kids aren’t here & I am computer illiterate!!! Argh! I have called my nephew & he will come help me tomorrow. Hang tight…pictures are coming, I hope!! Thanks!

  31. Hi Linda, I cannot get the photos sent…sorry! Maybe I can describe the gown more. The first swag/tier starts at the left side hip, curves diagonally across the skirt front, it is 7″ of a ‘flounce’, then below that is another one that is 3″. The distance of 7″ & 3″ remains the same diagonally across the skirt front. Below the 3″ there is another 7″ ‘flounce’ with another 3″ flounce below that..and it repeats in this pattern to the hem. Since it needs to be shortened over 3″ , the last two flounces are involved. Not the whole flounce…just the right side of the bottom two flounces…the left side is at the higher angle. I think the gown is a silk organza so I don’t want to make any mistakes! I hope you can get an idea of what it looks like. Thanks for any help!

    1. Okay…just made a facebook account and I was able to put up two pictures of the dress. Click on them to see what the hemline looks like. Thanks!

  32. Hi Linda,

    My daughter is getting married next saturday Sept 8th, she has got her wedding dress and it is too big now. I know I can take it in through the seams at the sides, and I can take it up in the shoulder straps but it is too big in the bust line.

    My question to you is if I was to dart it more in the underneath would this help with the bust?

    She is not that big on top, the bridesmaids dresses have an elastic band like a bra type in their dress, do you think putting a elastic through the side of the bust bring it it any?

    I do not want to ruin it and just unsure, not much time left and there is no one that can have it done before saturday.

    Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!

    Signed worried Mom!

    thank you


    1. Hi Claudia, I’m sorry, but I went out of town for Labor Day weekend and am a bit behind. Without being there to see the dress, its hard to say, but how big is the bust? More than 2 sizes too big? One thing that would be an easy fix is to sew in bra cups or pad what she has already. Bra cups can be found at Joann Fabrics for only about $5.00 a pair. Buy a few sizes and try them. They take back any that you can’t use.

      I hope that helps. Linda

    1. Hi Karen, I wish I had a good answer for you. As you can tell from my blog, designing isn’t my expertise. You may want to Google that and see if there is a qualified blog out there that speaks to design. However, if you have a pre made corset, homemade or factory made, you can always add a skirt to it. Just be sure and adjust your pattern to fit. If that is new territory for you, consider learning pattern alteration first.

      I hope that helps! Linda

  33. Hi Linda,
    What would you charge to put new drawstring in sweat pants?
    I have done them in the past, but would like your professional input.
    Even after 17+ years, I still have trouble with pricing.
    Thanks so much Judy H.

    1. Hi Judy, Thanks for your question. The short answer is that I charge by the hour no matter what job I do. I don’t know if you just have to pull a drawstring through or you have to put in new elastic that has a drawstring. If the item takes less than 5 minutes to do, I charge a minimum fee of $5-$10. But, I don’t know what part of the country you live in. That may be too much or too little. Your best bet is to call and ask a couple of alteration shops what they charge and then charge accordingly. If you haven’t read my post on pricing, you might find it helpful. Here is the link:

      Let me know if that doesn’t help. Linda

      On Thu, Feb 21, 2013 at 5:34 AM, Sew for dough

  34. Linda, I just discovered your blog and have been perusing it for days. While I learned how to make quilts years ago, I’ve only recently been doing other things like garment (which I am terrible at) and accessories like purses and things (which I’m pretty decent at). I find patterns never ever fit me the right way, made a ‘body form’ out of water activated tape, now I have to figure out how to alter the pile of shirts that I’ve made that don’t fit well. Not only that, but family members have asked me to hem and mend – this is when your blog comes in very handy. I recently fixed a giant tear in my sister in law’s shorts thanks to one of your blog posts! That won me over. Please keep posting and educating us all, you absolutely rock!

      1. Hi Linda,

        I m from Portugal, but i enjoyed your website.

        I wonder if you could explain me something: i have to suit coats that are too big in the shoulders and in the waist. There is any way i could make them fit to me ?

        Congratulations for your blog.

        Best wishes,

  35. Linda, I have just found your site, cant wait to look all thru. What got me here was “the hem from the inseam lesson”. But i noticed your info on your daughter and the sewing machines. Our pastor of 16 years went on the mission field in Africa and after he was there for a while, they also found the need for the ladies to have machines. Our church bought several for them like the ones yall got. We have also worked thru Orphans Heart in Guatamala. We have a group of ladies in our church that sew and we have made over 200 crib sheets for the Guatamala orphange. We make crazy pillowcase for our local orphange each month. But we make something I was wondering if you or your daughter would be interested in. We make washable winged kotex. We had a missionary interested because the girls in some of the countries she went to could not go to school during their cycle. We use flannel and the warm and natural batting. We put snaps on the wings and we send underwear with them. And we make inserts for heavy days. We have made over 400 and sent to several countries along with the pattern, so that they could teach the ladies how to make more. If you are interested in any of the above please let me know, we have the pattern for the pads. When we send them in to places that we have sent them before, they say the ladies are excited to see if we sent more. I will be posting a picture of them on my facebook soon and have pic. of the sheets and pillowcases. Judy’s Sewing and Monogramming. Face book .

    1. Hi Judy,
      Thank you for this comment.
      Yes, there are ladies in our church that made many for women in Haiti. I got a pattern off the internet by Googling the topic. There are many patterns. I made a few and took them with me. Some of the women are going to use them and let us know if they need more. For some countries, the women find them amazing. For others, it just isn’t something they can comprehend and change from their traditions. Thanks again.

  36. Hello,
    I am so thankful to have found your site. God bless you and all you do. I have a pattern for a men’s eton waiter jacket. It is a size 46. I get to make several of these but in other sizes. Is there a standard way to resize a pattern?
    Thanks, Vanessa

  37. Hi Linda. I’ve read and enjoyed just about every page on your wonderful blog. What a blessing you are! I do a lot of alterations and I have one now that I’d love your opinion on. This is a knit formal dress with mesh overlays. I’m doing just a small adjustment , taking in the very top portion on the side seams. The back is elastic, the front is not, so I’ll be removing some topstitching, taking it in, and flipping it out. I don’t have a coverstitch, so I’ll be doing some hand work there to finish the inside edge. Anyway, the clear elastic hanger strap is attached in my work area and will need removed. It’s presently attached to the bodice front, just beyond the side seam and is inserted between the front and the lining and caught in the understitching as well. To reinsert it in the same manner will mean a great deal of ripping out stitches and serging to access the seam. I’m thinking I’ll simply fold the edge under and attach it by hand to the inside of the dress in the new location. Do you think that would be the preferable fix ?

    1. Hi Bunny, thanks so much for your sweet comments. Yes, I think your solution sounds great. Sometimes, it’s just not feasible to reattach those in the same place they were before. As long as they aren’t impeding her range of motion and they don’t stick out anywhere, you’re in good shape. It sounds like a unique garment. Enjoy the process!

  38. Thank you so much for your opinion. I’m back for a bit more advice as I’ve spent far too much time today puzzling and worrying over this. The elastic along the top edge of the back bodice is sewn down with a coverstitch machine. I don’t have one and intended to sew the area where some stitches were removed with a double row of sewing machine straight stretch stitches. I did that and I don’t like it. My other options are a twin needle which probably couldn’t handle the great thickness here, a hand backstitch, or removing all of the topstitching and replacing it all with a zigzag. Would you have any thoughts for me? Thanks so much.

    1. Yes, I would definitely try a twin needle first. Secondly, I’m not sure the zig zag would look too good, at least, it’s not my preference. Your last resort would be to handstitch it. If the twin needle doesn’t look good (I’m thinking it should!), just use a single needle. Hope that helps!

      1. You know, the twin needle (Schmetz) just wasn’t long enough to go though all that thickness – 3 layers fashion fabric, 3 of lining, 2 of elastic and 2 of thin foam. I ended up using wooly nylon in the bobbin and using 2 rows of straight stitching. It’s not identical to the coverstitching thread, but the customer was happy. 🙂 Thank you for your advice!

  39. Is there a way to put a corset on the inside of a dress? Or will a double zipper give the same support and look of a corset?

    Thank You

    1. I think I need a few more details….Are you asking if you can put a corset into the lining? Usually, the lining is attached to the dress. Is yours separate? If you were to put a corset into the lining, I can see two problems: First, you’d have to lace it up the same each time so that the outer layer with the zipper could zip up. Second, I would think there would be bulk showing through from the lacing and the tie ends and that might not look good. When you ask about a double zipper, do you mean a zipper in the lining and a zipper in the outer fabric? I may be way off in my answers, so I’d love you to spell it out a little more for me. Thanks!

  40. Linda,
    For some reason I can’t see any icon to click to start a search after I type in the keywords. I need to alter baggy pants (male). Would it be the same as though I were raising the crotch? Thanks

  41. Linda,
    I am working on doing alteration for a bridal shop and I am working from home is it better to charge by the piece or by the hour. Help


  42. I just happened upon your blog:) hoping it will be an answer to prayer:) I started upholstering a couple of years ago and somehow stumbled upon alterations. People think because you own a sewing machine you are a seamstress! I try to explain it as seamstress is to plastic surgeon as upholsterer is to orthopedic surgeon! I’m an orthopedist:) not completely true. I have sewn for decades but when you go from hobbyist to business you have to be serious about the quality of your work and what you charge. Googling what to charge for alterations brought me to your site:)

  43. Hello,

    Thank you for having this blog!!! You’re post in regards to adding gussets to a dress is a lifesaver. I was searching EVERYWHERE to figure out how to expand my bridesmaid dress. One question for you, What do I do if my zipper is on the side? Please advise. And congratulations on your newest addition to your family! Thank you!

    best regards,


  44. Can you explain my options for bustling a tulle ball gown? My daughter would like a multiply point under bustle and I am concerned about tearing the tulle. Thank you!

  45. Would you have any advice for hemming slippery, stretchy knit fabrics? I find they don’t hem well on my machine and I do them by hand. I don’t have a serger.

  46. hi Linda
    my friend is taking the top pleats out of the top panels of 2 curtains. 86″ x86″ panels. one is off kilter i guess. my friend is going to b putting a 3″ hem in after so they can b used on a large rod. what kind of price should my friend charge for this work?

  47. Hi Linda, I bought a corset and its too small and unfortunately I cant return it, I need to make it bigger, do you have any suggestions on how i should do this. I was going to put a couple of extra panels in it.
    Debbie Barbaccia

      1. ok thanks so much !! I’d like to try my hand at making one at some point , they can be soo pretty.
        thank you

  48. You may have this answered already somewhere on your blog, but I didn’t find one. I am altering prom dresses, as probably many of you are right now. This is my first prom season as a seamstress. I sort of just fell into the alteration gig when people knew that I could sew and started bringing me things a year ago. I figured I could make some good money, so I printed out some business cards to hand around and that was that. Anyway, all that to say I am fairly new at doing things the “right” way.
    I had a girl come in with a dress that had a train, most of the prom dresses have trains this year, and it was 6 inches too long in the front. I pinned it along the front.
    My huge mistake, I hadn’t taken proper notes and remembered incorrectly that we were NOT keeping train, and I hemmed the dress all the way around the same length. When I called her and realized my mistake she was actually totally fine with not having the train. Just in case I needed to buy her a new dress, I drove to her house last night for her to try on the dress, and make sure she was 100% happy with it. When she put it on, it was a good 5 inches too short all around!! I was stunned. When we first measured it, it was 6 inches too long dragging on the ground. And I did not cut off 11 inches!! Even if I had somehow totally messed up, it would have only been an inch too short, not five!
    Luckily this was only a $100 dress from Amazon, I ordered her a new one last night and it will be here in two days.
    My only guess, the material is a very stretchy spandex type of material. Is it possible that cutting off the 6 inches took off enough weight for the dress to bounce up that far and hang 5 inches above the ground?! If so, how do I go about altering a floor length spandex dress without having the same thing happen again? Any advice on this?
    My current plan, is to have her stick around, we cut off 1 inch at a time and see how the dress hangs and I pretty much do everything while she is wearing it a tiny bit at a time to ensure no more surprises.

    1. First of all, I’m so sorry that happened to you. I can’t imagine the feeling you had when you discovered how short the dress was. Let me just say that even though I haven’t had that exact thing happen, I have had that feeling of being stunned like that too. I think every seamstress has experienced the kind of shock you went through. Secondly, good for you for replacing it and I’m glad it wasn’t more expensive.

      I don’t know if you’ve seen all the posts I’ve written on hems, but just type “hem” into the search box on my blog and there should be several pages of posts. That is true for other topics as well.

      To answer your question more specifically, I am not sure why you lost five inches on the original measurement. I haven’t experienced that kind of loss in length on a spandex material, but maybe others have on this blog. I hope others will respond if they have. What I will say, is that your idea to take one inch off at a time with the new dress is a good one. Of course, you’ll want to leave enough extra for the hem. Here’s a tip that might be helpful….I always ask my customers to bring (or wear) the exact undergarments and shoes that they will wear with the garment for the special event. That way, everything fits the same way for each fitting. If they don’t have the item purchased yet, I ask them to do so before the first fitting. Very few have resisted that idea, but if they do, I tell them that I can’t be responsible for how it fits if they change either their bra or shoes for the final fitting.

      Again, I’m sorry this happened to you, but these are the things that help us grow in our sewing experience and you will get more proficient and confident as time goes on. Keep up the good work! You are valuable to your community!

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