Author Topic: tailoring dress shirts, hemming pants?  (Read 1059 times)

practik

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tailoring dress shirts, hemming pants?
« on: April 27, 2018, 07:41:19 PM »
Just dropped money on a good tailor, which got me wondering what it would take for me to learn to tailor my own clothes? Would be like shortening sleeves, adding body darts to dress shirts, and hemming jeans and dress pants. I assume take a class, get a sewing machine, practice, but anyone have experience with this? I do surgery on people so... was thinking some skills could translate haha

TheWifeHalf

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Re: tailoring dress shirts, hemming pants?
« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2018, 08:34:43 PM »
Learn how to run a sewing machine, buy some clothes from Goodwill to practice on.
Start with sleeve, pants hems. Darts will be a little trickier, but certainly achievable. For the darts, you can find instructions online
Start with a bigger stitch so mistakes are easily ripped out, then not so big when you know what you're doing.

I've been sewing since I was 7, I'm almost 60, and worked at an alterations shop for a couple of years. Oh, and before that I was a vet tech and saw dogs and cats being sewn up. Clothes are much easier and not as messy.

(When you get a sewing machine, go over some lines on a paper, with no thread, just needle holes to learn and to get familiar with it.)

geekette

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Re: tailoring dress shirts, hemming pants?
« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2018, 08:43:34 PM »
Most "learn to sew" classes would start with something easy like a pillowcase or pajama pants, not tailoring.  I'm fairly new to sewing, myself (I've done a lot of "home dec" stuff, but not much clothing).  Hemming pants is fairly straightforward, and can be done by hand (or even <gasp> with hem tape).  Look on youtube for hemming jeans (there's a trick to keeping the original hem, I believe).  Adding body darts seems like it would be easy, but placement?  Not so sure; maybe you could copy something a tailor has done (hand or machine baste first).  I don't think I'd attempt shortening sleeves if you're talking a dress shirt with cuffs. 

There are cheap, frustrating plastic junk sewing machines, and fancy expensive ones.  Some think the older stuff is better for beginners (as long as it works)  I have 2 vintage machines, a 25 year old Kenmore, and a cast iron tank of a '30's Singer that will sew anything (as long as you just want a straight stitch!)

Starting with thrift store clothes is a great idea!

deborah

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Re: tailoring dress shirts, hemming pants?
« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2018, 12:01:08 AM »
Darts are easy, but their placement can be tricky. All these things are much easier than what stores do in their beginner's class. Take one, and move on from there.

Anon in Alaska

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Re: tailoring dress shirts, hemming pants?
« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2018, 03:57:10 AM »
Sewing machines can be expensive. Unless you buy a used one, you might end up spending enough money that it would be cheaper to just pay someone to hem the pants.

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: tailoring dress shirts, hemming pants?
« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2018, 01:45:18 PM »
Sewing machines can be expensive. Unless you buy a used one, you might end up spending enough money that it would be cheaper to just pay someone to hem the pants.

I have been making do since like 2004 with one my mom probably bought at Walmart on Black Friday for like $85. It has definitely saved me more than that. (Well, on tailoring...I also have a very expensive hobby of making clothes from scratch :-). )

Pants hemming is easy. Tailoring a short is a whole 'nother can of worms that I have never attempted, but I like the idea to take a beginning class and practice on Goodwill clothes.

skibum

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Re: tailoring dress shirts, hemming pants?
« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2018, 11:53:28 AM »
Why not start with hand sewing? Trousers are best hemmed that way anyway, and you don't have to spend money on a machine before you know it's something you want to do. Here is a good basic primer on hand stitching:
http://sewsitall.blogspot.ca/2010/10/hand-sewing-basic-stitches.html

A dart is actually pretty easy to hand stitch with some practice.

thecampguy

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Re: tailoring dress shirts, hemming pants?
« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2018, 02:25:45 PM »
The nice thing about sewing/tailoring skills is that they only get better the more you use them.

I second a lot of what was already mentioned.

Learn some hand stitches, practice and get the feel on your machine with scraps.

As for adding darts, it is easier than you think. Plus there are hundreds of tutorials on youtube.
I learned to sew and draft/drape patterns from a friend. A basic class may be too "basic" for what you are looking to accomplish. Put a call out to friends and family, someone is bound to sew and have a machine they'd be willing to lend you.

Happy sewing!

practik

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Re: tailoring dress shirts, hemming pants?
« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2018, 05:51:36 PM »
I just wanted to say thanks to everyone for the great responses! I think I will start with hand sewing to hem pants, and might move on to trying darts on the shirts I was going to donate. If all goes well, I may borrow or invest in a sewing machine, and think about doing sleeves at some point as well!

ReginaD.

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Re: tailoring dress shirts, hemming pants?
« Reply #9 on: August 07, 2018, 12:52:49 AM »
If all goes well, I may borrow or invest in a sewing machine, and think about doing sleeves at some point as well!
Sorry for a late response, I see that topic isn't new. You can always keep in touch with a local sewing community. Sometimes they provide free lessons for beginners.
It's good to have a personal sewing machine but only when you have someone experienced around to help you. Mostly, online tutorials are no help (or maybe it's just me). I can't imagine what could I do without my aunts help. So my first advice for you is to decide whether are you going to make sewing your profession/hobby or not. If your answer is yes, then you can go and search for some variants to choose. It's not a big deal to search for good reviews, that's how I choose mine: https://wisepick.org/janome-sewing-machine-reviews/.

Or if you're lucky enough you can find a vintage one on a garage sell for a good price. It could be even better than a brand-new-one, because you can meet the previous owner in person and ask him/her questions.

practik

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Re: tailoring dress shirts, hemming pants?
« Reply #10 on: August 11, 2018, 07:54:39 AM »
thanks for the response! I'm still listening to the advice in this thread! I haven't committed to making sewing a big hobby (and definitely not profession, since I have a great day job) since I still haven't done enough hand sewing yet. I will definitely keep your tips in mind if I do end up getting more into it and buying a machine!