Tag Archives: sewing tutorial

Altering a jumpsuit

Recently I was asked to alter a jumpsuit for some women from a pie baking company.  They always wear jumpsuits to protect their clothing from the messy job of baking. She had found Berne jumpsuits to be the closest fitting for women, but they still needed alterations to look more girly and less boxy. Here’s the original jumpsuit, designed for a man:



We decided to take width out in the chest area, taper the legs and shorten the leg length. Here are the step by step instructions on altering a jumpsuit.

Steps to altering a jumpsuit:

altering a jumpsuit

We started with the chest area. The armpit seam is the easiest place to begin when altering a jumpsuit or a shirt. While the jumpsuit was on the wearer, we marked with safety pins which areas needed taking in and how much. Make sure to have the wearer move around to make sure they can still move comfortably after the changes have been made. I’ve found that safety pins work better than straight pins when marking because they won’t fall out when the garment is being taken off- unmarking your place and they won’t stick into the wearer either.

altering a jumpsuit

Once the markings have been made, use a ruler and chalk to mark the exact amount to be taken in. I measured in at least 3 places in this case- by the sleeve, the armpit and just above the waist.

altering a jumpsuit

Take note of the measurements- you will need them to mark the other side of the jumpsuit and when you turn the jumpsuit inside out and remark where the actual sewing and trimming will take place.

altering a jumpsuit

altering a jumpsuit

Once you have taken note of the measurements, remove all of the safety pins.

altering a jumpsuit

Turn the jumpsuit inside out and re-mark with the chalk the previous measurements and where the side seam will be taken in. Do this on both sides of the jumpsuit.


Once the markings have been made, flatten out the front and back sides of the jumpsuit to make sure the existing seams are flat and to avoid any puckering as sewn, then pin along the chalk line to be stitched.

altering a jumpsuit

Follow the chalk line removing the pins before you sew over them (sewing over pins in very bad for sewing machines!)

Tip: It’s more important to sew in a nice straight line than it is to follow the chalk lines exactly.

altering a jumpsuit

When you are satisfied that the new side seam is exactly where you want it, trim away the excess fabric, cut so that you leave about 1/4 of an inch of fabric from the new seam.

altering a jumpsuit

If you have a serger, it’s a good idea to serge the new seam to reinforce it and avoid fraying when the jumpsuit is washed.

altering a jumpsuit

If you don’t have a serger, use a zig zag stitch on a regular sewing machine to finish off the new seam.

Tapering the legs at the side seam

altering a jumpsuitWe marked (also with safety pins) where we wanted the leg width to be at the ankle and also the final hem length.
altering a jumpsuit

We marked with a safety pin, close to the ankle, where we wanted the pants leg to be tapered. Using the measurement that we took on the outside, we turned the jumpsuit inside out and marked that measurement on the inside of the leg in roughly the same spot.

altering a jumpsuit

Using chalk and a ruler, place the top of the ruler at the bottom of the pocket at the existing seam and the bottom of the ruler to the marking you made closer to the bottom of the leg and draw a straight line down.

altering a jumpsuit

Mark on both sides and pin to hold in the layers in place while you sew.

altering a jumpsuit

Sew along the chalk lines, removing the pins right before you get to them.

altering a jumpsuit

Trim off the excess fabric, and serge or zig zag the new edges.

Shortening the leg length

altering a jumpsuit

Move the safety pin marking to the inside of the leg, and mark with a chalk line. In this case, the chalk line represents what we want the the final, finished length to be. Cut the excess length off, leaving 2 inches of fabric below the finish line.
altering a jumpsuit

Remove the safety pin and fold the raw edge over 1/4 of an inch, press flat with an iron.
altering a jumpsuit

Now fold the fabric over again until the edge lines up with your final length chalk line. Press flat with an iron and pin into place.

altering a jumpsuit

Sew around the bottom of the pant legs. The raw edge is hidden leaving a nicely finished edge.  Turn the garment right side out and it’s all finished!

Thanks for following along, if you have any questions or comments please pass them on, I would love feedback on this tutorial. Cheers!


make a tiered skirt

skirt tutorial elastic waistband

An easy step-by-step skirt tutorial elastic waistband,  a tier skirt with three layers of fabric. Learn techniques in gathering with a basting stitch and installing an elastic waistband. This project is meant to be adaptable to any sized girl or woman.
make a tiered skirt how to, skirt tutorial elastic waistbandStep 1:  Choose three fabrics to work with (at least 1/2 a yard) will make any sized skirt. Arrange the fabrics by layer. For sizing, measure waist, hips and length. Based on total length, (in this case I wanted the skirt to be 22 inches long) I cut the top layer 10″ wide, 2nd layer 8 inches wide, and bottom layer 9 inches wide. Based on waist size, (in this case, a  36 inch waist) I cut the 10 inch wide top layer to be 39 inches long. A bit of wiggle room and space for the hips.  Add 6 inches on the width to the 2nd layer and 6 inches or more of width for the bottom layer. The layers should look like this when laid out next to each other:

make a tiered skirtStep 2: Because the widths of most fabrics (45″ to 60″) aren’t long enough accommodate the 2nd and 3rd layer to be a single piece, I cut the two longer bottom layers so they’ll have a seam on either side. The top layer is one piece and the seam will be in the center back.

serge the edgesStep 3: You will want to ‘stay’ or finish all of the edges of the three tiers. If you have access to a serger (above) serge all of the edges and each tier so it makes a loop. If you don’t have a serger, you can zip zag stitch around the unfinished edges.

all edges serged When all edges have been serged or zig zag stitched and the ends connected to make a loop of each layer it should look like the above picture.

making a dartStep 4: To narrow up the waist of a woman’s skirt, (no need to bother for little girls) add two darts in the back, 6 inches or so out from the center back seam. Make the darts about 1 inch wide and 5 inches long. This will take away some of the need for gathering the waist and will make the elastic waist fit better and look less bunchy.

match the lines and sewStep 5: With the right sides together, match up the dart lines and sew along your marked line.

darts and center back of skirtThe darts should look like this when finished, about 6 inches out on either side of the center back seam.

turn right side out and pressTurn the fabric right side out and press the darts flat with an iron.
baste top edges of tier 2 and 3Step 6: With the longest stitch length on your sewing machine you can set, ‘baste’ the top edges of tier 2 and 3. Begin and end in the center back of the layer. Leave the threads a few inches long so gathering will be easier, especially as you begin gathering.

gather the basted edgeStep 7: By pulling the thread on either side (but not both) of the basted stitch, gather the top of the layer, working around the looped layer to make the gathers even all the way around.

Step 8: Place the bottom of the top tier and the top of the 2nd tier layers, right sides together. Placing the center back seam of the top tier and the center back (and where you began your basting stitch) together and pin into place. Adjust gathers so the layer lengths match up and the gathers are distributed evenly all the way around the loop.
sew layers together, gathered edge on topStep 9: Beginning at the center back and where your basting begins, sew the two layers together. Put the gathered edge on top as you sew so you can keep an eye on the gathers as you sew over them and control the evenness.

turn right side out and pressTurn the seam right side out and press flat. Iron with the seams facing up on the inside so you can top stitch all the inside layers together in a future step.

repeat for the third tierStep 10:  To connect the 2nd layer the top of the third layer, repeat step 7- 9.

Step 11:  Top stitch around the outside of both layers (above).
measure for the elastic waist, skirt tutorial elastic waistbandStep 12: Measure the waist of the girl who will be wearing the skirt and cut the elastic 3 inches shorter than waist size.

Step 13: Make the casing for the elastic by ironing over the top tier of fabric the width of the elastic and an extra 1/8 of an inch. (In the picture above, I ironed over twice so the unfinished seam in buried. This is a good idea if you didn’t serge the edge. Otherwise, you can leave the serged edge exposed and only fold the waistband over once when making the casing for the elastic.)

sew a sleeve for elastic, skirt tutorial elastic waistbandStep 14: Beginning at the center back (mark the center back with ribbon, a label if you like) sew closely to the edge all the way around the waist but stopping about 3 inches from sealing the casing is completely closed.

use a safety pin to guide elastic, skirt tutorial elastic waistbandStep 15: Take your piece of elastic and using a large, easy to grab safety pin, guide the elastic through the gap you left in the casing until it makes it all the way around and back to the opening.
sew the ends of elastic together, skirt tutorial elastic waistbandStep 16: Making sure the elastic is not twisted inside the casing, place one end of the elastic on top of the other end, with about 1 inch of overlap and sew the ends of the elastic together with a repeated back and forth stitch.

sew closed the waistband opening, skirt tutorial elastic waistbandStep 17: Pull the sewn together elastic ends up into the casing and sew the gap closed.

iron the hem into place, double foldedStep 18: For the bottom hem, iron the hem into place (to be the skirt length you desire), double fold (pictured above) or single fold (if your edges are serged) into place and top stitch all the way around.

sew rick rack to a tier of the skirt Step 19: If desired, sew rick rack, lace or ribbon around layers of the skirt for detail and emphasis.

3 tiered skirt with gathering and rick rack

Well done!

tutorial: hugs, kisses and hearts valentine banner

A quick, easy Valentine craft for all ages.
felt heart garlandWe were blessed with a winter storm last night blanketing everything with fresh sparkly powder. I couldn’t help myself but to bundle up and trudge out into the chill for a photo or two of valentine project fun. The neighbor kids hiked over, paused to watch me take pictures then asked if they could have the banners when I was done, that’s a good sign, eh?

felt hearts xoYou could really make the piece of the banner in any size. My hearts, X’s and O’s were roughly 4″ tall, but they would be darling a little smaller too. Make a few different sizes and shapes of heart patterns. Cut out hearts in various colors of felt in reds, purples, pinks, maybe even orange too. Cut out X’s and O’s from white felt. The hearts were easiest to cut out when folded in half, the letters were easier to just cut out flat.

line up hearts

Line up hearts and letters in a color order you like. I decided 6 hearts then XO, 6 hearts then XO for my pattern.

sew across felt hearts

Sew across the wide part of the heart, top 1/3 of X and O. I chose bright orange thread- just for fun. It’s very secondary and won’t be noticed but when studied at close range.

hearts sewn together

All sewn together, side by side, with the smallest gaps possible in between.

close up hearts

Hang them up where ever, inside or out!

felt heart banner