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:
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.
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.
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.
Once you have taken note of the measurements, remove all of the safety pins.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
We marked (also with safety pins) where we wanted the leg width to be at the ankle and also the final hem length.
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.
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.
Mark on both sides and pin to hold in the layers in place while you sew.
Sew along the chalk lines, removing the pins right before you get to them.
Trim off the excess fabric, and serge or zig zag the new edges.
Shortening the leg length
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.
Remove the safety pin and fold the raw edge over 1/4 of an inch, press flat with an iron.
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.
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!