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Making a Blouse Fit Better

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Whether your blouse doesn't fit as well as it used to or you have something new that needs altering, there are many easy ways to fix up a blouse and make it fit better. This is a guide about making a blouse fit better.
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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

April 13, 20151 found this helpful

My daughter bought a pretty blouse, but it was too big on the sides of the blouse. How do I alter the sides with a sewing machine to make it form fitting? I am a beginner on sewing so if you can make it easy to understand that would be helpful. Also if you have step by step pictures of how to do that would be very helpful. I have looked on line, but I don't see anything to help me.

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Thank you.

By Sandra K. from Mobile, AL

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April 13, 20150 found this helpful

I am 75 years old and have been sewing since I was 10. When I have to alter clothes, I do it the easy way, nobody would ever pay for it to be done the way I do it, but I don't care. I figure it's my business. What I do is figure out how much a garment has to be taken in and pin the sides then I use the sewing machine to take it in.

I would also recommend that before sewing you try the garment on. I also realize that for people that are perfectionists or have OCD to have a garment that is altered in that method. Depending on how large the alteration is you can trim off the amount that is in the seam after you do the sewing. I just have never had the time or patience to do my own alterations the way a professional would. When I was in high school I got "A" on the clothes I made in home ec., so I know the proper way of doing things.

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April 19, 20151 found this helpful

Another way to alter a garment is to put it on inside out and hand baste (yes, with a needle and thread - be sure to leave a little 'wiggle room for wearing ease, and don't stab your daughter:).

Pay attention to the underarm area, and the sleeves - any alterations you make to the sides will require you to 'ease' those areas (arms and sleeves) to ensure it looks right after the alteration is made.

I could break it down into bullet points but the above makes it pretty clear. After the garment is hand basted, have your daughter take it off, turn it right side out, and try it on - this will tell you how it will look and fit after you carefully machine sew over your basting stitches.

It is sometimes easier to create a new seam up the front over the shoulder and down the back (on both sides) - if the blouse style will look right, it's a very simple way to alter a blouse or dress with sleeves that fit perfectly but is too wide otherwise. Again, to do this, the easiest way to do so is to have your daughter wear the blouse inside out so you can 'fit' it and hand baste the new seams.

I teach 'total newbs' here in Scotland - after 50+years in the USA where I also taught sewing. We do a lot of charity shop buying (Salvation Army, Red Cross, Heart Foundation, other charities with thrift shops) and I teach my students how to alter many items using this method - it works a treat!

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0 found this helpful
January 12, 2011

I am struggling to get my blouse sleeves fitting properly. When I lift my arms, it is too tight under the arms and pulls across my back. Please help! Thanks.

By Kathy from South Africa

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January 12, 20110 found this helpful

Believe it or not, it is usually because the shoulders are too big. Move the upper sleeve in more..try 1/2 inch and baste, then try more if needed.

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January 12, 20110 found this helpful

You might try going up in blouse sizes, sometimes we women like to fit into a size, instead of fitting into what fits. Also, diff. manufacturers make clothes diff. one size may fit totally different than another manufacturer.

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January 12, 20110 found this helpful

I don't think there is much you can do for a blouse that fits too small. If you really want to wear it maybe it would look cute left unbuttoned with a shirt underneath and belted at the waist. Good luck!

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January 13, 20110 found this helpful

The best solution for you would be homemade blouses that you can adjust the size of the arms. Do you sew or know someone who does?

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January 13, 20110 found this helpful

Are you sewing this blouse and looking for advice on how to adjust the pattern? This is what it sounds like to me, but sadly, I am not a good enough sewer to help with that. Hopefully others like siris will come to your aid.

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January 17, 20111 found this helpful

There's also something called a "gusset" that you can add to the arms eye of the blouse that will give you some extra room. It's an extra piece of fabric, shaped like an ogee, that you stitch in between the sleeve and the sleeve opening.

I'm a costume designer, so I add these to costumes to give actors the extra room they need for sword fighting! Here's a link to instructions if you'd like to give it a try:

fashion-incubator.com/archive/gussets_and_collars/

You can sometimes "steal" the fabric from a hem or facing, or find similar fabric at a fabric store. Hope that helps!

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Anonymous
March 4, 20160 found this helpful

That is eaxactly what I need!

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March 11, 20140 found this helpful

I ordered 4 blouses online, and it turned out to be the wrong size. It's 6x which is the largest size they had. I'm 16 years old and would like to know how could I make the blouse bigger for me? The fabric is cotton and polyester. Please someone help.

By Tyvia

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
March 11, 20140 found this helpful

It would depend on the style of the blouse and how much bigger you need it. Without that information it will be hard for anybody to give you advice. That being said, are you a competent seamstress or know how to sew?

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March 17, 20140 found this helpful

You sound as though you have more than a little understanding of sewing (you mention the fabric content), so as a sewing teacher, I'm going to suggest the following:

Put on the foundation garments you will wear with this blouse (bra, cami, both).

Put the blouse on inside out - unbuttoned or fastened.

With a flexible tape measure, measure and write down how many inches you need and where to make the blouse close properly, and so that the sleeves aren't too tight.

Then take the blouse off, lay it out on the table or bed, and look at it from several angles - walk around it looking at it thinking "If I open the shoulder seams on both sides then cut from front to back hem, and then insert a fabric panel (matching or contrasting) with a 1/4" seam allowance on each side of each panel where I sew it into the blouse, how many inches of fabric panel would I need, and how would it look when I was finished?"

You can do the same with the sleeve - open the shoulder seam where it meets the sleeve, cut straight up the middle of the sleeve, insert a fabric panel, and then stitch it with a 1/4" seam allowance at each side of the panel to the cut you made in the sleeve.

You can really change the look of the blouse if you use a contrasting set of panels, or you can simply enlarge the blouse maintaining the essential look by inserting matching panels - be sure to choose a match in both colour and fabric content to maintain the style.

Good luck! This will work (I know because I've done it) and if you are very careful, you will be able to have the look of that blouse on you, in your size:)

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0 found this helpful
November 2, 2010

My brother-in-law got me a beautiful blouse in China. But I think the language barrier got in the way and he purchased a child's size. The front material is gorgeous and the back is plain black crepe, with a mandarin collar. I need about 8 inches more in width in the back and some more room in the sleeves. Can anyone think of a way to make this that much bigger? Or how can I use the front material and sew into another Asian inspired blouse? The front brocade material is a very traditional Asian print. Thanks.

By Fran from Dallas, TX

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November 2, 20100 found this helpful

I guess I would go with using the front to make a different blouse, if you can find a pattern that it would work on.

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November 2, 20100 found this helpful

You might be able to add solid color cuffs and either border a large square of the back or add side panels to make the blouse larger. Black would set off most oriental fabrics. You could also keep the front and use a solid color for the back. My aunt is an avid quilter and has made all sorts of interesting tops this way. I have a fabulous vest that was made from too little fabric that she then bordered and added two inch quilter squares around the outside. It looks great and is really unique.

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November 3, 20100 found this helpful

The side seams would work, or else you could cut a slit down the middle of the back and insert a triangular piece of coordinating fabric which would widen the back to have a slight wider hem area which is oriental looking.

Probably, I would do the side seams with pieces of coordinating fabric that is patch worked in long strips of coordinated colors and fabrics. Or if nothing else works, perhaps make a beautiful one of a kind bag out of the top, and use the top of the shirt cut out and finished as a dickey for under sweaters. I don't know the value of the fabric.

Hope it works out for you.

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April 13, 20150 found this helpful

I have a blouse that that has spaghetti straps on each side of a top under it. The problem is that the wide bra where you fasten it in back, shows above the back of the shirt. How do I alter it so it won't show? Will I have to pull up the ends of the spaghetti straps close to bra on each side and sew it? How will I do it?

By Sandra K. from Mobile, AL

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
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