How to Make Clothes Bigger with a Sewing Machine tips featured by top US sewing blogger, The Sewing Korner

There are a lot of reasons why people sometimes want to make clothes bigger, the most obvious one being they have gained some weight. Whether you’re a seamstress or not, this task isn’t as difficult as it might sound because there are simple ways to let out your clothes using just a basic sewing machine, and the steps are much easier than you think.

Here are some sewing machine hacks to make your clothes bigger:
  • Combine Your Shirt with Another Shirt
  • Give Your Shirt a New Set of Sleeves
  • Keeping the Basic Design But Nothing Else
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    Why Make Your Clothes Bigger?

    When your goal is to make clothes bigger, you have numerous options available to you, and most of these options require only the most basic sewing skills. This means you don’t have to be a professional seamstress to enlarge that dress or pair of pants because the methods used are fast and simple.

    In addition to weight gain, there can be other reasons for needing to enlarge your clothing. This is especially true for teenagers who tend to grow taller every time you turn around. Fortunately, you can save both time and money by making clothes bigger yourself, and if you need a few easy tips to enjoy roomier clothing, below are just a few of them.

    1. Combine Your Shirt with Another Shirt

    If your t-shirt or casual shirt is too small, you can use your sewing machine to fix the problem, and the only skill required is to sew in a straight line! You can do this by hand if you like, but using a sewing machine will make the task much simpler and certainly much faster. Let’s say your t-shirt is mostly blue – you’d start by buying another blue t-shirt that is the same shade as the original one.

    Next, you cut the arms (sleeves) off of the original shirt, then cut down the side seams all the way so that the front and back of the shirt are separated. Take the new t-shirt and cut side strips from it, then sew those strips on the original t-shirt between the front and the back. Tidy up the shirt by trimming around the armholes. You can also use fabric glue if you don’t want to sew, but the shirt won’t be as durable and the look won’t be as neat. Using a sewing machine is definitely recommended for this trick.

    iStock-811403340 950 x 540 How to make clothes bigger Sewing machine hacks

    2. Give Your Shirt a New Set of Sleeves

    Yet another way to make a shirt bigger is to give it a whole new set of sleeves. Using this technique, you start by removing the sleeves on an older shirt. Then you cut down the seams, much like what was described in the previous technique, so that the front and back of the shirt are separated.

    Using either a shirt you already have or a brand-new shirt that you just bought, trace a pattern for the sleeves and the sides of that shirt, then sew each of the new sides and the sleeves together. Finally, you sew this final piece onto the original shirt, making it larger and giving it a new look at the same time. You can even use different colored shirts for the two pieces if you like, which will make it look quite unique in the end.

    3. Keeping the Basic Design but Nothing Else

    If you have medium sewing skills and are mostly interested in keeping the picture or design that’s in the middle of the shirt, this technique will do fine when your goal is to make clothes bigger. T-shirt lovers often use this method if they have a concert t-shirt that is starting to wear out on the sides or top of the shirt, for example, but they don’t want to get rid of the shirt. You start by cutting out the main design in the center of the shirt, but leave one to two inches around the photo or design so that you have some “playing around” room.

    Next, you simply get another t-shirt that’s the same color or close to it and sew your “patch” onto the t-shirt. Most people try to get an exact match, but if your design is filled with lots of different colors, that isn’t a necessity. In fact, when it comes to t-shirts, they might actually look better with a few odd colors thrown in together. This is a simple technique that works!

    4. How to Make a Dress Bigger

    If you have a dress you’d like to make bigger, it’s much easier than you might think. You have to start by measuring the seam allowance, and you do this by turning the dress inside out and measuring the seam with a measuring tape. If the seam allowance is 1/4 inch or less, you don’t have enough to alter the dress; however, if the seam allowance is more than 1/4 inch, you can move onto the next step.

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    Let’s say you need to make the waist bigger. You’ll start by measuring the waist of the dress itself and then the size of your own waist, and you subtract the right number so that you know how much to let out the dress. Then you’ll take that number and divide it by four to get the number to mark on each side of the stitching. For example, if you’re going to let out a total of two inches, you’ll mark 1/2 inch from each side of the dress (2 inches divided by 4 is 1/2 inch).

    After marking 1/2 inch from each side with sewing chalk, go ahead and use a seam ripper and tear out the seam, being careful not to be too rough in the process. Make sure you stop at any point where the seam meets another seam so the dress doesn’t tear. At this time, you’re ready to start sewing the seams, which you’ll do by starting at the mark you made with the chalk. Once this step is complete, you simply iron the seams flat for a better look, then try the dress on to see how good of a job you did!

    If the dress is still too tight, you can simply start the process over again. In fact, that’s one of the most convenient aspects of this technique, because loosening up clothing is definitely a lot easier than tightening them up.

    5. How to Make Pants and Jeans Bigger

    If you’re trying to figure out a way to make clothes bigger, chances are good you’re thinking about a pair of jeans or pants. After all, people’s waistlines expand over time, but that doesn’t mean they’re willing to give up their favorite pair of pants as a sacrifice! To get started, you of course have to measure your waist to find out what size your pants have to be for you to be comfortable again. Don’t worry – no one can see this number but you!

    Next, go ahead and cut down each side of the pants right at the seam, preferably down to the bottom of the back yoke because most of the time, when your waist gets bigger, your tummy does too. If you need to enlarge your pants a total of two inches, you’ll need roughly one inch of extra space on each side seam. For the extra material, try to match the color and fabric with the original pair of pants so that no one can tell you’ve altered them.

    Video: Easy Way to Upsize Jeans

    Fold the new fabric in half and make sure it is long enough to fill the openings made when you cut the two side seams open. Place the fabric on a table and place the pants (with the open seam showing) on top of the fabric, then mark the “opening” on the extra fabric with chalk or a fabric marker. Once you remove the fabric, you’ll see a drawing of how much extra fabric you’ll need. Naturally, you’ll need two of these fabric pieces – one for each seam.

    Cut around the chalk drawing so that it is bigger than the seam opening, then go ahead and sew all around the edges of the fabric, except for the top portion of the fabric, which should be the top of the fold and shouldn’t need sewing anyway. You’ll now have a piece of fabric sewn on three sides with a marking in the middle of the fabric that matches the seam opening in the seam of the pants. Place it underneath the pants again and make sure the drawing lines up with the seam opening.

    Next, pin the fabric and the pants together so you’ll know exactly where to sew, and use a zigzag stitch to sew the two pieces together. With a zigzag stitch, the additional fabric won’t be quite as noticeable and the alteration should look more natural. If you’re unsure if you did everything correctly, baste the fabric and pants together, then try on the pants to make sure you’ve measured properly. That way, you can make changes in the size of extra fabric if you need to. Only do the zigzag stitch when you’re certain the extra piece of fabric will do the trick.

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