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Correct way to handle simple alteration?

Hansi | Posted in General Discussion on

I think I know how to do this, but I just want to check to see if there are any good tips out there . . . .

My daughter’s jazz recital is coming up and her costume includes a pair of (hideous :>) ) elastic-waisted knit pants that are WAY too big for her.  I thought I would

1.  undo the stitching for the elastic casing at the center back

2.  undo the stitching at the center back seam and take in the extra material there in a V-shape.

3.  cut and restitch the elastic to fit at the waist

4.  resew the casing

Is this the right way to go about this?  Got any tips?

Thanks and happy sewing,







Edited 4/25/2007 4:33 pm ET by Hansi


  1. Teaf5 | | #1

    Your method should work if you're taking out 3" or less and if your daughter is narrower across the back than across the front. If the pants are oversized all over, it might be better to take the excess out of the side seams so that both the front and back will be smaller and more proportional.

    Really oversized pants often have very long crotch lengths that make them even less flattering. On knit pants, you can shorten this by cutting off the waistband and reattaching it 2 or more inches lower; however, this will also shorten the pants, so you can do it only if the pants are also too long for her.

    Before you do any alterations, check with other dancers to see if anyone has a pair that's too small for them--maybe you could trade for a better fitting pair and save another parent a lot of trouble.

    1. Hansi | | #6

      Thank you very much for the excellent suggestions.  Since two people have said do the side seams instead of the back I'll do it that way.  I guess I thought that it had to be the center back because when I take my own pants (too chicken to try to do my own alterations on clothes I like--terrible I know!)  to the alterations place to get waists taken in they take them in from the center back.

      Again, thank you very much for responding to my question.

      1. ineedaserger329 | | #7

        good luck with your alterations, and wish your daughter the best of luck at her performance....

        1. Hansi | | #8


      2. Teaf5 | | #9

        The alterations people take in the center back because it's faster to do just one alteration instead of two; plus, you don't interfere with as many design features like pockets, plackets, or belt loops.For dance, the overall line of the leg is important, so taking in the side seams on an oversized pair of pants will result in a neater fit.

        1. Hansi | | #10

          Thanks, it's good to have that information.  I just finished my daughter's pants and I think they'll be fine.  I really appreciate the help I got from the message board.


  2. ctirish | | #2

    I hate to respond with questions but it helps to clarify your questions.  Have you seen the other girls costumes to see how it should fit?  You may want to speak to the teacher before you start altering it to see if it comes in a smaller size. 

     Costume fabric can be pretty tricky to sew; do you know what kind of material it is and its composition?  If it is slippery there are a few tricks to make it behave well while sewing.

     Usually when you are taking something in, it would be done evenly from the side seams rather than the crotch seam unless that is where you have determined the problem lies. A casing waistband can be shortened by opening the casing at the back seam or side seam and just shortening the elastic.  Is there a reason to not do it that way?

    Is there any beading or decoration on these pants?

    1. Hansi | | #4

      Hi Citrish,

      Thank you for the thoughtful reply.  I have seen different versions of this costume and have a pretty good idea of how it should fit.  The fabric is a medium weight synthetic knit w/no beading; not especially slippery.  I like the idea of checking with other dancer's moms; I don't have much time though.  The dress rehearsal is Monday and I don't have access to a class list.   I hope I got all your questions and thanks once again for the post.



      1. ctirish | | #11

        Hansi,  The dress rehersal isn't until Monday.. you have plenty of time. I was sewing the veil for my daughter's  wedding the morning of the wedding. She didn't tell me until the night before that she wanted it attached to a barette so she could take it off for the reception.

        When I worked on my girls costumes I was always finishing up the day of the recital. You have lots of time left.  Waiting until the last minute is a bad habit I picked up from my mother. She was always sewing late into the night whenever she or one of us had an event. 

        I am glad they are done, you can rest and see how they look on Monday. Don't worry, the distance you are away from the stage helps too.  Please post pictures of your alterations. Thanks jane

        1. Hansi | | #12

          Thanks, Jane.  I'll try to get pictures up.  It felt good to take something goofed up and fix it.  I took the day off from work yesterday (not for this, just for a break) and it was therapeutic to work on it.

          Again, thanks very much for your help.

          1. ctirish | | #13

            How was the jazz recital? Did her costume stay together? Do you have pictures yet to post. We are sewing snoops, we want to see what everyone works on and how they came out. jane

          2. Hansi | | #14

            Thanks for following up.  The pants came out great and I really felt proud that I could take something goofed up and fix it--with a little help from the helpful sewers on the message boards.  In fact, my daughter decided to keep the pants to practice in next year.  (The only part of the costume she decided to keep--she didn't care for the costume as a whole.)

  3. Ralphetta | | #3

    I don't know if it is possible, but if they can be washed they might shrink to the size you want and save you all the sewing. 

    1. Hansi | | #5

      Thank you for the idea.  I'll try it.

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