Jeans Makeover

Too bad I didn’t remember to take a before picture – you’d have seen jeans that were very baggy in the bum with upper legs that were WAAAAY too wide!

So here’s how this goes: I go to a local thrift store and buy a pair of jeans that fit nicely in the waist and high hip. That’s my starting point. The jeans cost me $5! There’s no point in buying new expensive jeans retail because they fit no better than those from the thrift store.

Get the jeans home and wash them a couple of times to get rid of the smell (and to shrink them if they haven’t been worn a lot).

I open the inner leg seam from knee, through crotch, to knee. I pin, then straight stitch, front to back through the crotch making sure I am cutting out about 2 1/2″ at the back crotch seam area tapering the alignment along the inner leg till the front and back match at the knee – I don’t cut anything at this point because I want to check fit before cutting. The fabric eventually removed from the back crotch and back inner legs looks like this – sort of triangular.

Once I’m sure of the fit (I may want to remove a bit more from the back crotch and back inner leg – a smigeon from the front as well) I stitch, cut, and serge the inner legs through the crotch, then edge stitch the seam flat.


The back fits reasonably snugly with enough give for sitting. I shorten the legs – cut the length of the leg at the inner seam 28″ (enough to serge the edge and turn up a 5/8″ hem – my inseam is 27 1/4″).

The front fits smoothly, not baggy.IMG_7252

I make two other alterations – I carefully cut out the front grommet – they cut holes in my sweaters – patch, and reinforce the hole, sew on a button; the second alteration is to extend the depth of the right front pocket to hold my iPhone securely.

This is an earlier pair adjusted to fit the same way. I’ve worn this pair a lot – they’re very comfortable.IMG_7255

Sweater Makeover

For years I haven’t been able to buy a wool sweater locally and I love wearing wool pullovers. About eight years ago I came across WoolOvers online – a British company specializing in fine cashmere, cotton and wool knitwear. I’ve been buying from them merino/cashmere pullovers which are fine enough to wear over a cotton turtleneck and under a jacket, yet warm enough to wear with a turtleneck alone. Over the years, I’ve built up a collection in a range of colours (and I’ve knit socks to “match” so I have an “outfit”).

I get regular emails from WoolOvers – I like to see what they’ve got on sale – and a couple of weeks ago they were advertising a soft pink merino/cashmere pullover – I liked the colour so I ordered one (and while I was ordering I picked out a second in “bluebell”). These crewneck sweaters were in “unisex” sizing – now I know that’s larger than the sizing for the women’s classic crewneck sweater that I’ve been buying but since I liked the colours added them to the shopping cart and finished the transaction hoping the size I selected would be in the ballpark.

Three days ago the two sweaters arrived having been intercepted by Canada Customs – to accept the sweaters I had to pay an additional $52.79! It wasn’t until I’d paid the duty, opened the parcel that I discovered just how much bigger these unisex sweaters were!



Pale Pink Unisex Crewneck

Both a lot wider and longer! Not exactly a sweater for a SHORT woman!

I’m now heavily invested in these two crewneck pullovers – so I decide to remake them (before wearing either for the first time) – first by shortening the body and the sleeves, then taking in both body and sleeves so these two pullovers will fit more or less like my others.


Women’s Classic Crewneck

I measure the body length of my classic crewneck, the length of the unisex crewneck pullover, and carefully pin and baste the bottom of the pink pullover so I end up with a seam adjacent the ribbing at the bottom (taking 9 cm out of the length). Same with the sleeves .

Now, I take a VERY DEEP BREATH. I set up my serger, and carefully stitch a seam along the bottom of the sweater, in the process cutting away the excess from body. Next I tackle the sleeves. I gently steam press the serged seam allowance away from the ribbing. So, yes there’s a seam joining ribbing to body, but when it’s on it’s not too obvious. Then I mark the excess in the width of body and lower sleeve and serge new side seams and sleeve seams.

And voilà – a sweater that fits!


Next I did the blue one:


That looks good, too. Nobody is going to notice the seams joining ribbing to sweater!

So, if like me, you love wearing wool sweaters, check out WoolOvers – but be sure you check their size guides – there’s a very big difference between the sizing of the women’s sweaters and the Unisex ones. (The sweaters are machine washable with a gentle detergent and cold water; I dry mine laid flat on the carpet in the spare room.)