Back in June 2013 I dusted off my sewing machine and sent my then 22 year old overlocker off for its’ first service.
I made a dress in a day….. totally oblivious to sizing charts, in a tricky ITY knit and have never looked back!
During the last 4 years I discovered social media, and now have more sewing friends that golfing friends, which is really strange as golfing is a real life hobby not a virtual one like blogging!
I also have lots of golfing friends who now sew… my enthusiasm can be infectious so watch out! But all the sewing led me to have a huge lifestyle change, and not really for the better.
I no longer played golf 3 or 4 times a week, instead I was either sat at my sewing machine or at my computer, and my life became stagnant.
I’m not sure when the extra pounds really crept on, but soon I was almost 2 stone heavier than when I started blogging!
Things had to change. I felt really sluggish and was lacking energy.
So one of the first things I did to try and become more active and healthy (and ultimately lighter) was to download one of the couch to 5k apps on my phone and then head out to pound the pavements in my quest for the new me.
For at least the first couple of weeks there wasn’t much pounding. Well there was, but it was my heart not the pavement! At times I thought my heart would burst out of my chest and my lungs would explode! But I survived and before long even manage to complete my first park run.
To cut a long story short my weight did change, and my fitness improved, but I still didn’t feel like me. So in February this year I took the bull by the horns and joined my local Slimming World Group.
Here’s me on the 12th Feb the day I joined SW wearing my newly finished Lekala dress with the George Michael tribute act. Maybe not my best angle, but they say the camera never lies!
I really got stuck into Slimming World and would say I stuck to it 95% of the time, and on the 27th May, just a few week later i reached my goal of 11 stone!
This is my Memademay pic from the 27th!
And here’s the new me after a run…
Loosing just 15 1/2 pounds in this time (i’d lost a few before I joined SW) made a huge different to my clothes as I’d lost 3 inches from my bust, waist and hips!
For a while the sewing of new clothes slowed down. Especially whilst I was still loosing weight. It all seemed pointless as I didn’t know what my finished size was going to be. All of a sudden I seemed to be at my target weight and all my favourite clothes were too big!
I set about altering them and was surprised how quick most of the alterations were, most were done within the hour, which is less time to sew up a replacement.
So here’s a few before and afters and some tips in case you want to make similar alterations.
For this I simply shortened the dress to above the knee keeping all 3 layers of the skirt different lengths. It seemed a bit daft to cover up my new slim legs! No one had ever said i had great legs before, even when I was younger, but I think the body pump as well as the weight loss has helped improve the shape.
Another quick fix, simply shortening it, it’s a little bit too big but so long as I wear something that’s hip length i can keep my modesty where it gapes.
I’ve 3 Yasmins which all were miles too big. This denim one is my absolute favourite and was originally really dark as you can see in the original post. Worn with the striped top near the beginning of memademay it was shapeless and had lost its A line shape.
So on a nice sunny day I set about the blue denim with a stitch ripper. There was lots of top stitching and 2 rows of stitching on the hem but it took less than 1/2 hour to unpick it.
Resewing the side seams and restitching the facing and the hem was even quicker and my favourite skirt was back in regular rotation sooner than I thought.
The quickness of it all made me be super cheeky and ask my sister for a black denim one that I’d made for her a couple of years ago. I knew it was a bit on the big side for her and she didn’t wear it. I gave it the same treatment as the blue one and now I have 2 favourite denim skirts!
Next up was Vogue 8805 and an even quicker fix – a couple of tumble drying sessions caused enough shrinkage for a perfect fit!
My Colette Moneta (unblogged!!) didn’t fit too well anymore, but even if it did I really couldn’t see myself wearing it, so I chopped it in half and made a top! It has been worn a few times but it’s a bit on the short side unless I continually pull it down, so maybe it may need further attention.
A surprisingly successful refit was my Vogue 9082 / Sonja Dress hack. I wore this last September to the night do of my niece’s wedding but haven’t worn it since. Not for any reason other than I’ve not needed this type of dress during the winter months.
My original V9082 (and bestest dress ever!) had a side zip so I really didn’t feel like altering this, much to my sister’s pleasure, who now now the proud owner! But when I made this dress I inserted a CB zip because of the pleats. In future I will never add a side zip unless it’s absolutely necessary – in skirts and dresses, resizing is just so much easier!
There was quite a bit of unpicking needed as everything seemed to be under stitched. I ended up taking the side in by a good inch either side, but have left the excess seam allowances in, just in case it ever is loaned out and needs to be made bigger!
And then on Lady Captains Day a couple of weeks ago my ‘new’ dress with quite a few inches chopped off, made it’s debut:
Next up, these wide leg trousers were a ‘hand mi down’ from my MIL. They still had the labels on last year when she gave them to me, and I took them on holiday to Portugal. I shortened them to a mid calf length and they looked fab as culottes.
This year I took them to Portugal but they were huge and needed holding up with a belt!
So when I returned home I set about altering these to fit my new size as culottes were everywhere! I didn’t fancy unpicking the waist band and making lots of work for myself. I think often it’s harder with RTW to alter them as you don’t know exactly how they’ve been put together.
Instead I pinned front pleats in place next to the belt loops and it miraculously worked. So just a quick stitch and they were as good as new.
These were worn on my Turkish holiday and before, but have since stayed in the wardrobe. Writing this post has reminded me that they are there and they’ll be out again very soon!
My super cool favourite Molly Top
Now this sloppy jumper-like top was loose fitting when I made it but since loosing the pounds instead of it looking loose fitting, it looked like it was just oversized and shapeless.
By simply running a new seam from cuff, all the way up the sleeve and down to the hem it looks like it belongs to me and I’ve not borrowed it! Not a huge change but enough to make a better fit.
My last refit was of a RTW dress that I’ve had ages. I simply sewed new side seams and shortened it by a couple of inches. It’s quite short, but I’ve worn it for golf with black gym shorts underneath to keep my bottom covered when taking my shot! I’ve worn it too just with sandals and a denim jacket out for lunch. I’ve actually worn it more in the last month than in the last few years it’s been in my wardrobe!
So that’s it, for now! I’ve a few more bit and pieces that I’ll be altering in the coming weeks, but these few garments have helped bridge the gap between the old and the new me!
Before you sling out clothes that are either to big or too small or just not quite you any more it might be worth seeing if half an hours TLC may turn it into something you’d love to wear again!
And on a completely different note to sewing. If you’re thinking of shedding just a few pounds, or a few more, I’d definitely recommend Slimming World. Ask around and see if you can find a fun group. The guy (yes guy!!) who run’s mine in hilarious and has us in stitches. So if you’re anyway near me and fancy joining then let me know and I’ve give you the details of where we meet.
Have fun and happy sewing,
This is amazing! Great job! and the confidence you boost really shows through in these pictures!! Keep up the great work.
Aw Thankyou, that’s lovely 😊😊
You are an inspiration Ali – and you look amazing! I’m so impressed that you’ve tackled all those alterations. I ran out of steam after a few skirts! x
Thanks hun 😘 They weren’t so bad, most were fairly quick, the pink dress took the longest, but needs must – I was struggling to find things to wear. I bought a couple of pairs of jeans but didn’t want to spend a fortune and didn’t have time to make much. 😊
You look amazing! Great job on all those alterations too 🙂
Thanks Margaret, I’m so glad I’m still able to wear my favourite things. 😃
You are looking great (did before your weight loss, too)! Congrats, and lI’m admiring all the garment saves – tons of alterations, but worth it.
Aw thanks, that’s lovely of you to say ☺️ once I got going with the alterations and realised that they wouldn’t take too long it was such a daunting task.
You look great. I knew you had lost weight but I wasn’t aware how much. It’s so inspirational too because we put so much love in to our clothes that it’s good to know that they don’t have to go anywhere when we lose weight- this was probably one of the things I am using as an excuse. Haha. Great post, loved reading about how you’ve changed everything. x
Thanks Emma, even a few pounds can really change how things fit, I’ll definitely try and make sure future garments can be altered if needed. I think the centre back zip is a no brainer for skirts and dresses.
Yes, definitely something to keep in mind. It was good to read about and worth knowing. xx
Well done you – especially for altering all those makes instead of going out for a splurge in the shops (as I might have done!).
That photo of H made me smile – look, he’s shorter than you again! 😉
One thing I’d take issue with is that, sometimes, I think the camera does lie. Please tell me it does……
Thanks Lynn, I’m so glad I made the effort to fix these clothes, especially the denim skirts as they’re like my home uniform in the summer! …still not sure about the camera lying 🤔🤔
Good for you for rescuing your favourites – will there be more to come, or will you take the opportunity to have a clear out as an excuse to make new? I love how simple some of these were to do and they look just as good as they did originally. You HAVE got great legs – keep showing them off!
Thanks Sheila! ☺️ the legs are have been out more then ever this summer!
I’ve managed to sort out my whole wardrobe. When I hit my target I spent a whole day trying everything I owned on! Amongst everything I had lots of dresses that I’d not worn for years that fit me, and some expensive golf gear too. Out if things that were too big I had a pile for my sister and a pike to alter. I’ve still a few things to alter that will probably be a total refashion but I’m making some new clothes first. 😁
Well done on the weight loss Ali, you look terrific!
Aw thanks Fiona, I’m feeling great too 😊
You’ve done so well on the weight lost – you should be proud. You deserve brownie points for all those alterations, I have several I need to do (didn’t get the fit quite right first go, rather than weight loss here, sadly).
Thanks Hun ☺️I think because they were favourites it wasn’t too hard to getting round to refitting them as I knew I’d love wearing them again. 😁
You’ve done brilliantly! Now I just need you to infect me with your fitness bug. Every time I get on track someone turns up to stay for a few days and I stop going out to exercise and start eating rubbish again in the name of being a good mum/host! 😦
That’s an easy fix, it should be me that comes to stay then there’s no excuse! 😂
I’d love that. So whenever you’re ready my dear. And plenty of golf courses for you to teach me to play golf on! 🙂
Awesome work – on all fronts.
Thanks Janet ☺️
Well done on all accounts!
Thankyou so much ☺️
Congratulations on the weight loss and the alterations. It’s nice you don’t have to lose your favourite clothes when you lose weight!
Good for you for tackling your favourites and keeping them in their new state. They, and you, look great! xx
Wow! What a great weight loss. And the alterations are super. I love how you’ve tweaked some of them as well as adjusting the size.
You look great, congratulations!
Thanks Hun 😊
Thanks so much for posting about these alterations – I find myself in a similar boat, reluctant to take on very fitted projects because I hope to lose about 15 pounds. And thanks for the Slimming World recommendation. It looks like a sensible plan. I may try it if it’s available in the US.
Well done! Your weight loss journey has been an inspiration, my own has been derailed far too many times. I applaud your courage in tackling both the physical issue and those tricky alterations. They are all fabulous. But that b/w striped top with white culottes – wow, what an outfit that is. My fave of them all.
Aw thanks Jen! It’s lovely to hear that I’ve inspired you. I’m so glad too that I put the effort in to alter my favourite otherwise I would have had nothing to wear and ended up just buying things for the sake of it.