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  • Emily Keller

Retail Boycott: Updating My Wardrobe w/o Buying Clothes

I recently decided to significantly improve my wardrobe. This has proven to be difficult because I challenged myself back in March 2017 not to buy any clothes for 1 year. I’ve gone successfully without buying clothes for 10 months now. Back in March, I decided I didn’t really NEED new clothes. I had so much clothing that I never wore. Buying new items didn’t seem like the answer.

I didn’t want this retail boycott to stop me from improving my wardrobe. The next best thing to make an impactful style improvement would be altering the clothing I already have. After all, the biggest reason I had so many pieces I didn’t wear was because they didn’t fit me right. So it was time to remedy that.

Here is my first documented alteration.

Emily Keller Denim Shirt Alteration

This is a simple alteration, but an effective one at complimenting my body

  1. I tried on the piece and manipulated the garment to represent certain alterations I might want to make.

  1. There was more than one thing I wanted to change, so I decided on the first definitive alteration I wanted to make. I chose to start with the sleeves because it’s the simplest alteration.

  1. I measured the desired sleeve length, and pinned the placement on the outside and inside of the flat sleeve. I cut them a little long, because it’s always easier to make them shorter later.

  1. I cut the sleeves with pinking shears. Frayed edges are really in right now, so I left the edges with a raw pinked edge. Since I cut the sleeves pretty long, there’s more than enough room to fold the fabric under and sew later on if I want a more finished look.

  1. I tried on the piece again to check the sleeves. Perfect!

  1. Moving on to the 2nd alteration, I decided to open up the bottom half of the side seams to add side slits, and to bring in the top side seam so it’s more shaped to my body.

  1. First, I measured where I wanted the side seam to stop, and the side slit to start. 7” from underarm.

  1. I sewed a new side seam from underarm to new waist point 1.5” in from original side seam.

  1. Then I seam ripped the old side seam all the way up to the underarm.

  1. Pressed and steamed the new seam allowance, and sewed it down. Done!

I also made a video of the alteration experience on my YouTube Channel: The Fashion Run-Up. Don't forget to subscribe to receive notifications when my latest video is uploaded.

I’m currently in the process of slowly, and thoughtfully going through my whole wardrobe. Pieces that spent the last few years hidden in the back of my closet are altered, and suddenly become new favorites that I wear every week.

I didn’t realize altering clothing could make such a huge impact on improving my wardrobe. Now, when I feel a void in my closet, instead of shopping, my new default is to alter something I already have.

I hope I have inspired you to alter clothing you already have, before you go shopping for new clothes. Try it and comment below! I want to hear about your experience!

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