How to Use Princess Seams to Take in Your Clothing

Two Methods:Getting your MeasurementsPreparing your Garment

Using Princess seams is a great way of altering your clothes if you have a very round shape or a small waist. It's a simple way to alter your clothes and gives a really professional look.

Method 1
Getting your Measurements

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    Use a flexible measuring tape designed for sewing to take your measurements. Make sure to have a pencil and paper ready to record these.
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    Measure from the top of your shoulder, right where the curve of your neck turns into your shoulder (It should be the spot where the neckline of your t-shirt sits) down to your Apex (that's a fancy way of saying your nipple in sewing). This is the Top of Shoulder/Base of Neck to Apex measurement.
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    Measure from Apex to Apex. This is the distance between your nipples.
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    Measure the distance from your Apex to your Ribcage. The spot referred to as the Ribcage in sewing is located right underneath your breast where the cups of your bra end. So, you are measuring the distance from your nipple to there.
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    Measure from your Ribcage to your Waist. This is not necessarily the spot where your pants sit. It is the spot where you bend if you you lean over, right above the belly button.
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    Measure down from your Waist about 2.5", this is Upper Hip.
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    Measure down from your Upper Hip about 2.5", this is your Mid Hip. It's where the elastic top of a bikini style panty will usually sit.
    • If you are wanting to also adjust your garment around the largest part of your rear end you will want to include the Lower Hip as well. Measure approximately 6" down from the Mid Hip to find the Lower Hip measurement.
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Method 2
Preparing your Garment

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    Prepare your garment to mark it. Turn your garment you want to adjust inside out and fold in half down the front from the neck to the hemline. This fold should follow the centre front. Make sure it's straight.
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    Mark the measurement for Top of the Shoulder to Apex on the garment using white chalk (Coloured chalk may stain clothing). Measure down from the Top of the Shoulder, parallel to the centre front of the garment and place your chalk mark.
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    Divide the Apex to Apex measurement in half.
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    Measuring in from the centre of your garment, mark half of the Apex to Apex measurement along the same axis as your previous mark. Now you should have a "+" or "X" marking on your garment. That "+" or "X" marks the exact spot of your Apex. This is where your Princess seam will start from.
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    From your Apex, draw a line down, towards the hem and parallel to the centre front, through your Ribcage, Waist, Upper Hip, and Mid Hip (also the Lower Hip if you want to adjust your garment through the widest part of your rear end). This is the line that the Princess seam will follow.
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    Go over this line with more chalk making sure the line has quite a bit of chalk on it. If you've used white chalk it will easily wash out.
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    Unfold your garment.
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    Transfer the chalk line from side of the front to the other by folding your garment in half along the same centre front line, this time folding the other way. The Front side of the garment should be folded in half with each half facing each other so the chalk line can transfer properly. The side seams of the garment should match up.
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    Lay the garment flat on a table and gently hit the chalk line. This helps the chalk transfer.
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    Unfold the garment again. You should see two lines down the front of your garment that are exactly the same. If they are not the you should rub out one of the chalk lines and try again.
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    Put the garment on inside out. With the two lines on the front side, so you can look down your stomach and see them.
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    Pin the garments so that you are dividing the extra fabric evenly between the 2 Princess seams. Try to shape the seams so that they taper with the most fabric being taken in around the Waist and the least at the ends of the seams (Apex and Mid Hip). You will want the seam to taper smoothly at the ends to the flat, open fabric.
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    Take the garment off and double check to make sure the seams look even. If not, adjust and try your garment on again.
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    Sew along the lines you just pinned.
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    Try your garment on again, this time right side out. If everything fits then you're done. If not, stitch rip the seams and try again.

Tips

  • If you replace the Front measurements with Back measurements you can add Princess seams to the back of your garment too.
  • It helps to record your measurements on a chart and keep them for future alterations.

Warnings

  • Don't use coloured chalk to mark your garment, the dye used to colour the chalk will also dye the garment.

Things You'll Need

  • Pencil and paper to record measurements
  • The item you want to take in
  • Sewing Machine (set up and ready to sew)
  • Flexible measuring tape
  • White chalk
  • Pins
  • Table to work on

Article Info

Categories: Sewing Skills | Sewing Clothes