Trailing hems, gaping waistbands, falling straps—whatever your tailoring woe, rarely do we find an item off the rack that fits perfectly. The scramble for last-minute alterations can rear its head anytime, and with it comes the need for a solution that will work in a pinch. There is a selection of necessary items to keep on hand when running to the tailor is out of the question, or it simply isn't the type of garment you want to invest in for the perfect fit. Luckily you don't have to be crafty with a pin and needle to alter your clothes, whether you're wondering how to tailor a jacket or trim the hem on a pair of pants. There are quick-fix solutions you can do at home, or even as a means to show your tailor exactly how you'd like a garment to look after a permanent alteration.
Keep reading for five no-sew solutions—both temporary and permanent—that will satisfy your tailoring needs.
If you're not fond of DIY, sewing, or the cost of the tailor (or all the above), you've just found your latest ally: the bobby pin. Use it to shorten jacket, shirt, and sweater lengths; alter hems; and trim sleeves. Bobby pins can also be used to take in the flare and cut of a pair of pants. Bonus points if you can match the color of your garment to the bobby pin. Just make sure you pin it crinkled side down (this goes for your hair, too). Game changer.
For a permanent solution, fabric tape may be more your speed. Fix hems, shirt and jacket sleeves, jacket lengths—there's no limit to its use. Put away the needle and thread—fabric tape is an easy way to permanently alter clothing. You can wash and care for your clothing as usual with this method. Temporary variations are also available and typically come in the form of double-sided tape that's safe for applying to the skin.
Fabric Safety Pins
When in doubt, pin it. Whether it's for nipping in a jacket at the waist, altering shoulder lengths, trimming sleeve or hem lengths, or fixing gaping fabric between buttons, fabric safety pins are an ideal go-to for last-minute alterations before you head out the door. Safety pins are also a fantastic remedy for pinning pesky bra straps to a sleeve or remedying a steep dip in a neckline. (A cute brooch is also a more fashion-forward approach to fixing this little problem.) Use safety pins specially designed to hold fabric together, which are typically sturdier than the average safety pin; this way, you don't have to worry about the pin coming undone while you're moving about.
If there's any item to permanently keep on hand, it's hem tape. The obvious use is to add a temporary hem to too-long pants, but this dynamic little item can be used on items besides that new pair of jeans. When it comes to tailoring a jacket or dress shirt, use temporary hem tape to shorten sleeves. You can also use hem tape to alter the length of dresses and skirts. While this pick is temporary—making it ideal if you want to wear a piece on a night out before taking it to the tailor—permanent variations of hem tape are also available. Stick-on and iron-on hem tape are the most common varieties.
The second permanent solution on this list, fabric glue is better kept in the hands of someone who has some experience altering clothing. That being said, this is one of the most convenient ways to alter clothing without having to resort to the tailor. Fabric glue is ideal for repairing minor tears or unraveled seams. Although dry times are fairly quick, be sure the glue has set completely before you wear or wash the item. While most fabric glues work with all cloth types, be sure to double-check the clothing label before applying this to your fabric of choice.
Keep reading for three DIY tailoring tricks that only take 20 seconds.