Remodeling Your Clothes
( Originally Published 1924 )
Since the World War many who had never previously known the meaning of the word economy or who had never given serious thought to the extravagance of waste have awakened to the part they have in diminishing the misery of the world. Many others, who have not yet become ethically conscious of the fact that all waste is morally wrong, have been compelled by stern necessity to practise economy.
One of the first means of practising economy is in the matter of clothes. In families where there are children who grow out of their clothes more rapidly than they wear them out, it becomes necessary to lengthen garments very often. In making garments for children it is always a wise provision to make generous allowances for hems, as this will solve the future need for lengthening. Often if one fears that the change in the hem will be notice-able, a tuck to supply added length may be so hidden that it will not be seen. This is better than ripping tucks at the bottom of skirts, unless it is done in such goods where the marks of the stitching remove easily. In wash dresses it is a wise precaution to have an extra piece of goods laundered each time with the dress, so that it will match perfectly when any remodeling is done to the garment.
While remodeling clothes may sound purely economical, for the ingenious and thrifty person it really is an interesting process. Some of the most attractive designs and artistic touches are simply the result of experiments in remodeling. Occasionally all that is necessary is but to change the lines of a gown or suit or coat to harmonize a little better with the season's prevailing fashion. Some-times in seasons where combinations are approved, two garments may be made over into one as good as new. A little touch of hand-work, such as embroidery, beading, or braiding, is almost always acceptable and is an attractive means of camouflaging a seam or the insert of an extra piece in the garment.
Children's clothes may be made from the best parts of clothing discarded by their elders. Women's dresses or outer coats furnish ample material for the dress or coat of a child. Men's suits, usually made of such durable materials, never wear out in all parts, and make splendid suits or separate pants for small boys.
One thing is imperative if successful results are to be accomplished in remodeling, and that is to have all goods thoroughly cleaned, sponged, and pressed before making them up. Garments made up without observing this rule always show creases and old stitchings that destroy whatever good appearance the garment might otherwise have.
If dyeing is to be part of the remodeling process, the old garments should be carefully ripped and washed thoroughly before dyeing. After the dyeing is done, great care should be taken that the pressing leaves the goods straight, and not drawn out of shape. Always press goods under a damp cloth, never letting the hot iron touch the surface of the goods to leave shiny lines or marks.
Many people take their material which needs steaming and pressing to a good tailor who does it on a machine especially made for this purpose. It saves the tedious and hard work at home where equipment is very often inadequate.
All ready-made garments should be gone over before they are worn, as there are always ends to be fastened, and hooks and eyes that need to be made secure. If a garment ever gets fitted to the body in out-of-place lines it will never look just right. Having every fastener in place for the first wearing will do much to obviate this danger.
Before remodeling a garment, decide whether the finished garment will give sufficient service and satisfaction to be worth the time and energy which have to be expended in the work. If the material in an old garment still has wearing quality and can be refreshened so that it will look well made into a garment suited to the wearer and the use for which it is intended, then remodeling is worth-while, otherwise it is not to be recommended.