If you’ve gained a little weight or lost a little, your clothes may not fit the way they should. You don’t have to shell out a ton of money, however, to replace your wardrobe. If you have good sewing skills, you can tailor your own women’s suits to fit properly.

Things You'll Need

Try on the jacket and take note of where it doesn’t fit and by how much. Jackets can most easily be altered in the sleeves, the waist and the length. If the jacket doesn’t fit in the shoulders or across the chest, you’ll probably need an expert tailor to do alterations.

Try on the pants or skirt of the suit to check the fit and determine how much needs to be altered. Both pants and skirts can be lengthened slightly or made significantly shorter. Letting out pants and skirts is much harder than hemming them.

Take your own measurements with a flexible measuring tape, or have someone do it for you. These are used as references.

Examine the suit separates for seam allowances. If there is no extra fabric in seams that needs to be let out, the alterations cannot be done. Seam allowance does not affect taking clothing in, however.

Open up problem seams with a seam ripper. Be careful not to damage the fabric, as seam rippers can be sharp.

Pin the seams securely according to your previous measurements.

Try on the suit with the pins in to test the alterations. Be careful not to stick yourself.

Sew the new seams either by hand or using the sewing machine, making sure the seams are secure.

Iron down new seams for a finishing touch or have the suit dry cleaned and pressed.


  • If you know that tailoring a women’s suit is beyond your skill level, hire a professional tailor to do it for you. Most alterations can be done at the dry cleaners, and they don’t cost as much as you think. Alterations will likely cost less than buying a new suit.

  • Negotiate tailor costs if you think you are being charged too much. Most tailors will be willing to work with you on price, particularly if you are a good customer.

  • If you have a suit that fits properly and is similar to the suit you need to tailor, use it as a template for your measurements.