+ Quick weight loss take-ins + a few pencil skirt tutorials!

My good friend Diana and I decided to throw a little series on tackling the struggle on “transition clothes”. Whether you are losing weight, just had a baby, borrowing clothes, or just plain don’t want to buy anything new….listen up! This is for you. No one really wants to spend loads of money on “transition clothes” because they won’t be around long enough to truly appreciate them. I refuse to buy designer jeans in my pregnancy or post pregnancy size or really buy anything at all in that time unless it is from forever 21 or something of that nature. I prefer to sew/alter/refashion my transition clothing because not only is it cost effective, I just love love the fun challenge.

For Diana, she has lost nearly a whopping 100 pounds in the last year and has found she has an overwhelming amount of clothes that just are too big now. So we decided to make this post for those of you in need of making, not buying those transition clothes. Check out her site to get inspired to become healthier too…she is very inspiring!

Check out more before and after photos as well as instructions after the page break below! As well as seeing a bit of her wieght loss too since I took the photos 2 months apart. Isn’t she a beauty?!


Some quick before and afters!

Here are three easy to make/comfortable to wear/easy to take in Pencil skirts:

1. The two step knit pencil skirt or here (very very basic and the easiest)

2. Knit pencil skirt with wide knit waist band with fold over option (here)

3. Knit pencil skirt with elastic waist band (like the one above):
Follow this tutorial – Then sew the edge of wide elastic (that has been stretched around your waist to fit your size) to the the edge of the pencil skirt, on the outside (the right side of the fabric)-you can do this with a straight stitch if you stretch it or a zig zag stitch. Then flip it into the inside and sew the un-sew edge of the elastic to the skirt (so it will be about an inch or so down). I like to use a straight stitch here because it looks better (so you have to stretch it a lot as you sew) or you can use a zig zag stitch and you don’t have to stretch it.

The shoulder take-in:
If you don’t feel like cutting the sleeve off and reattaching it…..these are for you. This is just one way. Here is another past shoulder take-in you can also try.

1. Measure how much of the shoulder needs to be taken in (divide that measurement by two). Then measure the length between the collar and the sleeve seam. Divide that area into thirds, marking the 1/3 spot and the 2/3 spot. Now take the first measurement of how much is needed to be taken out (divided by two) and that will be how big your pleat will be on those 2 spots. For example: I needed to take out 2 inches from the shoulder – so I divided that by 2 and will then make each dart (you should have at least 2 places you will dart) and inch wide. If you want to pleat it more then that, then just divide the amount you need to take out divded by the amount of pleats you want.
2. To make the pleat (or whatever you want to call it) you make the 1/3 or 2/3 marking be the fold or the center of the pleat. For example, if you pleat is 1 inch, then the middle or 1/2 inside of the pleat will hit the 1/3 or 2/3 marking).
3. Pin the 2 pleats in place
4. Sew them down over the edge of the pleat to keep in place. You can sew them as wide as you want.

Starred Photos8

The blazer take-in:

You can either take in the jacket in by taking in the seams (tutorial here or another one here) or by adding the piece of fabric in the back that can be smaller or tie-able or whatnot to just cinch in the waist (tutorial here for the “bow blazer”)

Below: Measure how much needs to be taken out of the little back piece of the jacket. Sew that amount out of the fabric. You can take it out on the sides to make it hidden or you can take it out more in the center and slap a button on top to make it look adjustable. How ever you like.

Starred Photos7

The dress take-in:
This works for many knit dress, whether sheath or gathered, it is about the same. Here is a tutorial for an even more simple sheath dress take in.

1. Cut the top from the bottom, leaving the elastic part on the bottom half
2. Cut the excess of the top part to hit you at your natural waist plus a half inch for seam allowance
3. Turn the top inside out, try on, and mark how much it needs to be taken in. Then sew those marks.
4. Try on the skirt, and sew in how much (stretched) to take in.
5. Slide The top into the skirt, making sure the outside fabric is touching (right sides together).
6. Pin and sew the the openings together. Sew it to the elastic.
knit dress


  1. fantastic DIYs, I love the dress!!!


  2. Great tutorial for the thrift clothes that dont fit but are too good a deal to pass up too! Thanks =)

  3. hey! wonderful solutions!


  4. Veronica says:

    I love this post! I love all your posts, but seriously what a helpful post for altering your clothes. So applicable to thrift shop finds as well that are just too large but otherwise great. Thankyou!

  5. LOL – I do the same thing! When I’m losing weight I refuse to buy new clothes unless they have a simple line that can be easily taken in. Or I’ll cruise garage sales for clothing that I can either use as is or even more fun, makeover into something I like. The creative process of refashioning is so much fun that I don’t feel deprived by not allowing myself to buy new clothes.

  6. Thank you for this tutorial !

  7. Yeh, Ching Chi says:

    I’d like to know:
    1. If anyone can show me how to ADD fabric to a pair of pants nicely, so to accommodate a larger bottom (I only see writings about making the pants slimmer/smaller)

    2. If anyone who lives in San Francisco, CA, owns and uses a PFAFF creative 2170 and so I can learn how to use the machine. I have it since 2008, never have learned how to use it. My projects almost don’t ever come out the way as I imagined before I put stitches on them. IS it a common sense to ALWAYS TO add stabilizer to sew sheer/thin/thin layered/stretch/mesh type of materials? How come I don’t see stabilizers applied on the brochures/manual?

    I’m frustrated for not knowing what I should expect from my machine.

    The pressor foot keeps pushing the top layer to grow longer than the bottom layer or push the top layer to the side.


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