I don’t know about you but I sometimes buy garments which need a little bit of alteration. Sometimes the price is right but the size may be  a little too big or need tweakings here & there. Or the sleeve and hem length needs adjustment (which is actually quite often as I have short arms and am not very tall….sigh). However, these sorts of alternations do not faze me in the slightest. Why? Well, for starters I have been making my own clothes since I was a teen so I’m pretty familiar with garment construction techniques. AND Janome makes things so very easy for us with their range of wonderful sergers and sewing machines. My Serger and my Coverpro do almost everything I need for the type of knit fabric garments I frequently make and alter. I also use my Janome sewing machine for top stitching , darts, decorative embellishment etc.

I purchased a rather nice white and navy striped tunic top/dress last summer. It was actually a tad too short for a dress and too long for a t-shirt length top but I wore it a few times and then it ended up at the back of the closet as something about it was not quite right. I have just dragged it out and given it a new length for a top I will wear!

This Ready to Wear T-shirt/tunic was at least 10 inches longer than shown here  – not at all a practical length for me.

Here is what I did:

  • The fabric was a heavier weight t-shirt knit so I was able to get away without using stay tape in the hem of this top. Actually I use stay tape very frequently to ensure seams and hems lay flat and don’t pucker. This is a fact of life with thin, flimsy fashion knits but fortunately is easily overcome with stay tape.

I keep a supply of fusible stay tape in a variety of widths and colours so I always have some when I need it.








  • I did decide to use Steam-a-seam 2  on this top, the half inch width. I ironed/fused this to the wrong side of the cut edge of the hem and peeled away the paper. The hem was folded up carefully so that the stripe on the bottom was straight and even.  I could have pinned or used Clover clips but I wanted to ensure there was no slippage before/while I stitched it on my Janome CPX2000  because of the stripes  – hence the decision to use steam-a-seam 2.

BTW: Clover Wonder clips are available for purchase at most sewing and quilt stores (remember to support your local store or they may not be there when you need them!). Wonder clips are more expensive than pins but they serve a very good purpose and I simply would not manage without mine. I use them all the time and especially when serging as I find I have to stop to remove the clip which removes that danger of serging over a pin and damaging my serger blade in the process!  Tip: don’t be tempted to buy a cheaper, no name brand version of these clips. I did and they are not the same: some have broken already and most do not open as wide as the real deal. Cheap is invariably not the best.

  • Press the hem fold in place. Steam-a-seam 2 is a fusible web product so this effectively gave a little more stability to the hem as well as avoided the need for any pinning. 
  • The Janome CPX 2000 was threaded up with navy thread in 2 needles and the chainstitch looper as I required a 2 thread wide coverhem. As luck would have it, the 2 thread width was virtually exactly the same size as the navy stripe of the fabric.
  • The Clearview foot for the Janome CPX 2000 (And other Janome Coverpro sergers) made my task SO much easier as I simply lined up the little markings on the front of the foot with the edges of my navy stripe and whizzed around the hem. 
  • I also made sure to use the Looper Thread tension Switching Lever to ease my way over the 2 side seams of the T-shirt where there was bulkiness.  Switch from loose to tight to tweak tensions as necessary – it is that simple and effective.

Notice that the Janome Coverpro /CPX 2000 2 thread wide stitching is almost invisible so the overall result is much neater than the ready to wear version of hem I cut off this top/tunic!

And even the wrong side of the hem  is neat: this time the navy interlock stitching is positioned over the navy stripe and blends in rather well.

This entire process  took maybe 40-45 minutes to complete….left me wondering why I had not tackled this simple project months earlier and got more use from this top over the last year?!

What alternation adventures have you had lately and been as pleased with the results as I am with this one?


About Janome Canada

For over 100 years, Janome has been the brand of choice for sewing, embroidery, longarm quilting, sergers, coverhem machines - and MORE! Our Janome Canada head office; our Janome HQ, is the Janome Sewing and Learning Centre in Oakville, ON. Be sure to follow us here on Janome Life blog, as well as our other Janome Canada social media so you get the most from your Janome machine! @janomehq @janomecanada Janome HQ Facebook, Janome Canada Facebook Janome HQ You Tube channel, Janome Life You Tube channel
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  1. If I buy a Tee or knit tunic I find them to be too boxy and/or shapeless so I often add fish eyed darts to the back for a bit of shaping and definitely the hem often needs adjusting. I rarely wear dresses but sometimes you find a nice dress in a used shop for a reasonable price point and I raise the hem making into an interesting tunic style.


    • lizafrica says:

      Hi Kathleen,

      Yes, isn’t it so cool and convenient when we can make these simple alterations so easily! Thanks for sharing.



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