When we sew our own clothes we all have a vision of how we want to look, don’t we?  I happily put my hands up to wanting to look younger, but certainly flattered by what I’m wearing, This is especially true when I’ve put time, money and effort into fitting and sewing it myself! Here are 5 great tips I picked up from Fit for Real People:

Create ‘essence of waist’

No, this is not a bizarre new perfume.  It’s a great way to give an illusion of a waist if, like me, you’re fairly straight up and down.

There are a two easy ways you can do it. When you’re sewing something new, taper the side seams in at the waist just a little bit (especially effective if you’re using a check, stripe or plaid) or else sew thin little darts. This will create vertical lines that visually divide your waist into smaller sections.  The way to do it with clothes already in your wardrobe is to tuck your top in to your trousers or skirt, add a belt and wear an unbuttoned cardigan or jacket over the top. The eyes will be drawn to the little bit of belt on show and give the illusion that that’s how small your waist is!

Taper at the hemline

This is a great tip for straight skirts or dresses that works with ready-to-wear too!  Taper the side seams in so that the hemlline is 2″-6″ narrower than your hips. When you wear a jacket with the skirt or dress it gives the impression that your hips are the width of the hem.

Well-fitting trousers

Properly fitting trousers can make you look 20 pounds slimmer! Fit and sew your trousers to accentuate your good points and skim over any lumps and bumps. Wear them with a fitted top or tucked-in blouse for a more youthful look and don’t hide your figure under a loose baggy top!

Avoid front darts

If you have a bit of a tummy, avoid front darts – they will probably pucker at the bottom and emphasise the fullness. Use ease, pleats or soft gathers instead.

Don’t cut yourself in half

If you’re sewing an outfit that has a waistline, make the skirt part longer if you want to create the impression of long legs. I am 6′ tall and my height comes from my legs, so I do the reverse and make the top longer to balance out my long legs.