Alterations are my least favorite part of sewing. It's probably why, as much as I like the idea, I never really enjoyed upcycling clothes.
My husband is the sort of man who once said to me, "A man goes to the store, tries on a suit, and he looks good." The trousers he wore to our wedding were not hemmed, only serged. There was white thread sticking out of his sleeve where he pulled off the tag and didn't notice the thread. He is convinced that if he can't pull his zippered pants off while still zipped, the pants are too tight. He is wonderful in many ways, but his fashion sense leaves much for me to desire.
He is also in graduate school and will soon have interviews for white-collar/professional positions. So we bought him a suit, shirt, and tie. Normally, dressed up to him means wearing a polo shirt. I wanted him to be comfortable, so didn't fuss too much when he got sizes larger than I would prefer. Then again, he probably needs the larger sizes to accommodate his shoulders and thighs, but then the rest of the garment is too large.
Anyway, I convinced him to let me baste the sides of the shirt and he could try it on. If it was too tight, I wouldn't take it in that much. I took out four inches from the sides (didn't tell him how much), he tried it on, and pronounced it good. So I stitched it up and let him try it again. He still liked the fit. I think it could come in a bit more, but didn't want to push it. I should have done flat felled seams, but I hate alterations and have too many more interesting things to sew, so I cut the seam allowance to 1.12 inches because that is what was needed to make a smooth transition to the arm, straight stitched 1/8 inch from the edge, then zig-zagged the edge. If it bothers him or starts to fray, I'll break down and make the flat fell seams.
There is a tiny pucker where the straight seam meets the flat fell seam, but it is close to the wrist and I figure if anyone is looking that closely, they better be a doctor or me or smart enough to mind their own business.
After stitching with a straight stitch and having him try them on again, I stitched with a triple stretch stitch. The last thing I want is for his pants to split because I didn't sew them correctly. Then I hand stitched the waistband back down into place. These are dry clean only, so while I might risk hand washing them, I didn't want to risk steaming them before he even got one wearing out of them.
My alterations aren't the prettiest, but they do make him look much better in his clothes. I'm proud of how hard he works, going to grad school and working and helping around the house and spending time with me. I don't want ill-fitting clothes to inhibit a future employer from seeing what an intelligent, dedicated, hard-working man he is. I want him to wear the clothes, not for the clothes to wear him. Hopefully, I haven't caused more problems with my newbie alteration attempts. I keep telling myself that even if it's not custom-tailored, it isn't cumulatively worse than off-the-rack.
Reassuring me that these alterations look fine, today at the store, I saw a woman with a patterned dress. There was a back seam about two inches to the left of center that slightly interrupted the pattern. As I stood in line behind her, I keep examining the stitching to see if I could tell if this was a home-made dress. From the armhole binding, I don't think it was. There was at least one side seam on the skirt, so I don't know why the "center" back seam was off center. The dress wasn't twisted on her body, it was just pieced oddly. If ready-to-wear looks like that, my shirt side seams that aren't flat-felled can't be too bad.