Alterations and tailoring aren't just for wedding gowns, bridesmaid dresses and tuxedos. Men's and women's everyday clothes and work wardrobe can be altered, too, for better fit and greater comfort. If you're shopping for secondhand gear on sites like eBay and Etsy, chances are that jacket you bought fits well enough but could fit better.
If suit jackets and trousers are a perfect fit off the rack, good for you. But most of us are a bit taller or shorter than the average person, or bigger or thinner. A suit jacket that isn't cut to the wearer's figure will only accentuate the differences between average fit and the actual body, which generally isn't flattering.
From jacket sleeves, dress shirts and blazers to the hems of jeans and everything in between, a professional tailor can make small tucks or major alterations to clothing to make it as flattering as possible and prevent clothes from slipping, sliding and gaping. Tailors can also mend clothing to look like new, which is especially important if you're buying secondhand from an online retailer. A good tailor can also mend torn buttonholes, adjust a jacket waist, add darts or update an off-the-shelf suit to look like it was made to order for you.
In general, the average cost of a tailor depends on the number of alterations made. Tailors typically charge a fee for each alteration, which may vary depending on location. That's why it's important to find and build a good relationship with a good local tailor. The more often you visit, the more your tailor will know what to do to make you look right.
Here are the factors that usually affect average tailoring and alterations costs.
Having a dress tailored is probably the most common alteration. Tailors specializing in formalwear, such as Mrs. Stitches Women's Formal Alterations in McKinney, Texas, are often the best option for a dress, whether it's a formal gown, a wrap dress or a sheath. Mrs. Stitches, for example, charges fees starting at $20 per hour for dress alterations, which include taking in and letting out the sides of a dress, hemming the skirt, and adjusting straps. Formal dresses often need repairs that are best done by a tailor, such as mending beading, replacing zippers and reinforcing weakening seams.
Pants can be cuffed, hemmed, tapered and more. Complicated men's trousers or pants made from fragile fabrics are likely to cost more to have altered. In general, though, most tailors' price lists are similar to that of DG Alteration in Baltimore, Maryland:
Common jacket alterations include changing the length of the sleeves and adjusting the side seams. Note that a lined jacket or blazer will often increase the cost of alterations because there's an additional layer of fabric that needs sewing. For jacket tailoring, DG Alteration charges:
hems on a skirt can usually be altered, too. For these services, DG Alteration charges:
Most tailors can make additional alterations to the arms, neckline and even the seams of garments. In addition to slimming down sleeves that are too big, a tailor can usually open up sleeves that are too small; if the armhole is too tight, the tailor can likely drop the armhole down to make more room, use the fabric in the seam allowance to make the entire sleeve a bit roomier, or even remove the sleeves entirely and finish the armholes for a tank style.
A neckline on a top or dress can often be adjusted, too, to be more flattering to your chest and shoulders. A collar can be removed from a button-down shirt, a crewneck style can be turned into a boatneck, and most silhouettes can be made slightly more (or less) modest, depending on personal style.
If you'd like to make a dress easier to get into, a tailor can add a zipper to either the back or side seam. An exposed zipper can add a design element, while a side zipper can be hidden in the seam without changing the look of the dress. This alteration is particularly easy to do when you're having a dress taken in. Tailors can also easily fix a broken zipper in a skirt or dress.
Because garments are tailored to fit your body specifically, the tailor needs to spend some time with you to take accurate measurements and determine your goals for the garment. You can get the most out of your appointment with a tailor by following these tips:
The key to any successful tailoring is the tailor taking accurate measurements of your body. It can be helpful to know what to expect when you'll be measured by a tailor. It's also a good idea to know your measurements when having future garments altered as well as when shopping for new clothing off the rack.
Before you measure, figure out which undergarments you'll wear with the garment. Don't wear a bra for measuring your bust if you won't wear one with the dress, for example. Recruit an assistant to help you measure, stand in front of a mirror, and make sure you're using a flexible measuring tape that won't stretch out. Stand upright in a relaxed position with your feet together; breathe normally and make sure the tape is snug against your body, but not tight.
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