Your tailor really can work wonders on your clothes. But yet, not many Americans go to them (except only for special occasions). Michael Kors once said, “Why do the Europeans always look so good? They have a relationship with their tailor & spend the time & money to make their clothes look their best.” Yes, many of them are expensive, but if you do a little bit of legwork, you can find an affordable one that can be a lifesaver. Honestly I think more people should be going to their tailor more often! There are just too many Americans wearing ill-fitting clothes. Sometimes you just need a tailor to put that extra pinch to make you look good.
However, if you are heading over there with garments you need changed, DON’T forget to bring the right undergarments (bra and / or spanx) and your shoes (so that they may hem properly). Here I’ll list the many things that a tailor can do for you:
-Make things shorter: Whether it be pants, sleeves, skirts, dresses, if they’re too long, your tailor can gladly hem it for you. Don’t step all over your hems. Especially if they’re pants they will get dirty & rip.
-Conversely, make things longer: This one really depends on the garment. Inside every hem, there is a certain allowance of fabric. (Take a look inside the hems of your pants/skirts/dresses) If you have something that is a bit short, they can take out the hemming, & make the fabric allowance (inside) smaller, therefore elongating your garment. If there is NO fabric allowance inside the hem, then sorry, they can’t elongate your garment for you.
-Close open seams: This actually happened to me once. I had bought a top, & then the seam started to open just after I had bought it. I contacted the store & they were able to give me some credit. But I still took it to my tailor. Anytime a seam opens up, they can gladly fix it for you.
-Make things more fitted: They can take (almost) any garment that’s too big & make it more fitted for you. Whether it be a jacket, shirt, dress, pants; they can do it. Exception: If there are no seams or darts for them to work with. But only they can be the judge of that & give you a price (for this varies greatly from garment to garment). Bring it in & ask!
-Replace a broken zipper: Really, that’s the last thing you need: a broken zipper. And I’ve been there before. And this can be ANY zipper. Check out the photo of Sofia Vergara at the Emmy’s with a broken zipper. You don’t want your back or your sides hanging out when the zipper of your dress breaks open. Nor would you want it to happen to your crotch. The only stipulation here is that your tailor may or may not have a zipper that matches your garment. (There are all kinds of zippers, shapes, sizes, & colors, keep that in mind) Ask them first if they have, if not, you may have to go out & buy the zipper yourself. And they’re not expensive! Unless they’re coat zippers, they should always be $5 or less.
-Garment makeovers: And the spectrum is wide on this one, the things they can do. They can turn a dress into a skirt, a coat into a jacket, pants into shorts, pants into a skirt, and the list goes on! i.e. One time I gave my mother a large printed scarf. She took the scarf to a tailor & had them make it into a blouse! This is what I mean! They really can work wonders on your clothes. And there is no harm in asking.
-Altering swimwear: This is tricky because there’s only so much you can do with bathing suits. They can take a one piece & turn it into a 2 piece, or if your suit is a bit big, they can make it more fitted. But this is probably the most challenging thing for a tailor to do, so don’t be surprised if they charge you more for this one, or flat out turn you down.
What they CAN’T DO: Make smaller things bigger. The only exception I can think for this that they can add a gusset (a triangle shaped patch of fabric) to certain places, i.e. your underarm seam (if the armholes of your sleeves are too small), or the crotch seam (if the crotch area is too tight on a pair of pants). In general, don’t buy small garments hoping they will get bigger.
Usually nowadays you will find a tailor at your local dry cleaners. Go around to them, inquire about their prices. I have 2 dry cleaners by me, & both tailors will hem a pair of pants for about $10. Not so expensive. I mentioned this before, the deals are out there! It’s up to you to find them.