7 Common Alteration Requests for Professional Tailors

Alterations can range from simple fixes such as hemming pants to major reconstruction work such as taking in sleeves and skirts. Tailors also often specialize in one type of garment or another, such as women’s dresses or men’s suits. Here are 7 common alteration requests.

1- Hemming

Hemming ensures that the garment does not unravel after washing and proper care. Professional tailors use a hemming machine or hand-stitch the hem. The hem on a dress or skirt should always finish at least half an inch away from your heel. Not more than two inches past it.

2- Shortening Sleeves or Pants

When shortening sleeves, pants or skirts, it is important to take into account the cloth pattern. The trousers should have a straight leg in order to avoid any bulging caused by sitting. For skirts, the hemline should be adjusted so that there are six inches less than the desired length all around the garment.

3- Adding a New Zipper on Your Dress

The first thing a tailor will do is measure your waist and know where the new zipper needs to go. Then, he’ll cut a slit in the seam at that point and sew either a new metal zipper or one made of fabric into the slit.

4- Reduce Baggy Clothes

Your tailor will first look for the stitches holding the side seams together and remove them by tugging on them with a pair of tweezers. One by one, the tailor undoes the stitches and sew them together again so that there’s less space between them.

5- Altering Buttonholes

Buttonholes can be made functional by sewing a new hole or moving the existing one. Maintain the proportions of the buttonhole by altering the height and width proportionally. The height of the oval should always be greater than its width for an alteration to remain symmetrical.

6- Reshaping Collars and Waist Lines

First, pin out all pleats and tucks on both sides of the pants’ waistband so that they are flat without wrinkles or folds. Then use a measuring tape to judge how much fabric should be taken off on each side of the waistband. If there is a large amount removed from either or both sides, be sure to take in some fabric at the bottom seam where it is joined together again when sewing.

7- Removing Pleats

Many people prefer to have the pleats on their suits removed. Pleats look very awkward. Most alterations take 1-2 weeks, so plan accordingly. Most tailors will not remove the pleats at all unless you are buying a suit that has never been worn or altered before. If you are renting or purchasing an “off-the-rack” suit where the pleats have already been done for you, then most tailors won’t remove them because it could ruin the lining of the suit.

Now that you know the different alterations your tailor can do, go out and get yourself measured. Remember to take into account any weight fluctuations when ordering or ask for a personalized alteration if needed. Your perfect fit awaits!

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