Tailoring – What Are Your Top Five Alterations?

The Top Alterations Women Request at the Tailor | Corporette“Tailoring can really make or break an outfit.” We’ve heard it a million times! On blogs like Extra Petite and Alterations Needed, the bloggers talk — a lot — about what alterations they get done to make things fit. (Jean from ExtraPetite even guest posted on which suiting alterations you should consider.)  I always think every body is different — but that said, there is a lot to be learned from which are the most COMMON alterations. So I thought we’d have a poll: which are the top 5 alterations that you get the most often? Do you think tailoring makes a big impact in your wardrobe? For those of you who’ve lost or gained weight, have you had success with altering older clothes to fit your new body? (If relevant, please consider disclosing your height, body type, and maybe even your weight in the comments.) (You can answer up to 5 times in the poll.)  (If I haven’t listed something that you get done frequently, let me know and I’ll try to add it to the poll.) (Pictured: Expert Tailoring Alterations, originally uploaded to Flickr by Jeremy Brooks.)

frequent tailoring alterations for women

Comments

  1. Anonamonkey :

    I’m the opposite of the T-rex arms you ladies are lamenting — monkey arms run in my family, so I’ve never ever had to hem my sleeves (though there are plenty of jackets too short in the arms for me).

    I also have a really long torso, and find that tall pants often fit better through the hips/waist, even though I by no means need the length in the leg (31″ inseam). But, since if I bought a regular pant with a 32″inseam, I’d have to get them hemmed anyway. Recently I’ve gained a bunch of weight (50+ lbs in the last year), and find that to my surprise, off-the rack blazers fit fat-me without tailoring. It’s the one silver lining to my unhealthy current weight, as at my usual healthy weight, I always need to get blazers taken in at the waist and often shoulders.

    • I found the weight/proportion thing applies to me too. Petites fit me great in sizes 12 or higher, and when I’m size 8 or smaller, regular sizes fit perfectly. But in-between size 10-me is SOL.

    • Agh, I have monkey arms too matched with a nearly A chest and a high waist / short torso. So everything is a small, but the arms are a large. I don’t even bother to try on jackets anymore. I stick with dresses – so I can either put a tight long sleeve shirt under it or wear a cardigan.

  2. eastbaybanker :

    I have the same problem as layered bob. Long pants are too long; regular pants are the right length for flats if I’m lucky. I’m 5’10″ and hem for 2″ heels.

    This thread has inspired me to be less lazy and let more of my skirts down. I have pencil skirts that are supposed to hit at the knee-ish but are a couple inches short on me. I always figured a skirt a smidge too high isn’t as obvious/offensive as flood pants so I don’t bother. No more skirt length apathy!

    I’ve also never thought of making pant legs slimmer. Love it! I’ve completely rejected my wide leg trousers since skinny trousers took off. I’ve even been grumpy about wearing anything boot cut (BR Martin). I am going to see what can be done.

    I will add that my proudest recent tailoring moment was modifying the epaulets on a trench coat to make them lay flatter. It was a small tweak but it made the jacket much more flattering to my gorilla shoulders.

  3. 5’8″ with very long arms. Also pear-shaped, with relatively small waist to wide hips/thighs, so by far my most frequent alterations are hemming trousers (as someone else said, regular length is too short and long is too long) and taking in the waist of trousers. Two other alterations that I’ve had done several times aren’t on the list:
    1. Letting out sleeves to be longer.
    2. Stitching slash pockets closed so that the waist/front upper thigh area of trousers lies smoother and flatter.

    • Anonamonkey :

      #2. Totally this! I always felt awkward about slash pockets — felt like it adds 10 lbs to the look on me. It was an amazing moment for me when I realized that an easy alteration could make some of my least-worn pants into favorites.

  4. I’ve occasionally gotten pants hemmed, if they had a cuff and I couldn’t do it myself, but generally don’t buy anything unless it already fits me well. A couple of years ago I made an exception for a beautiful white sundress that was marked down to something like $20 at a White House/Black Market outlet. Tailoring it down 3 or 4 sizes cost nearly $80–way more than I expected. It fit (and looked) like a dream. Then I gained 25 pounds before I had a chance to wear it.

  5. Does anyone have any recommendations for an affordable tailor in the St. Louis area? I’m new to the area, and the two I’ve tried haven’t been great. Thanks!

  6. Any tailor rec for Columbus, Ohio? Northern Columbus preferred :)

    • Grace Cleaners in Westerville has done a nice job for me.

    • Laura Cbus :

      Maube Mor – she comes to your house or office! She has done a whole variety of alterations for me (and my husband). And she has a good eye for what you need and don’t need. www dot fittingimagemor dot com

  7. I’d appreciate recommendations for Dallas. Thanks!

  8. I will jump on the bandwagon and ask for a tailor reccomendation for Wilmington DE area.

  9. Jennifer B :

    I’ve had vents on suit jackets sewn shut on a couple of times. I think it makes them a little more forgiving of an extra few pounds, because the vent doesn’t stick out when they’re buttoned.

  10. I have recently started altering almost all my work clothes after losing about 25 lbs over 9 months, which translated to about 2 to 3 sizes depending on whether it is a jacket, skirt, pants or dress. I altered a lot of my in between clothes to avoid having to buy a new wardrobe twice. I am now 5’7″ and 132 lbs. I was a swimmer my whole life so I have that shape plus boobs. Not a common shape – I really should have been altering sooner. I most often take in skirt waist, pant waist, dress waist and have also altered jacket length and shortened sleeves. I am noticing that even if I buy my new size I have a major problem with blazers. They are always loose in the waist because they have to fit my ginorm shoulders and chest. I also always get the pants hemmed to fit heels. I find that curious given that 5’7″ is supposed to be the max height for most “regular” length pants.

    • whoa, hey twin! I’m a 5’7″ former swimmer and have the same issue with blazers, too. I always felt frumpy in blazers until I started altering them. What a difference….

  11. Definitely having jeans shortened; I have a 23″ inseam. Last week I hemmed 8.5″ off my new ‘skinny ankle-biter’ jeans & I still have to roll the hem for them to sit on my ankles.

  12. lucy stone :

    I’m 5’6″, 31″ inseam, and plus-size. I get all my pants altered. I have a 12″ difference between waist and hip right now and most plus-size suit pants seem to be cut straight up and down. I’m also too tall for plus petite pants but too short for plus regular pants. My jackets are almost always fine if I can get a WP, but if I have to get the W it needs to be taken in and taken in at the sleeves.

  13. I’m 5’0″, 140 lbs, with a 29″ inseam. I’m curvy for my height, so I wear size 10/12 pants and Petite Large tops to accomodate the curves. The waists of my pants and the waists of my tops are always too loose, but normally I just live with it because I don’t have time to go to the one good tailor in Berkeley and wait in line for an hour to get fitted.

    However… the one time I sucked it up was when I had big interviews coming up, so I bought a skirt suit one size too big and had the jacket and skirt taken in correctly. The suit cost me $150 on sale at Nordstrom, and the alterations were almost as expensive – they took in the jacket waist, shortened the sleeves from the shoulder and swapped in very thin shoulder pads, then took in the skirt waist and added darts or something. I looked damned good. I used it for two interviews, got the second job, and even six months later, people at work were talking about how great my suit fit me during my interview.

    I need to load up on podcasts and go to the tailor – I have at least 3 pairs of pants and two button-down blouses that need attention.

    • berkeley too :

      Wait, what tailor do you use in Berkeley? Inquiring minds want to know!

      • In Berkeley, it’s Advanced European Tailoring on Addison near Shattuck. Zoltan is the owner and main tailor. He’s very courteous and precise and takes his time. I used to work with a French woman who was extremely picky about fashion and fit, and Zoltan was the only tailor she would let near her clothes. They sometimes let other tailors in their shop do simple hemming, and those results have been either excellent or just OK, so keep an eye out for hemming variability when you pick up the pieces.

  14. MissJackson :

    I would love a good tailor recommendation in Pittsburgh, if anyone has one.

    I had heard great things about Frank the Tailor in the Oliver building, but have had mixed results (most recently, several pair of pants that are hemmed so unevenly that it’s comic). For the price ($20/hem), I’m irritated. I plan to go back and make them fix it, but am not keen to repeat this experience. It’s hard enough to find time to run to the tailor once let alone multiple times for the same item. I’d even be willing to drive to the burbs if I could find someone good, but would prefer recommendations downtown or in the east end.

    • Seconding this. I’ve tried Ianni’s in Squirrel Hill and didn’t like them. I have Four Seasons do simpler stuff (they’ve taken in 7 or so skirt waists for me) and they’ve done surprisingly well, so I might try them with something more complicated like a jacket even though I’m skeptical of taking something like that to a dry cleaner.

  15. At 5’3″ and 120 pounds I have weirdly long legs and a super short torso – so much so that I rarely ever get pants hemmed, but often get shirts hemmed and *especially* get shoulder straps taken up on tank tops and dresses. The armholes are hyooooge on so many cute tanks and dresses.

  16. I am sooo looking for a good blazer tailor in NYC. Am willing to travel. I have an awesome blazer I got at the Pink outlet but it’s just a tad long on my petite frame.

    If you have a great tailor in NYC, please share!

    • I’d like to second Erin’s request for a NYC tailor. Preferably near work (downtown/financial district/city hall/chinatown) or home (upper west side). I used to live in NC and I miss my amazing alteration shop!

  17. I have to get my bottoms hemmed because I am only five one but a size six. Most petite clothes seem to come only in two or less. I have to buy the regular sizes and then alter the length. It’s such a pain!

  18. Any recommendations for the Lehigh Valley/Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, PA? I’m pretty close to the NJ border, so I could head a little in that way…
    I tried the dry cleaner next to my house this summer after having moderate success with a skirt a whlie back. I wanted her to do a really tiny hem on a dress picked up at the thrift store, and had already ripped the hem out (didn’t have the special hemming foot for my sewing machine), but all she did was re-do the hem I ripped out!that learning experience cost $95 for one replaced zipper on one dress, the re-done hem on a second dress, and taking on a dress under the arms so it wouldn’t pucker… oh well. I haven’t really had to have anything altered besides that, and I’m sure if I got industrious, I could figure it out myself…i guess I should count myself lucky? =)

  19. TampaBayette :

    Any Corporette’s in the Tampa Bay area who can recommend a tailor? I’ve been trying to find one relentlessly for a few weeks now.

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