Tuesday, February 16, 2010
I've said it time and time again, looking good in your clothing is all about fit! It's much better to have a $250 H&M suit that fits properly then to have a $2500 Armani suit that doesn't. Trust me!
With that said, when shopping for tailored clothing it is important to understand what alterations your tailor (and by tailor, I mean your typical local seamstress) can and cannot do. So here is a brief FAQ of basic tailoring services along with approximate price ranges (based on NYC prices).
Can the shoulders be extended (made larger)?
Can the shoulders be taken-in (made smaller)?
In theory, yes, but this means reconstructing the entire jacket and can be very expensive (in many cases, more expensive than the jacket itself). For this reason, make sure you buy a jacket that fits properly in the shoulders! Cost: not worth it
Can the sleeves be made longer?
In most cases, yes, but only by the amount of fabric that is available on the underside of the sleeve, up to the beginning of the sleeve lining (see pic below). Also keep in mind the if the jacket has working or "surgeon's" buttons, those holes cut in the fabric cannot be covered or moved. A good tailor can, however, add a button hole or two if necessary to balance the extended sleeved (I wear 5 buttons on my sleeves anyway). Cost: $15-30 per sleeve (extra button hole(s) not included)
Can a suit sleeve be shortened?
Yes, but again, if the buttons on the sleeves are functional, then shortening the sleeve can bring the button holes awkwardly close to the end of the sleeve. Handle proportions with care. Cost: $15-30 per sleeve
Can a jacket be let-out (made roomier) in the sides?
More than likely no, because a typical off-the-rack suit comes with very little seam allowance on the sides.
Can a jacket be taken-in (made slimmer) in the sides?
Yes! This one alteration can make a significant improvement in the fit of the jacket. Cost: $25-$60
Can a jacket be made longer?
Can a jacket be made shorter?
In theory, yes a jacket can be "chopped", but this is risky because it can throw off the balance of the pockets as well as the proportion of the button stance. Cost: $80-100+
Can the "roll" at the back of my neck be removed?
Yes, but only by an experienced tailor. Cost: $50-75
Lastly. Is it worth paying $50-100 in alterations for a jacket or suit that wasn't very expensive?
More to come...
Yours in style,
Posted by D Trepanier at 3:08 AM