If you never became acquainted with the sewing machine, one thing to bear in mind about having alterations done by a tailor or dressmaker is that alterations can be costly, if it’s a simple adjustment ie: lengthening or shortening a garment then alterations can be considered, however, if a garment requires major alterations like remodeling, ask yourself these questions – how many times are your going to wear it? does this garment have sentimental meaning for you? or is it a unique item that cannot be replaced? since the cost of alterations can be considerably more than purchasing a new garment.


The reason for the increase costs is because when remodeling the garment it has to be taken apart before the necessary adjustments can be made and this can be time consuming and painstaking project.  Also bear in mind that remodeling can change the look and fit of the garment and you may not necessarily get the result you had in mind,  You will have to be open to collaborate with the tailor/dressmaker to create a completely new look than you first envisioned.

Alterations is a skill – apart from sewing.  It is much easier to construct a garment from scratch than to do alterations.


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People ask me all the time why alterations are so expensive, one lady said to me she “just” wanted a jacket taken in and the tailor charged her much more than she expected.  When anyone comes to me for alterations they always say to me all I want done is “just”… When people have no sewing experience invariable they underestimate the process of alterations that’s why they so often use the word “just”, for instance the lady who wanted her jacket “just” taken in had no concept of the work that had to be done to get her jacket fitted to her size.

First the lining had to be taken out and that is time consuming, then the armhole had to be adjusted because when the jacket is taken in at the sides it will affect the armhole, then the lining had to be adjusted to the size of the jacket and that in turn will affect the hem of the jacket therefore it had to be re-hemmed, so as you see it’s not a “just” it is a very detailed and time consuming projecr


You don’t have to be a couturier to do your own alterations, just learn the basics. There are sewing classes available both online or sit-in classes which ever best suits your needs. If you love fashion learning the basics of sewing will save you a fortune in alterations and the added bonus of being decked off in the latest trends.


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On Remodeling 

Remodeling  a garment is a tricky and time consuming operation and a skill that should not be underestimated.  Unless the item that needs alterations has special significance to you  it may be more feasible to purchase a new outfit.





Lengthening or shortening a skirt seems to be a simple operation however, if the skirt is lined the lining has to be shortened also, plus  adjusting the length of the skirt may have an affect on how the skirt falls and the sides may have to be worked on. .

Adjusting a skirt waist – If you just need 2″ or less reduced that can be done by taking in the sides of the skirt . If you need more than 2″ expanded on the waist this can be done by taking off the waist band and adding a facing instead of the waist band (if its a fitted skirt)

If you are dealing with pleats or gathers or more than a 2″ adjustment I suggest you buy a new skirt.  It’s not worth the dressmaker’s time or your money.

Last but not least the fabric has  be taken into consideration – chiffon, jersey, light weight, or loose weave fabrics are more difficult to adjust than stable heavy weight fabrics like denim or tweed etc.

Adjusting one part may affect other elements of the garment and the dressmaker/tailor will factor in the cost based on the level of difficulty and time spent working on the garment hence the reason the dressmake/tailor will give an estimate and the price may change when the alterations are completed.





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