My mother spent many years making her own clothes and beautiful pieces for my sister and I. She always had her key seamstress or tailor to guide her and ensure the pieces were crafted with the utmost care and attention for the proper fit.
The person with this role will make all the difference to your wardrobe, not only impacting how your clothes fit, but also adding to their longevity too. If you love the way your clothes look and feel, you will continue to feel pleasure from wearing these items.
We think nothing of going to a professional for grooming, whether it is for our hair, our nails or eyebrow shaping. We have varying levels of mindfulness when it comes to skincare and beauty regimes, but when it comes to our clothes, how we take care of them can be an after-thought.
Fashion evolves, as we know, and we are living during a time where it is “fast or disposable”. Maintaining your garments is not only about the initial purchase; it’s an ongoing investment well after you leave the store. For some pieces, the proper maintenance could be for a lifetime!
Working with a professional seamstress or tailor is far more than adjusting the length of your jeans or skirt. They can repair well-loved pieces that you might otherwise have thrown out or kept languishing in your closet (now that is so wrong because they are just taking space!) One of the great services a seamstress or tailor can provide is to adjust sizing accordingly as weight naturally fluctuates at different life stages. Many of these artisans are designers in their own right. They can modernize and make pieces more current, rework a silhouette, change buttons of a jacket or reshape the lapels on a shirt. I’ve had the lining of a beautiful coat replaced and it looked like a new piece! Always remember to keep the question of cost in mind and ensure it is worth the alterations. This wardrobe partner could have you looking at your closet as if everything is brand new. Here are some of the key points to look for:
- Similar to when looking for a great dry cleaner, ask for recommendations from friends, family, colleagues in who you trust
- When you have your initial meeting pay attention to what they are saying and listen carefully. Be clear on what your expectations are. For example, if you bring a pair of pants in that fit perfectly everywhere except for the waist, what is their recommendation? Do they offer to take it in or let it out (depending on what you need) or do they suggest an over all alteration? Keep the cost in mind and if it is necessary. A true professional will look at the integrity of the garment and if it is “a must” to make a drastic change.
Questions to be prepared to ask:
- How to taper a pant – sometimes it is only for the bottom portion and other times it is from the hip down. Ensure that they pin it so you can see if that is how you want the garment to look.
- Placement of pockets is an important point, do they need to be closed because they buckle or remain open? Is the fabric of the garment see-through and the pocket needs to be cut down or removed entirely?
- How to taper a skirt or dress – one should be able to walk, but if it is not tapered enough it can look ill fitting.
- Are they comfortable working with a variety of fabrics (from fine laces and cashmere to sequins or faux fur)?
- Invisible mending is an art sometimes accomplished by hand and other times with professional equipment. Can they accomplish that – it is more than just using the equipment; they need to know how to get the end result.
- Do they work with undergarments, from bras to bathing suits? This is a specialty in its own right.
You may want to start with a minor alteration to test their ability. Shop around – this wardrobe partner could be for life and once they understand your body, they should be. It is an intimate relationship because they see our body and its challenges – we all have them. With the proper fit everything looks and feels better!