If you’re petite, have lost a few pounds, or want to put new life into an old outfit, working with a tailor may be the answer to a perfect fit. Even if you can wear “straight off the rack clothing,” a few judicious nips and tucks can make your garments look like a million bucks. Working with a tailor can even make those clearance sales and/or consignment shop steals a real deal by having them altered to fit your body to a tee.
Basic services a tailor can provide:
· Shorten sleeves
· Hem pants, skirts, dresses and coats (a must for the petite)
· Take in the body of a jacket, shirt or dress
· Take in waistbands of jeans
· Adjust shoulders of a coat or jacket
· Replace zippers or buttons (Which can do wonders for an inexpensive garment. Good buttons are practically a dime a dozen at flea markets or on eBay.)
· Add a hidden snap and strap for bra straps (Usually a standard for a lot of vintage dresses and a favorite of professional stylists.)
Finding a tailor:
· If you buy a suit in a high-end store, many will have in-house tailors which may be complimentary with your purchase, or at a very reasonable cost. Another benefit of using the store’s tailor is if they make a mistake, you have recourse and can get a refund or a replacement if necessary.
· Most dry cleaners offer basic alteration services. Check the Yelp website or app, or ask around for references to be on the safe side.
· Check with your favorite department store or boutique. Most have “go to” people who do their repairs and they’re invested in finding someone reliable.
· Do your research and if you’re not sure about a tailor, start off with something simple or and not too expensive. You’ll have less to lose if they aren’t up to par.
When you go in for your alteration appointment, be sure to wear the items you’d wear with the garments. Obviously shoes will affect pant hems, so wear the pair you’ll be wearing with the pants. If you are having items taken in or let out, wearing the proper undergarments with the clothing will be extremely helpful. If you are having a coat altered, wear a sweater so you’ll know exactly how much room you’ll need.
Be vocal. If you want gold thread for the hem on your jeans, say so. You might assume a tailor would automatically know this, but don’t take the chance.
Keep in mind that not every garment is as easily altered as others and trickier ones will cost you more.
Think about re-purposing your clothing. If you have something that’s been hanging in your closet for years because you love the fabric or the color, but not necessarily the fit, consider having it reworked by a tailor.
Another great reason to visit a tailor, custom made clothing. Custom-designed garments are not found ready-to-wear in any store. They are only created through getting to know you, and you alone, as a unique individual with a specific personality, lifestyle and preferences.
Tampa Bay Master Tailor, Nancy Niss, has these tips to offer:
It’s important to know what type of garment you desire: casual, formal, professional, how you prefer your clothes to fit, as well as the climate or season when it will be worn.
The Design Process:
In developing a design, a master tailor can…
· Make a pattern to copy an existing garment
· Use and modify a commercial pattern
· Draft a completely new pattern
· Make a basic cloth-fitting pattern for future designs
· Take personal measurements
· Help you select an appropriate fabric
· Fit and finish the actual garment
One of Nancy’s clients’ comments:
“If you are looking for the perfect outfit and/or costume, my friend Nancy, designer extraordinaire and master tailor, can take your ideas and make them come to life.
Nancy Niss is an artist with amazing sewing and design talent as well. She can do simple and utilitarian or wild and surreal, or remake a garment you love and want to adapt (which is what she often does for me). The cool thing about Nancy is that she takes into account who you are personally, and what looks good and works for you and you alone.” — C.M.
Careful fitting and alterations for your beautiful clothing are essential to being able to wear your outfits with style and with confidence that they look just right. Nancy Niss is an expert in fitting all figure types, including those with challenging fitting issues.
Before and after:
The first picture is a vintage dress that was too long, too tight, and drooped in the back. Nancy was able to shorten the dress and add the extra fabric to the side slits, making it more flattering and much more contemporary.
Tampa residents can find Nancy at www.nancyniss.com or reach her by phone at 727-692.8820.