An Alteration Dilemma

I received a good question via email today. It concerns taking in a garment where the customer has lost a lot of weight. How much work is too much? Long story short: it’s whatever the customer is willing to pay for. Here is the question I received: “I need to alter scrub jackets for a…

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How to Replace a Jean or Pant Zipper

You know it’s time to replace a zipper when the teeth are missing or the zipper tab has pulled away from the teeth, like this one: It’s almost impossible to put the tab back on the track. (But if the tab has broken off and the zipper is still intact, you can always just replace…

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How to Make A Dress With A Tulle Skirt

As you readers know, altering garments is my focus, not constructing them. But, I just got a great question from a reader and I would love your input in helping her. I’d love your thoughts on the tulle (netting) fabric. Do you have some tips on how to expedite the process and make that skirt…

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How To Alter a Top That's Too Low Cut

Have you ever tried to alter a blouse that was lower at the neck than you were comfortable with? To make this alteration, we are going to do two things: take up the front shoulder seam and take in the collar. Generally, you don’t need to take up the back of the blouse, but have the…

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How to Alter a Top With an Elastic Hem

You’ve seen these blouses everywhere: They’ve got elastic running around the bottom edge. Many women complain that they don’t like how they look when they wear them and pass up the idea of buying them. Altering them is an easy fix. Just trim off the elastic close to the edge: I use sharp small scissors…

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How to Avoid Ruining a Garment

Here’s  another good question from a reader… Judy wrote:  My question regards mistakes.  I’ve never destroyed anyone’s item (thank goodness!) but I’ve always been afraid of messing something up, especially an expensive item, like a prom or wedding dress.  Have any of you ever made an error like this?  If so, what did you do? Here’s…

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How Much Do You Charge To Replace a Zipper?

I get this question all the time. The short answer: “It depends.” The long answer:  “It depends, and here’s why….” First, make sure the zipper needs replacing. You wouldn’t believe how many customers I’ve had over the years,  who just need a new zipper tab (also called a pull). So, ask a few key questions…

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How To Take In The Crotch Seam on Pants

I just got an email from a reader whose husbands pants are hanging too low in the crotch area. Ever need to make that alteration? I thought about how to show you with a pair of slacks, but I think you’ll catch the idea much better and faster with a diagram. It’s a very easy…

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Altering the Shoulders on a Jacket

A customer brought me two jackets to take in at the shoulders. Both of these jackets had shoulder pads, too, which she wanted removed. You don’t see those much anymore! She tried the jacket on and I put a pin marking the spot where she wanted the sleeve to be moved to. See the white pin…

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A Finely Tailored Jacket

It’s not often that I am in the presence of a finely tailored garment. It’s a rare commodity these days. But recently, a customer brought this gem to me to have it altered: Those of you who live in the U.K. will appreciate this label: It reads: Catherine Walker…The Chelsea Design Company Catherine Walker designed clothing…

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