So you’ve decided that ill-fitting and poorly made clothes are a thing of the past and that you are ready to have something made or altered for you. But where do you start and how do you find a tailor or dress maker that can realise your vision?
Be clear about your needs.
Are you having a suit or dress altered / made? Is your garment a specialist item such as a wedding dress, leather jacket or your grandmother’s vintage fur coat? You will want to choose a tailor / dressmaker that is experienced in working on the type of clothes you are bringing to them. Think about the kind of fit you want to achieve and the overall silhouette and style you are after. The more informed you are the easier it will be to make an assessment about whether a tailor is right for you.
Ask a stylish friend for a recommendation.
As with most trades getting a recommendation can be the best way of finding someone you can trust. You can ask well dressed friends and family for personal introductions or reach out on social media. Facebook groups and neighbourhood social networks can be great ways to hear about local businesses. Look at Yelp, Google and Yellow Pages. Consider the user reviews, but take them with a pinch of salt. People tend to leave negative feedback more readily than positive.
Give them a call.
Being able to communicate with your tailor is of paramount importance. A good tailor should make you feel at ease and take time to listen to your needs. After all fitting someone for a garment can be a pretty intimate experience and you’ll want to feel comfortable and in safe hands. Take note of their communication style. Are they listening to understand you or are they jumping to conclusions? The best tailor-client relationships feel like you are talking to a friend; sharing the same values and ideas about style.
Book a consultation.
Once you have narrowed down your choice to a couple of tailors make an appointment for a consultation. You can now get to know your tailor a little better. Ask to see examples of their work. Look out for neat and tidy seams with no loose threads or stitches. Is the garment nicely pressed? Bring a garment you’d like to have altered and see how they advise you. Someone with experience will pick up on your fit wishes, but will also suggest subtle alterations that you may not have thought of. Again make sure that they are listening to you!
Ask about a satisfaction guarantee.
Put simply you want to find a tailor that is not happy with a result until you are. This may require multiple fittings and possible tweaking of an alteration until it is just right. Make sure they are as keen on achieving a perfect fit as you are.
Ask how long clothing alterations take.
Most experienced tailors are in demand and will therefore be busy. Simple alterations may be completed in a few days or a week, but complex alterations will require more time. You may also need to wait for a consultation. Be wary of anyone that can do things right away.
Having found your ideal tailor consider the cost of the services on offer. Are they in line with other tailors in the area? If they are more or less, ask yourself why? Will you get a service that is worth the extra expense? Will you regret going for the cheapest option? Bear in mind that a good alteration may cost more than the initial cost of the garment. Compare the total spend to a tailored or made-to-measure equivalent rather than an off-the-rack purchase.
Following these seven simple steps should help you find a good tailor or dressmaker that is the perfect fit for you!
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I hope you enjoyed this post and do let me know in the comments if you have any additional questions. I’d love to hear from you.
Join the discussion 3 Comments
Fab post. So helpful as I’m just about to start my journey into the world of tailoring. Your tips will certainly help. Just wish you were closer to me. Lol.
Thank you – so good to hear that you found it helpful. Let me know how you get on with your search! I’d love to hear…