Now, Men’s alterations are very straightforward to give a rough guide on price because most men’s clothes are made in a similar manner. For women however, the designs and the manufacturing processes employed in clothes are almost as diverse as women are themselves; which makes it very difficult to give any kind of estimate without seeing the garment in question. Quite often I receive emails asking how much it would cost to alter a dress, to be honest it is impossible to give a quote without seeing the dress in question because of the previously mentioned diversity in design and construction. Even when I see a woman’s garment, until I get inside of it, I don’t necessarily get a good enough idea of what will be involved to offer any more than a very rough guide of the prospective cost.
I now guestimate with the proviso that once I know fully what needs doing the cost may go up or down and I will always contact the client BEFORE proceeding if it is likely to be much more expensive than the original guide price, so the client can change their mind if they wish.
With regards to the kinds of alterations I am willing to take on, the short answer to that is just about ANYTHING! Here is a brief list of alterations I carry out regularly:
- Taking up hems on sleeves and at the bottom of garments, by hand and machine
- Taking in trousers, skirts, dresses, jackets and coats
- All bridal, bridesmaids, mother of the bride and other occasional wear alterations
- Garment make-overs and updates. Please read my Blog post entitled; Alterations – New from Old, re-purpose, re-love, upcycling
- Repairs of all kinds, by hand, machine and using machine embroidery; replacing linings & zips.
I have not yet come across a project that I could not carry out and I love a challenge. There is no fabric I am unwilling to work with, in fact to me there is no such thing as a ‘difficult’ fabric. I will give only one qualification to that, and that is Leather. To work with leather one needs specialist tools, needles, glues, heavy duty industrial sewing machine and specialised feet.
Sometimes when altering clothes one has to be rather inventive and these are the jobs that I like best. They push my considerable skills and knowledge to the limit and make me learn new techniques, or offer a creative challenge to achieve unique garments from something fairly run of the mill.
Recently one of my brides came to me with two bridesmaids dresses she had bought second hand, they were both size 14, one only needed a little taking in to enhance a beautiful curvy waistline, this one however needed altering to fit a size 6!
This is the after shot, on a size 8 dummy, it was quite a major job to lift off all the boning inside, take in the seams and put the boning back by using what amounts to keyhole surgery. One has to spread the amount that is taken in all the way around the body in order to preserve the integrity of the dress. It was a jolly satisfying job.
This was an interesting wedding dress. My client had bought it in a Debenhams sale for £20 and it was originally a strapless, full length fishtail style dress (which in my experience only suits very tall and slim women). I have cut the hip section out, brought the full section of the skirt up to the waist and used the leftover fabric to create the shoulder straps.
Here you can see the back, I have created rulo loops for the covered buttons that replaced the original zip and made the straps this shape to cover a tattoo that the client wanted out of sight on her big day. I was really pleased with how it turned out, as was she.
The skirt in this shot I took up and then did some machine embroideries on the three front godets (triangular panels). It was left to me to choose what to embroider as my client is very happy to leave those decisions to me – we work together regularly.
This skirt was very fragile as the fabric came from another skirt made a number of decades ago with Liberty print shot Silk Chiffon, it needed a lot of gentle treatment in order to prevent further damage to the fragile fabric in the process of remodelling.
This was originally one of those horrid 1980s skirts that was heavily gathered at the waist and looked a little like a sack tied in the middle, having re-cut it I added a yolk waistband with matching binding at the hem along with a nice lining.
I loved this project, my client adored the shape of her tunic jumper but found it a little boring, I sat one evening with a box of lovely bits and pieces and have embellished just the neckline for her with buttons, butterflies cut from embroidered silk and some interesting yarns.
This is another of my favourite projects, originally it had these elbow length sleeves, ugly buttons and a lining that was rather worn.
Using some similar coloured linen I extended the sleeves and created a long cuff, replaced the lining with a nice new red one, changed the buttons and covered the belt to match the extended sleeves. My client was totally blown away with the results as she had given me a free reign to update the jacket that she had only kept because she loved the fabric.
Hopefully this has given you more of an idea of what can be achieved with those garments you have lurking in your wardrobe, or that you find when shopping that don’t quite fit properly. As for the clothes you need for special occasions you no longer need to worry, bring them along and when I have finished they will fit perfectly; I recently altered a stunning wedding dress in pale green/grey embellished silk Dupion, the bride’s Mum took it away with her for the Hen do and reported back the following Monday, when she came for her Mother of the Bride outfit fitting, that it was indeed absolutely perfect.
So, whatever the garment, whatever needs doing to make it right for you, get in touch and I have no doubt I can help to make it fit perfectly and maybe sprinkle a little extra magic over it for you too.