Alterations and Tailoring job skills
Hi there everyone,
I have been thinking about getting a job doing alterations and tailoring at a nearby drycleaners. The other staff are very friendly and the sewing table is right by a large sunny window. But, I do not think I have all the skills I need and I have had trouble finding any print resources or classes where I could learn how to make professional alterations. I also like to find interesting garments and fabrics at thrift shops and remake them into children’s costumes. I believe that if I knew how to make alterations better, I would be more efficient with the costumes.
All the information I have seen in Threads magazine refers to fitting from a pattern. I need to know how to make fittings on ready-to-wear.
Do you have any recommendations for me?
Thank you very much.
the ability to do fitting on ready to wear springs from a strong foundation on how the garment was made in the first place. then you know where to take things aapart and how to put them back together. this is probably really frustrating to be told, but I don't think it is a stand alone skill......it evolved from the foundation. Make sense?
maybe you could start with buying some cheap or used goods that clearly don't fit and play with them? soon you will see what changes are possible and what ones are not worth the time and energy it takes. I mean if an armhole is cut too large you can add and patch and change it's design with gussets, but is it worth it?
the sorts of alterations at a dry cleaners would be pretty basic anyway. expensive important clothing would be taken to a dressmaker or tailor right? so we are talking about taking in and letting out waists and hemming sleeves and hemline... I think.
If I am all wrong, I apologize for the bandwidth :)
Thanks Diane. Excellent idea to experiment with inexpensive garments--take apart & put back together altered. Now why didn't I think of that? You're probably right that drycleaner alterations staff would do only basic alterations such as sleeve length or letting out a man's trousers waist. But I am not sure about your first point--short cuts are not possible, one must learn the foundations, but what do you mean by foundations? And aren't there any tricks at all to make alterations easier? I went to the Profesional Association of Custom Clothiers website and searched for what they meant by "quality standards" but to no avail. I am eager to learn how to make alterations in a professional and customary way. Any further light you can shed on this would be most appreciated.
Mary Roehr has several good, simply written books on the subject. Atering Men's Ready-to-Wear, Altering Women's Ready-to-Wear, and one on bridal. You might find them helpful. I've seen them in Clothilde's catalog as well as in advertisements in Threads and Sew News magazines. Worth a look.
I think that if you have experience making your own clothes and are skilled with your hands you can do most alterations. there is no way to know how to do all alterations b/c construction methods vary infinitely. The thing is to take them apart slowly making notes if necessary so you can see how to put them back together. Always take apart only one side (one sleeve vent, one side of the jacket hem) and put it back together using the other as a guide. then when it is done, use it as a guide to do the second. Its like solving a puzzle. Also, you will need some fitting skills. The client will have an idea how they want it to fit, but remember that it is looser pinned than it will be sewn, and err on the big side. In the beginning, you will need Mary Roehr's book as a bible! Definitely worth its weight in gold.
June 20, 2002
Dear Silkscape person:
Thank you very much for your encouraging words about undertaking alterations. I have tried the take-apart-one-sleeve-vent-alter-then-take-apart-the-other-sleeve-vent-alter method with varying degrees of success. But now that I think of it, I haven't actually sewn garments with sleeve vents and so I would do well to learn how to make one start to finish before I attempt to alter one! Also, I had never thought of taking notes as I am taking apart the garment. That is a very logical idea!
Thank you very much.
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