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Book on altering clothes

Balencia | Posted in Equipment and Supplies on

Hello, anyone know the best book for helping with alterations – altered a pair of trousers just via an article in threads – Sew Stylish no 2 edition page 50 “Bannish the Baggy” – found bits left out caused my crotch seam to be too tight – article surely should have said to make sure the seam flares slightly at the end – if you know what I mean!  On Amazon only have the one book by Mary Johnson – 1965!  . thanks



thankfully – LG


  1. busybee | | #1


    I have a very good book by Mary Rohr on altering Womens clothes, also one for men.

    I think its called " Altering womens clothes" actually geared towards a business venture but it will tell you all you need. Hope you get what you need. All the best Winifred

  2. sewornate | | #2

    I second the motion on Mary Roehr's books.  See them at her website -- maryroehr.com -- After many years of doing clothing alterations, I still find the books very helpful.  She puts out one for women's alterations and one for men's alterations.  She also has suggested price lists for doing alterations, which she updates from time to time, if you are interested in doing this as a business.

    1. User avater
      Balencia | | #3

      Thanks for that I will enquire about getting that book.  Thanks again - will let you know if I get it sewomate.

    2. designsbysue | | #4

      Thanks for the tip -  I'm having trouble knowing what to charge.  I had to take a size 14 crepe pants with long flowing overskirt - She paid me $25 - I had to cut it down to a size 10.  I reinforced arm seams on a silk blouse for a total of $2.00  and took a sheer top in from a 14 to a 10 and made $10.00.  At those prices it is hardly worth it - people don't seem to want to pay much for the work.  Does anyone else find that to be true?

      Does anyone know where I could go to find out what people charge for designing and sewing new fashions.  I am just getting started.  I said I would sew a simple wedding dress for $250 and a prom dress for $100  (both of these require the person to purchase the pattern and fabric, etc.).  I made a simple straight skirt without waistband and was paid $40.  I am currently making a pair of corduroy pants but not sure what to ask for - maybe $50?  Another woman wants me to make a dress for her little 2 year old - thermal skirt with t-shirt top and machine embroidery on the skirt -  she said that she paid $50 for one - thinks that that is too high and wants me to charge less?

      1. starzoe | | #5

        Just a hint here - I hope you set the price before starting the garment.

      2. sewornate | | #6

        You need to set prices, not your customers.  It should be based on the time you have in the item, and the difficulty of the project.  You will learn how long it takes you to make something and what findings you have in it (thread etc.--also electricty--the portion of your home or a shop etc. will add to that.)  In Mary Roehr's suggested price lists for alterations, she usually has a per hour charge suggestion too.

        Many, many years ago I quoted $50 to make a dress.  The customer said, "Well, I know a woman who will do it for $3.50."  I answered, "Then that is who you should get."  She did have me make the dress.  You build a reputation for the quality of work you do.  With the availability of inexpensive clothes today, those who are hiring someone to make something for them can afford the price of having something custom made.  Custom made items were never the cheapest way to go.  They want something custom made because they want something not available in ready-to- wear, or they cannot achieve a good fit that way.  You are very good at what you do, or you would not be brave enough to work for other people doing sewing.  You need to tell yourself that and build your confidence.

        1. designsbysue | | #7

          Thank you so much for your kind words!  You said exactly what my girlfriend said today (and my therapist!).

          I am not afraid to sew anything - I've even made men's suits.  I measure at least twice and pride myself on having clothing fit like "a glove".  I just need to keep telling myself that I am worth the amount I want to charge. 

          Thanks again for your help.


          1. sewornate | | #8

            I knew you were probably very good when you said you were taking a size 14 and altering it to a 10.  First of all that is not an alteration--that is a remake!

            You  might write up something to send to new or prospective customers about the work you do, what "custom" means, and why it is more costly to have things custom made.  If you hear back from them you will know they expect to pay more.  There will be some you won't hear back from, but believe me, you do not want them for customers.

            You need to educate your customers. 

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