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Where Have all the Tailor’s Gone

skyrocker1 | Posted in General Discussion on

I have mentioned in earlier posting of how I was pressed into service for hemming clothes for my wife, and the word is leaking out that others can
beg my wife and con me into doing simple task on their clothes.
Its amazing but stores like J.C. Penny and other’s use to tailor clothes but that has ceased in most cities. Dry Cleaners used to have people to just sew buttons back on or minor repairs. Gone.
I think this could be a great cottage industry for younger people to work out of the home. One can simply ask the chain’s to post your availability and experience. Word of mouth I am sure would travel and one would have more than enough work, be your own boss.
We have only one tailor left in a city of 50,000. I just have a feeling that tailoring and seamstress’s will fit into the future.
Oh by the way true tailors and seamstresses are not cheap and its expected to pay a bit more for clothes that fit! Doc
What do you think?


  1. rjf | | #1

    I hate repairing!! I'd rather start from scratch.  We had (unfortunately past tense) tailors' shop here in a city of under 17,000 for about five years.  Very fast, very accurate, very cheap.  I wish they had charged a little more so they could have stayed in business.  It really is an underpaid, undervalued profession and the people who understand what it takes to run a tailoring business are the people who would use it least.  But I may be speaking too fast....there's a big difference between tailoring and running a tailoring business.                     rjf

  2. reddragonfly | | #2

         I sew artistic garments and art quilts and I can't count the number of times that people have asked me to do repairs for them as soon as they find out I know how to sew.  I have had to make a hard and fast rule that I don't do any sewing for other people (except serious clients) or I would have no time to get my own sewing done.  To me sewing is something I do for enjoyment and I don't enjoy doing other people's mending.  It's bad enough to do my own.  I don't care how much they offer to pay me it isn't worth the time to me. 

         There certainly is work out there for those who are willing but most people don't understand the time and effort it takes even to hem a simple pair of pants.  It's also shocking how many people can't even do a simple repair for themselves, they live with holes or throw the clothes out instead.  Disposable society.

    1. skyrocker1 | | #3

      Yes your right. I certainly do not want to get over whelmed by repair work. The time if ripe for a cottege industry in one's home. However I am sure Uncle Sam would want his bite and I don't have any clue as to how hobby's are taxed, which I am sure if one got enough business Sammy would want his cut. However in the home, there is low overhead, but as you say it does cut into the enjoyment. What we consider simple task are just not possible for most people.

      I noticed girls,teens walking around with pants that are ragged in the back because they step on them. The more they turn into rags the more

      appealing it is to them. I guess they would not be very good customers

      unless and fad disappears. LOL Doc

  3. sewphaedra | | #4

    I get asked all the time about mending, but I have no idea what to charge. When I worked in the bridal salon the owner set the prices, and I don't remember what they were plus that was ages ago. So, can you charge enough to actually make it worthwhile?

    1. skyrocker1 | | #5

      The average price to take up hems on a pair of pants is between $8.00 and $12.00 each, Zippers $15 to $20.00 plus materials, zipper, thread to match material. It is generally what people feel is fair and reasonable and when they want that pair of pants, they will pay. Most people I have heard indicate they find pants reasonable in price to purchase, but the

      pants are to long, have cuff's and have no clue as to how to alter these


      By a simple post, in laundramats, bank lobbies, stores with bulletin boards I am sure that one could find enough work for in the home and still enjoy a hobby. Believe me when the word gets out you will have enough people calling you. Doc

      1. skyrocker1 | | #6

        One other thing. Be careful of not getting into rush jobs, or high priorities unless you have the time. This is something that you set at your pace and schedule and when your people understand that this is a few days, thats what it is a few days if necessary. Point to the rack of waiting articles. Be as prompt as possible and call them when they are done. Not them calling you!!! Doc

        1. mainestitcher | | #7

          So many folks hear the price of an alteration or repair and say, "But I could buy a new ____ for that!" Yes, they can if they set their standards low enough. A fellow called last month who wanted a zipper in his jeans leg from the hem to the knee, so he could get the pant on over his prosthetic leg. He would rather wear Dickies work pants than pay for the job.

          Assuming one pays Uncle Sam his cut, plus the expense of heating your home and the electric and all,(as opposed to working at someone else's property and running up his/her bills) and going to the store for matching thread or paying the shipping to your home, $30 an hour is not outrageous.

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