Before I get on with the types of alterations worth taking to a tailor find a good one. Don’t just rely on yelp reviews. Instead get recommendations from friends who invest in their wardrobes. A good tailor is right up there with a good mechanic, a good hairdresser and a good dentist.
I have included $ signs to signify the level of cost for each example.
$ You can afford this and Sunday brunch.
$$ You will have to choose between a meal out or a better fitting garment.
$$$ You might have to hold off on getting your hair cut for awhile but totally with it!
~A typical fitting issue for jeans is that the waistband can be too large at the center back. Don’t keep wearing them like this! This one is fairly
straightforward. The belt loop is removed along with the double stitching down the center back. $
~And speaking of jeans if you need them shortened but want to keep the original hem it can be done! The original hem is cut off with an additional 1/2”. The pant is shortened and the hem is sewn back on. Voila! $
~Taking in a skirt at the center back zipper. If the outcome can be achieved by taking the excess out of the side seams do it that way. However, if your waist-to-hip ratio is larger than 10” it is better to take the alteration at the center back where the zipper is placed. The waistband and zipper will have to be partially removed and sewn back. But this type of alteration is completely worth the extra money. $/$$
~Having your favorite coat relined. Is the outer layer of your coat in great condition? If the answer is yes then it is definitely worth having it relined. $$/$$$
~Adding or moving a zipper. This is a fairly easy alteration but it can be time-consuming depending on how the garment is finished. If a zipper is added to a double knit dress the seams will need to be fused so as to avoid stretching out the fabric. $/$$
~Having the shoulders taken in and sleeves taken up on a tailored jacket. This is going to cost you but it is worth it! There is nothing like having a jacket tailored to fit but this type of alteration requires a skilled tailor. The sleeves are removed, the excess shoulder is cut off, the sleeves are shortened and then it is all sewn back together. $$$
~Having a gown altered. There can be many layers of fabric in an evening gown—linings, underlinings, fusing and beading might need to be removed and sewn back on. Regardless of whether you paid big bucks or were gifted your special occasion dress you will need to take a deep breath because this is going to cost you. if you love this dress then make the investment and have it fit right. $$$
~Never have clothing taken in that is so worn out there is no memory left in the fabric. This can be especially problematic with knits. Over time fabric will lose its memory and just seem to get bigger with each wear. It’s time to throw it out.
~Never buy anything that is tight thinking you can have it let out. There are garments that can be let out to some degree but unless you understand clothing construction and know how much extra wiggle room you need then don’t buy a garment that is too small, ever!
~If you are not absolutely sure of the fabric content of your garment never have it re-dyed. Natural fibers react differently to dyes than synthetics. The other problem is even if your top is made in 100% cotton the thread might be polyester. In this case if you are dying your blouse black you will end up with white topstitching.