Men's tailor in Seattle
October 25, 2010 10:11 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a great men's tailor in the Seattle area.

Just got a new suit in Vancouver and I have a couple of older suits that need to be taken after losing some weight (yay me!). Looking for someone with a strong eye for current fashion, who might be able to update the cut the of my suits, ie taking in around the waist, narrowing sleeves, maybe even taking out pleats. I think the obvious answer is the guy at Kuhlman's, but wanted to know if anyone else had any recommendations. FWIW I've had terrible experiences at Nordstrom's and Macy's where they seem to want to dress me like my grandfather.

As an aside, does anyone have a ballpark figure for what this kind of work costs?
posted by Slarty Bartfast to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (5 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
If you're at the stage where you're looking at taking out pleats, you should strongly consider starting from scratch and buying new shit. When you're taking out pleats, you're messing with the basic structure of a garment, which is going to be costly, and probably not work as well as you're hoping it will.

I don't know any tailors in Seattle, but I'd seriously consider buying new suits and / or asking for tailor recommendations at places that cater to a more... current crowd. There's a Barney's in Seattle, right? That might be a great place to start. Expensive, and, yeah, kinda snooty as fuck, but they're more likely to be in touch with what you call "current fashion" than Macy's.

Or if you really want a tailor for your existing garments, ask the folks at Blackbird in Ballard. I've been in there a few times, and I don't think I'd pay their prices for anything, but I'd sure as shit trust that any tailor they'd recommend would have a solid handle on the modern cut. Just go in there, try a few things on, chat up the salesperson who's helping you, bemoan the fact that nothing ever fits quite right, and ask if they can recommend a good tailor. I bet they can.

Seriously, though-- removing pleats? Just buy new suits. You'll be happier and your clothes will fit, feel and look better.
posted by dersins at 12:11 AM on October 26, 2010

Yeah, I just brought up the pleat question because a skilled tailor can sometimes do this, or at least change the cut or position of them. That's the kind of guy I want, someone who doesn't just take in waists, someone who tailors, you know someone who knows how to make a suit look good. I do have some new suits that I'm taking in. Blackbird wouldn't officially recommend Kuhlman's because they are in direct competition with Blackbird (and if you find Blackbird too expensive, but love their stuff, you should totally check out Kuhlman's) -- but off the record a salesperson at Blackbird recommended them. All local lines of inquiry point toward's Kuhlman's but seriously, there's got to be more than one good men's tailor in this city.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 10:37 AM on October 26, 2010

I had the same question a few months ago and was referred to Adam Tailoring & Alterations, a really small shop just north of Qwest Field next to a tattoo shop. (no website that I know of)

Don't judge the place by the store-front though; he did a quality job and the price was very reasonable. Another bonus was that he is a really nice guy (which contrasts the other tailor experiences I've had).

I agree with the poster above though: don't take out the pleats, just buy a new pair of pants to go with the suit.
posted by apranica at 1:26 PM on October 26, 2010

Googling around a bit, The Ask Andy forums have a discussion about reasonable costs for alterations to suits. Might be useful to at least get a point of reference for when you visit someone locally.

I've heard good things about A Perfect Fit in Ballard, but don't have experience with them firsthand.

Pleats can be taken out, but they are either very challenging ($) or impossible, depending on how many and how... pleat-y... they are.

You'd probably be looking at a couple hundred bucks per suit for all of the alterations you mentioned, and even then there is no guarantee that it will really come out how you hope. Depending on how many suits you really need in your rotation, you may be better off saving up what you'd spend on alterations and getting one or two awesome new suits.

Also, don't bet on being able to buy flat-front pants to replace a pleated pair in a suit. It will be almost impossible to find a proper color and fabric match (even in black. You'd be surprised) and a mismatched "suit" looks very, very goofy.
posted by crosbyh at 3:56 PM on October 26, 2010

I'm a huge fan of Kuhlman... he does a great job and he has good modern taste.

What you're talking about is really substantially altering the form of the suits. Not only does this mean it may cost quite a bit more, but it also means that you need a very skilled tailor-- someone who specializes in creating suits from scratch rather than just alterations, which is why Kuhlman is a solid option. That said, my $0.02 is still that you might want to buy new suits-- substantial alterations might not give you the best bang for your buck as far as cost vs quality of outcome. I wouldn't be surprised if the full set of alterations you described cost $200 or more per suit.

Other options: seconding the previous comment about asking at Barney's (or Mario's) for recommendations of tailors. I know the Barney's in-house tailors can only do more minor alterations, and I think the same is true of the Mario's tailors, but I would imagine they can provide recommendations.
posted by stilly at 1:34 PM on October 28, 2010

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