How do I know if a tailor can properly alter a men's dress shirt?
March 8, 2013 7:25 AM   Subscribe

I recently bought a relatively cheap men's sport/dress shirt that I love, but while it fits perfectly around the neck and chest the cuffs are about 1/2 an inch too long and there's just a bit too much fabric in the sleeves for my taste. What would I want to ask a tailor before having them alter my shirt, to ensure they wont mess it up/make it look bad?

How much should a decent-to-good job cost me for this type of alteration? I'm in Atlanta, if anyone knows of someone here who can do this well.

posted by rbf1138 to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (5 answers total)
I do stuff like this regularly. Just tell them what you've told us: that you want the sleeves adjusted to the proper length (the tailor knows what that is-- there's a certain length that your sleeves should be given your arm length) and that the sleeves have too much fabric and that you want them slimmer. There should be a seam that runs down the length of the sleeve: they can take that in. They can remove the cuff, shorten the sleeve, and re-attach it to make it the proper length. The tailor will clip the fabric on the sleeve and ask you if it's the right level of slimness that you're looking for and move the sleeve up to the right point and ask you if that's what you want.

The tailors have done stuff like this before. The problem is that it might cost you $25-$50, which might not seem worth it given the cost of your shirt (which is why even an inexpensive custom-made shirt is worth it when the measurements are correct).
posted by deanc at 7:40 AM on March 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

Totally take it to a tailor, and start considering these alterations as the second half of the price of buying shirts - it can make a big difference in both appearance and comfort.
posted by oceanjesse at 8:40 AM on March 8, 2013

Are you in a rush? If not, and if it's not too expensive, bring them a shirt you love less for them to alter for you first. That way you can get a sense of their skill without risking the shirt you love.
posted by 168 at 8:53 AM on March 8, 2013

Is the shirt 100% cotton? If it is, be aware that the sleeve length of a cheap cotton shirt is quite likely to shrink 1/2" or more after a few washings. The width of the sleeve probably won't change. It would be a shame to pay to have the sleeves shortened, and then have them shrink so that they're too short. So, whatever you do, wash and dry the shirt a few times first.

If it's important to get a really good job, ask the tailor how they will deal with the gauntlet opening (the slit above the cuff). If you move the cuff up without lengthening the opening, it can look weird. This can be a tricky bit of sewing, and might make the job more expensive than you expect.
posted by Corvid at 2:32 PM on March 8, 2013

Armbands could be a simpler alternative - discussed here.
posted by prentiz at 4:11 PM on March 8, 2013

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