They make sound so easy on What Not to Wear!
January 17, 2008 6:58 PM   Subscribe

I think I need a seamstress or seamster, but I am not sure how to find one.

I am looking for a talented sewer to seriously alter a jacket that I own, and also to re-create a skirt out of fabric that I will provide. I think these jobs will require more than what the tailors at the dry-cleaners and local men's stores are willing to do.

I tried searching for seamstresses and seamsters in my area (Oakland County, Michigan) on ReferenceUSA and also on Google, but I am not getting very promising results.

Does anyone have any advice on how I might locate a seamstress or seamster? And how to find a talented one? Also, any idea about the cost of these projects? I looked over some previous Ask MeFi questions on seamstresses, and the answers all seem to say that the price will be something like twice the price of what you would pay for the item at the store, but I own $40 skirts, and I own $100 skirts... Does anyone have a dollar price that they have paid for similar work in the past?
posted by waywardgirl to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (7 answers total)
Sometimes fabric stores have a list of local tailors/seamstresses. Have you checked at fabric stores in your area? To assess talent, I guess you could ask for references from previous customers.
posted by Quietgal at 7:05 PM on January 17, 2008

A good tailor should be able to alter your jacket. That's what they do. Tailoring a jacket has many steps and is a skill in its own right. Not every seamstress can make or tailor a jacket.

The price depends on how much work is needed.

The price on the skirt you want recreated depends on how complicated the skirt is. Things like ruffles or pleats will be more time consuming than a simple straight skirt. The price will reflect the labor involved.

For the skirt, I would look for people in your area that create and alter bridal wear. Most of the time these people are talented and skilled in dressmaking.
posted by LoriFLA at 7:32 PM on January 17, 2008

I have had decent luck, after moves to new cities, going into a nicer sort of clothing store -- somewhere you'd be able to buy a decent women's suit -- and asking there for a referral.
posted by kmennie at 7:40 PM on January 17, 2008

These are good suggestions, thank you.

Also, if it helps with the price estimates, the skirt is super-plain. I could probably do it myself if I knew how to use the zipper foot on my sewing machine. It is basically just two pieces of fabric sewn together with a zipper for ease of on/off.

The jacket is more complex. It is a trapeze-style jacket that I would like to have taken in and turned into a fitted jacket.
posted by waywardgirl at 7:46 PM on January 17, 2008

What are the sleeves/shoulders like on the jacket? That's a tricky spot, and will require more skill and time to remake. If they're perfectly fitted and the trapeze part is strictly from the armpit down, less of a problem, but if they're more of a dolman type sleeve as trapeze styles often are, that would be harder.

Look at high-end drycleaners, they often are associated with tailors or have one on staff. And second the recommendation to look for someone who makes bridal wear.
posted by padraigin at 9:37 PM on January 17, 2008

Maybe try at little mom and pop fabric stores - they will know where to find the ladies who are in the local sewing/knitting circles. (I say circles because you know what little old ladies are like when they get offended... Start gang wars over a tea cake.)

Anyway you should be able to find someone that sews competantly and it will cost you much much less. You may even be able to work out a deal and pay 'in kind.'
Or decide how much you want to pay and place an ad in local classifieds.

'knew how to use the zipper foot' ...?? Is it narrow? That's so the teeth of the zip don't get under it (rendering its function basically useless). But if you were to sew the skirt yourself, just getting a zip put in would be cheaper.

You should get one of those little old ladies to teach you how to sew? Once you get started you'll notice about 90% of your wardrobe could actually fit you better...
posted by mu~ha~ha~ha~har at 10:08 AM on January 18, 2008

I could probably do it myself if I knew how to use the zipper foot on my sewing machine.

Maybe it's time to learn how to use that zipper foot. Certainly cheaper to do this yourself, possibly faster than going somewhere else to get it done.
posted by yohko at 12:19 PM on January 18, 2008

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