What to Expect at a Fitting

what to expect at a fitting alterations measuring tape

I have a confession. I hate shopping. I am totally no good at. The problem is, I go out, usually in search of an outfit for a specific event. I look at the color, the style, the stitch quality and then the fit. Most of the time if the color and style don’t appeal to me then think to myself, “I can make that in the color and style that I want.” I then end up wearing one of my old faithful outfits to said event and the outfit gets added to my future sewing list. Now, if style and color pass muster but the stitch quality and the fit leave something to be desired, then assuming the price is right, ring it up! That baby is coming with me! Now if you’re like me, you quickly go into your workshop and get your garment alterations together. But if you’re like majority of the world then you realize that color. Style and an ok fit are not going to cut it. You realize you need a tailor.

Although tailoring seems to be a dying art, it is still a very necessary part of the fashion lexicon. And, while there are some basic services that can be accomplished at the local dry cleaners, by your grandma, or even with a diy video and stitch witchery, there are some garments and services that should be left to your local tailor. We will discuss the criterion for selecting tailoring services vs other garment service options in future blog posts. For now, let’s assume we’re talking about a garment for an event where you must look your best and cannot afford to mess around. Let’s assume you’ve searched Google or checked the pros on Thumbtack.com and decided where you’ll take your garment for service. What’s next? What should you expect at your fitting with your tailor?

Well, before you arrive at your appointment there are a few things to remember.

  1. Please wear clothing that will be easy to change into and out of quickly.

  2. Bring the shoes that you intend to wear the garment particularly if the garment is a long dress/ skirt or pair of trousers.

  3. Bring all the supporting undergarments to the fitting that will be worn with the garment. This is especially important for ladies. Most garments suspend from the shoulders and chest area. Also, the bust is in the front of the body and thereby a focal point. The tailor will custom fit this area according to how the garment drapes the day of the fitting. If you change the undergarments it may change the final appearance of your garments.

  4. Bring clean garments. There’s lots of ironing and steaming involved and this can set in stains. It also makes for a more pleasant pressing experience when the clothes smell fresh,

Once you arrive:

The tailor or their greeter will offer you to a to change clothes. Depending on the garment being altered, they will take your measurements. Next, the tailor will make a visual assessment of what the garment needs and pin or mark the garment accordingly. Don’t worry, these marks are made with water soluble tailors chalk and will cue the tailor what techniques to employ when working on the garment. During the fitting, the tailor may offer additional recommendations.

Now that the tailor has assessed your specific situation, they will now be able to give you a more accurate quote for your alteration. Some customers might experience a bit of sticker shock, but remember this number takes into account the time taken for the fitting, deconstruction and reconstruction of the affected areas come at a cost that will be justified by outcome. Tailored clothing lasts longer because they drape correctly on the body which creates less wear on the fibers. Lastly the greatest benefit I will be your polished svelte appearance. You’ll appear naturally slimmer and taller (even if you only got a hem).  

Turnaround time will depend on how busy the tailor is at the time of surrender. Obviously, simpler items will have a shorter turnaround time than complex services.  

At pickup, your garment will be pressed particularly in the altered areas. You may want to allow time to get a more detailed press at a dry cleaner. If the garment was constructed entirely at the shop, it will usually come pressed and ready to wear. What next? Accessorize and wear your new favorite garment. Happy fashions!

resourcesArisha Green