Whether you're thrifting and unsure if you should purchase an item, or decluttering Marie Kondo-style and uncertain about what to keep, knowing what's possible in the realm of tailoring is often helpful. You can only alter a garment so much before it ruins the original fit- approximately one size. Here is a general list of what tailors, cobblers, and dressmakers can or cannot do. Bear in mind that a talented tailor is capable of all the tasks in the "can't" list and more, including restyling knitwear, furs, and recutting garments. However, certain alterations are risky and can ruin the drape of a garment. The best tailors will tell you when a modification isn't worthwhile. Ask for samples of their work first, and be specific about what you want. Alterations get more expensive if the garment is embellished, lined, or consists of several layers of fabric. With shoes, dried out materials and overly worn soles are almost impossible to restore affordably. When considering whether to DIY or go to a tailor, consider your sewing skills and the time and resources you can devote to alterations. I can mend and hem most things, but generally don't undertake changing the shape of any garment I really like.
Note: Cobblers cannot shrink shoes, but insoles may be added to fill space.
For a free downloadable version of this post, with a general price guide for tailoring and alterations, click here.
P.S. I wrote an e-book on zero-waste, that I want to turn into a limited-edition, completely biodegradable zine using paper I made and stitched together myself. It still needs to be illustrated, and I'm not sure when I'll be ready to share it with anyone, but is anybody perchance interested in reading a VERY rough first draft of the text only? It's a method designed for busy people that I've tested on a small control group, so I want to make sure it makes sense or that I'm not missing anything. It's only eight pages long. Email me or comment if you'd be interested! EDIT: Thank you SO much! I had more replies than I even hoped for and have all the readers that I need right now, I won't be asking for more at this time. Thank you, thank you!