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There are 5 main types of clothes alteration services, which one is right for you? In this article, we will look at the pros and cons of each type of service. By the end, you will know which service is the best fit for you in different scenarios. The types of alteration services we will look at are:

  1. In-Person Tailor Shop
  2. Tailoring in Retail Stores
  3. Dry Cleaners
  4. A friend or family member
  5. Online tailoring

1: The In-Person Tailor Shop

Going to an in-person tailoring shop has many advantages and a couple of disadvantages. First, let’s talk about some of the reasons it’s a good idea to go to an in-person shop. 

PROS: A tailoring shop has an experienced tailor or seamstress who has advanced skills and knowledge. This makes them a great choice if you have a very expensive garment; an item with lace, beadwork, or sequins in the area of alterations; and complicated alterations such as taking in the shoulders (not recommended, but not impossible.) A tailoring shop like Tad More Tailoring can provide a customer experience that makes you feel pampered while making sure your clothes will fit your body exactly right.

CONS: Not every town has a skilled tailor shop. Especially in rural communities, finding a skilled tailor could prove to be difficult. Additionally, you may find it inconvenient to get to a tailor shop during their store hours. 

SUMMARY: If you have a garment that is highly detailed or want to feel pampered by treating yourself to a customized fitting, an in-person tailor shop is probably the best option for you.

2: Tailoring Offered in Retail Stores

Some higher-end retail stores offer in-house tailoring for items you have just purchased from them.

PROS: Often, you are able to purchase an item and take care of having it marked for alterations in just one trip. This saves you time. Be sure to check recent reviews to know that you will receive quality workmanship.

CONS: Most stores will only do alterations on clothing purchased through them. Clothes that you purchase online, from your favorite thrift stores, or clothes that once fit you but now need alterations will not be able to be worked on here.

SUMMARY: If you are purchasing a new suit or formal dress at a retail store and need tailoring without making extra errands, this may be an option for you if it is available at the store.

3: Dry Cleaners

Many dry cleaners offer clothing alteration services and clothing repairs.

PROS: Dry cleaners can be found in most communities. Quick alterations like pants hems, shirt sleeve shortening, pocket repairs, and zipper or button replacements are ideal for this type of service. Quick turn-around times and combining two needs in one stop are convenient.

CONS: Not every dry cleaner does their alterations in-house. Many subcontract the alterations to home-based sewists. This opens the potential for getting lost, exposed to pet dander, cigarette smoke, or other allergens. If the sewist becomes ill, there could be unexpected delays. Also, because you are not working directly with the person who will alter your clothes, you are dependent on someone else to communicate what you need to have done, which can be a problem for more specialized alterations.

SUMMARY: For quick alterations like pants hems and button replacements on items that you are already having cleaned, dry cleaners are quick and convenient. Folks with allergies or other sensitivities or those with specialized alterations needs should ask about who is doing the alterations before going this route.

4: A Friend or Family Member

It may be tempting to ask Aunt Carol to do your suit alterations, she sews you a new Christmas stocking every year! Make sure you’ve seen an example of something similar to your needs before you make the ask and set yourself up for an awkward situation.

PROS: A friend or family member may offer to do your clothes alterations for free and you can visit with them at the same time you bring them your clothes. Their schedule may also be more flexible for last-minute requests.

CONS: There are actually many potential problems with asking a friend or family member to do your alterations. Your clothing may be exposed to pet dander, cigarette smoke, allergens, or food/drink stains. Also, not everyone who thinks they can sew actually has the right skillset for many clothing alterations. A person who makes quilts can definitely sew, but may not have any knowledge of clothing construction. If the alterations are not done well it could lead to hard feelings on both sides. Finally, because you are probably not paying for their time, getting your suit pant legs tapered and hemmed will be done on their time schedule, not always yours. These are just a few of the ways this situation can go wrong.

SUMMARY: Asking a friend or family member to do your clothing alterations is risky business and shouldn’t be your first choice unless there are no other options.

5: Online Tailoring

Online tailoring is a newer option that could save you a lot of time. There aren’t many places that offer this extremely convenient option, but Tad More Tailoring does. Since you can ship your items from wherever you are in the US, their location and store hours aren’t as relevant.

PROS: Online tailoring services like Tad More Tailoring have a great website that walks you through the simple process of communicating your needs and shipping your clothing. They use the US Post Office, so your mail carrier takes the package when he delivers your mail, and brings it back to you soon thereafter. You get the benefits of skilled workmanship, a clean professional atmosphere, and a quick turn-around time.

CONS: Although Tad More’s turn-around time is 1 business day after your package arrives, there is still shipping time involved so this is not the best option if you suddenly remember on Wednesday that you need your jacket sleeves shortened for Friday night’s event.

SUMMARY: As long as you have time for the shipping process, online tailoring offers high-quality clothes alterations to you anywhere in the United States, on your schedule. 


So, there you have it! Each of the five ways has positive and negative aspects, but overall, in-person or online tailoring offers the most professional workmanship. Online tailoring makes having a tailored wardrobe accessible to everyone, even if you live in the middle of nowhere! 

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