Fixin’ other people’s work

Has someone ever brought you a garment that had been worked on by some “famous” seamstress/tailor and it was badly done? Well in my part of the world this seems to happen to me quite regularly and today is just another day like that.

A good friend of mine, who also gives me great facials, took her brand new True Religion brand jeans to a much hyped/overpriced tailor in her town and he shortened her jeans way too short and left no hem to let down. She was devastated as these jeans are equally overpriced and now all she could do was open the tiny hem and let the edges be raw and unravel…great.

She asked me if there was anything that could be done so I offered to try.

Since the jeans have twisted (on purpose) side and inside leg seams the cut edge is not exactly perfectly straight on grain so if I wanted to add a strip to form a false hem it needed to be somewhat on bias (diagonal stretch for non-sewers). I keep a piece of black cotton twill handy for all sorts of things and I cut a strip the circumference of the pants hem. Then with less than a 1/4 inch seam, I pinned the strip to the right side and stitched.

In this photo I want to share with you something odd. Every where that True Religion wanted a seam to be flat against the pantleg there was a huge wad of glue. Now normally the wearer would not know it was there and it serves a purpose but for the alteration person it can be a nightmare/problem jack-hammering/driving a needle through this sort of mess. I pictured a huge factory with rows of sewing machines and then one person at the end of the line with a hot glue gun attaching seams before the final hemming. This glue is not the fancy lady-like glue that say someone like Martha Pullen uses to make lace fancy bands and lace shaping for heirloom projects…oh no…it’s the kind you used to help your kid make a science project the night before it was due in class.

But anyway, back to the hem…Next the new bias strip was under-stitched to form a nice crisp, firm edge.

Then the strips was flipped to the wrong side, folded and pinned and stitched all around.

The finished edge looked pretty nice and will wear well and no one will know what it was supposed to look like originally.
One final observation about poor workmanship: It seems to me that the more “famous” or infamous a shop owner is really relies on the finished work and reviews that he or she gets on say Google maps or DEX on-line yellow pages. If you want to know what the heck you are getting yourself in for…check those reviews. Some folks have genuine gripes for a REASON!

Brides come to me in tears just days before the wedding with half finished dresses from other shops in the area. Rich retired ladies bring in too short wool trousers altered badly and poorly dry cleaned for me to let down the remaining hems.

Here is a sample from yesterday:

These are a pair of Pendleton light blue wool lined pants that were hemmed 1.5 inches too short and cleaned. It is obvious that the dry cleaners could not manage the correct leg length or clean the hem edge either and yet the client paid for this service.

Should she complain, should she take her pants back and demand better service? YES! But few do this for fear of upsetting the establishment but I see these every week. Besides the dirt and short hem, the edges were over-locked with white top thread and gold under thread and then run through a blind-hemming machine using white thread.YUCK!

Sadly many companies and independent contractors think they can get away with this but if this happens to you…check out Google maps and DEX type yellow pages online and leave your comments for others who may be thinking of leaving their precious items for repair. The reason I know this works is this morning a lady called to say she found me on Google maps and read my reviews and said she knew I was the one for her. We all have the power to make a difference!

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1 Response to Fixin’ other people’s work

  1. Alethia says:

    Great post!
    I friend shared your post with~ she said you MUST read this article. She and I are both dressmkers and alterations specialist. We see this all the time. Not that you need me to validate you, but everything you’re saying is sooo true.
    I always tell potential clients, which are referred, ” if you don’t utilize my services, amke sure you see their work….”
    Again, thanks for a great article!

    Sew Much Talent

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