There can be many drawbacks when you don't find an expert tailor or seamstress to properly alter your clothes. Knowing what a seamstress or tailor can or cannot do can help you save time and money.
Here are a few tips for choosing a seamstress or tailor:
Understand the difference between seamstress and tailor. According to "Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary," a seamstress is a "woman whose occupation is sewing," (a male is referred to as a seamster). A tailor is "a person whose occupation is making or altering outer garments." Seamstresses/seamsters usually work with the fabrics, seams and hemlines. Tailors generally make and alter custom-fit garments.
How long have they been in business for? You want to choose a business that is established with a large client base. Also, the more experience a seamstress or tailor has, the easier the communication will be and more than likely the quicker you can get your garments returned.
Ask around. Word of mouth is the best referral for a business. Ask friends, family and coworkers for a place they use. Also, check out customer reviews online in addition to visiting their website for possible testimonials and examples of completed work.
Understand more than one fitting may be required. If you're thinking about a major alteration such as taking in or letting out seams and moving buttons overs, an expert seamstress may need multiple fittings to ensure a perfect fit. It is also important to visit a seamstress/tailor at least 4 weeks before you need the garment.
Ask for pricing. If the business does not have base prices for repairs and alterations, they may not have a fair pricing system. An established company should have a range of prices for specific articles of clothing and the material it is made of.
Ask tough questions about the fabric. An expert seamstress or tailor will know specifics of a fabric and what is or is not feasible.
They should have innovative solutions. Not every garment has a "one size fits all" solution and they should recognize this. They should offer unique solutions for men's, women's and even children's clothing.
Communication is extremely important. Make sure you are very clear with your wants and needs for your clothing. An expert seamstress or tailor should ask you specific questions and be making adjustments while you are with them.