It’s homework time!! Over the next month I want you to look in your wardrobe and identify all the items of clothing that you would wear more, if only they fit a little better.
I mean those items you can’t bear to throw out because they have sentimental value, or they were expensive or you loved them once but now you’re an entirely different shape because you had 3 kids, or you lost a stone or whatever.
So get those clothes together and then find a tailor. What do I mean by a tailor? I do not mean some gent on Savile Row with a tape measure round his neck and pince-nez. I mean a lovely lady, somewhere near you, who can do alterations. But for the purposes of speed, I’m going to call her a tailor.
I also, by the way, do not mean someone sitting with a sewing machine in a dry cleaning place. You need to be able to go somewhere, change fully and discreetly into the item you want altered and then have the lovely lady pin the item to you while you turn your head this way and that and say “and the sleeve a little shorter here, maybe?”
Ideally this lovely lady should not charge you £100 for doing this.
Anyway to aid you on this quest I am putting out a call to arms to all Spikers who already HAVE one of these lovely ladies – or gents I suppose: please put their names and roughly where they operate in the handy comment box below! Let’s start a sort of directory here.
If you don’t want to put their phone number or email or address here, then that’s fine as long as they can be found in a Google search.
I will start! I take everything to Resurrection Boutique in Archway and it’s changed my life. Their hours are a little wacky, but it’s worth it.
Grace Rowley says
The Pattern on Hackney Road is fab. They’re a vintage clothes shop upstairs but do tailoring too. They rescued a very unflattering bridesmaids dress and turned it into something I would voluntarily wear again, and all for £20. Highly recommend.
I can change your life with a lovely lady called Lucia. Who is Mobile. North London area. And is a whizz genius. ‘Sew’ good at what she does (ahem). Wouldn’t trust my stupidly long trousers from Zara that even my tallest friends would have to shorten with anyone else xx +44 7964 156603
Emma Dawson says
I’ve used Fast Stitch in Richmond (+ branch in Kingston) and they did a great job. Little changing room there too. http://www.fast-stitch.co.uk
Fiona Rolt says
I can’t seem to find how to add to this but there is a wonderful woman in Lois Weedon nr Banbury. South Northants. Jennie Liversedge.
I second Fast Stitch in Richmond! My mother is a dress maker (but she doesn’t do alterations), and Fast Stitch are the only people she recommends for any kind of alterations.
Esther, you are as always, quite right. I lost a surprising amount of weight a decade ago (basically I got back to slim-normal after putting on loads from my first two years in London – there is a well known phenomenon of Aussie girls landing at Heathrow and instantly putting on half a stone. I blame the pints and the post-pints curry). I had to have all my clothes altered by a lovely old Tunisian guy on the Seven Sisters Rd. Total cost for half a wardrobe, about £35! Retired now, sadly.
I’m now down in South East London (I know! Here be dragons!) and for any Spikers down this way, you might like to check out the Facebook group Mummy’s Gin Fund. It’s a sort of mini-Mumsnet for Sarf Londoners and has loads of recommendations for everything and anything, including quality alterations.
I am hanging on to my beautiful vintage dresses, picked up in New York as I just can’t bear to part with them. You have prompted me to action – maybe they could be altered and wearable. Or I’ll just keep them for my daughters 🙂
Yes! What a great idea, to have a directory. Especially for Country Mice who have little choice around them.
In North London and Victoria there is a small chain called SEW who do alternations and I recommend the lady in the Maida Vale branch who is fantastic! (I also know that the other branches to a fab job too!)
3 Clarendon Terrace 72895868
Amazing – my hood! Thanks 🙂
There’s a SEW in Crouch End too which I’ve not used but others rave about.
Amazing, thanks from a fellow Crouch Ender! And thanks Esther, this is a great idea, will get digging around in my wardrobe, have been meaning to do this for ages but oh god the tedium.
yes SO tedious, but so so worth it, I promise
Resurrection Boutique – which Esther recommends – is also easily accessible from Crouch End. It’s just across the “plaza” from Archway tube. My Mum brings clothes from New Zealand to be altered there..
I’m sorry I don’t have one but I thank you for putting this request out there!!
ZIP is a national chain that also do alterations AND have a fitting room
This is brilliant and just what I need. Desperately seeking a tailor in SE London eg Dulwich/Sydenham/Peckham, that kind of thing. Couldn’t see one on the mummy’s gin fund site and have some ebay purchases that are languishing on the floordrobe awaiting transformation.
Loved this morning’s Insta story! Just texted my Mum and she has 3 (THREE!!) of her original 1970s Laura Ashley dresses still in the attic – she’s going to get them out and let me have them. Never would have thought to ask had I not seen your lovely dress this morning, thank you for the inspiration! 😘😍❤️❤️
Louise this is VERY exciting!!! What fun xxx
Stitch in Time in Deal is great for those brave enough to explore East Kent!
Eeek squeak fellow Deal person here, this is great to hear.
Claire AC says
Such a good idea – desperate to find someone in Essex but given I work in London it’s hardly a challenge to head to any of the places mentioned. My wardrobe is well overdue a clear out so this has prompted me to do just that!
Just Sew in Mill Lane, West Hampstead NW6 is very good: 020 7018 7737
Great article! Atelier Colpani in Mayfair is very good. Probably a little more pricey than others suggested, but worth it for the quality (and convenience if you work nearby). They do lots of work for Bond Street boutiques, but I happily take GAP jeans and other high street items there. At 5’1″ it’s my only hope! http://www.colpani.com/
EDINBURGH: Tailor Design on Rodney Street (Broughton St). Amazingly talented owner.
Crawford Tailors on Crawford Street in Marylebone is our local go-to shop. They are great
Debbie Coleman says
A lovely Polish lady called Margaret. The Red Dress Alterations 07901 655133. Very talented and helpful, based in Stow on the Wold.
Thanks Debbie! Great to hear from you xxxx
Carrier pigeon incoming for the West Yorkshire contingent (the horror)!
I live in the People’s Republic of Hebden Bridge – bohemian paradise full of writers, artists, musicians and quirky people, blah blah blah. Finding services can be a bind, in amongst all the artisan shops and inspiring galleries and organic pavement cafés. I have, however, stumbled across the lovely Ginny at Word of Mouth. Primarily owner of an arts and crafts shop she’s a fabulous seamstress and offers an alterations (tailoring, really) service at knockdown prices. I’ve even been along to sewing classes so have altered a few easy things myself – I know!! Details are below:
Anyway, off to feed the pigeons and whippets now.
Keep being you, Esther x
For anyone in Leigh on Sea area (Essex) – Ben Belkaid on Hamlet Court Road is fabulous.
Hello Kate! I grew up in Leigh-on-Sea, now living in the Highlands of Scotland. Just the mention of Hamlet Court Road has made me feel 15 again………lovely, (kind of!)
This IS the holy grail of articles, I’ve been trying to find a ‘local lady tailor’ for months for my growing collection of badly fitting Anthropologie dresses. Thanks!
does anyone have an Anthropologie dress that DOES fit? where roughly do you live?
I haven’t got a recommendation -but watching with interest as I’ve got a couple of nice coats that I bought too big for “maternity” but haven’t been able to part with. DON’T go to the lady who did my wedding dress and left the front hem so long I couldn’t walk in it without tripping and I had to adjust it myself the night before! Also don’t go to me, as that left me traumatised about high pressure sewing situations.
My symapthies! Oh my F****ING wedding dress. I am am still livid about it. We need a nice, cathartic grumble about that one day. Mine was high end national chain, paid (quite a lot) extra for a toile, bloody thing was enormous across the chest, cut the way I had EXPRESSLY asked them not to, and all the ties to bustle the skirt gave way 3.5 seconds into the first dance. Grrrr.
Let it out, Sophie (as they should not have done) Mine was originally big around the chest, a whole size up from what I was to “allow for my underwear” and I had to argue until I was something blue in the face that I wasn’t going to be wearing an armour breastplate underneath it and my own size would do. I won that battle, then she tripped me up. I had specifically sent it back twice because the hem was too long and stood there for ages in the shoes while she pinned it…what was she doing all that time?! Hey?! Anyway, I’m thankfully so over it now as you can see. Peace.
Jersey! The Clothing Maintenance Company on Beresford Street – 01534 759488. Took up an evening dress from Reiss for me and made a belt from the bit they chopped off and another lady in there was having some leather Joseph trousers taken in – so they must be good!!
Unless there’s anyone else lives in the wild and dark North West this won’t be much good but there’s a superb seamstress called Jo at Seams Sew Fabulous on the fylde coast. Also Reads in the Trafford centre in Manchester and Alterations Boutique in the royal exchange in Manchester who completely took apart a leather jacket for me and re made it to fit perfectly.
Sharon Spikers are EVERYWHERE, this recommendation will be useful to someone!! xx
I live in the wild and dark North West, so this recommendation is perfect Sharon, thankyou!!
A South London recommendation – Stitch and Thimble on the High Street in Croydon. https://g.co/kgs/UVKZPT Really good & excellent value.
I go to the brilliant ladies at Aya Couture on Kingston Hill. It’s a bridal shop, but they are brilliant tailors, who transformed my jumpsuit so it fitted perfectly. Also do alterations so much better than the dry cleaners. Worth paying a little more (but I’ve never paid £100!)
Helen Barnett says
Ana Bela’s, Tooting Market, Tooting High Street, SW17 0RH.
Friendly, skilled ladies and reasonably priced.
Esther you are a bloody star!! This is such a brilliant list. I’m rummaging around in my wardrobe as we speak. Perhaps not the cheapest (but they are happy to quote and they have a changing room where you can be measured up) is an independent business in Hampstead – Unique Professional Tailors in Flask Walk NW3. Really know their stuff, and are honest enough to tell you what can’t be done or what will look crap.
Emily (another one!) says
Wendy at the Wendy House in Pewsey for any Wiltshire dwellers. I’m having about 10 pairs of trousers taken in instead of using the hideous eBay and am very hopeful for new life in Vanessa Bruno and Helmut Lang purchases made when I had a proper job! My partner bid on a sewing lesson with an ex-ROH seamstress who lives in the village, He thinks he’s getting curtains. I’m planning to turn a dodgy dress into a skirt!
Oh fab I am the other side of Marlborough and was hoping a Wiltshire name would come up! Thanks!
Emily (another one!) says
Excellent! She lives in Marlborough I think and will come to you to fit!
Stitch to Fit in St Albans. From jeans to formal dresses, the man is a star, and turns things around ridiculously quickly (hours) if you need him to and ask nicely, obvs.
Watching with interest – anyone got a recommendation for Birmingham/Dudley/kidderminster area or might have to resort to said person in dry cleaners that also alters curtains!!! Sigh am missing my former London life!
Original Ginsta says
Representing West Mids here too and watching and waiting….
Katie Westwood says
There’s a lady in Stourbridge called All See Alterations.
Her manner is a little brusque but her work is excellent.
Welcome back to the region’s. It’s not so bad 😊
Katie Westwood says
Arghh auto correct! It’s All Sew Alterations. She’s on Facebook.
Is alterations the same as mending? Does anyone know who will fix the 1in wide worn hole in the shoulder of my Eley Kishimoto tweed coat for cheaper than the nine grand that the Invisible Mending Company in Marylebone will want to do it? Ideally in north London but I’ll travel. I fucking love this coat.
Tania Stronnar (@TaniaStronnar) says
I handily have a friend who is a fantastic seamstress, and we swap sewing for massages (I’m an aromatherapist). She is currently altering a prom dress for my daughter that I bought when my favourite vintage shop closed down 4 years ago and sold everything off cheap. It was a size 10 and I thought she’d grow into it, but it’s still too big so it’s been taken in, the neckline has been completely altered, and ribbon straps attached. So far, the dress cost £30, the ribbon 88p, and I’ll get it dry cleaned before prom. Some of her friends are talking about paying up to £500 for their dresses, so I am feeling very smug, and her back is a little less tight.
Tania Stronnar (@TaniaStronnar) says
I didn’t leave her name because she’s very busy and lives in the back of beyond in Scotland.
eerrrr… okay, well thanks for joining in anyway!
Hello, Victoria/Pimlico area – James on Upper Tachbrook St. Really close to the station. It looks scary but they’re the nicest people and work magic xx
Another fool says
Elegant Stitch on Wimbledon Broadway are great. They reinforced all the hens in some dodgy knock down price leather leggings I got in the Hush sample sale and added 4 inches of silk fabric to a Rixo dress that I also got in the sale but was positively indecent when I bent over – result!
East London (South Woodford) there is a guy with a tiny shop just as you leave the station. He is fab. Called Nu fit u
Sarah Robson says
Hi Esther & fellow Spikers, if you’re SOTR (Battersea in fact or nearby) head to my sewing saviour Moggie st Francis of London, at 10 Lavender Hill, SW11 5RW (just near junction with Queenstown Road). It looks rather unprepossessing but don’t be put off. You can change in there and she’ll pin etc. They’re brilliant, can transform clothes AND can invisibly mend holes (moth, children, dogs, brambles??) in all wool jumpers etc. with some amazing machine. AND all really reasonable and quick. Love them.
further afield…Sveta 0034 670481647 in Estepona ,Spain….alterations and dressmaking..
Hello! I’ve just hooked up with a wonderful lady in Leicester who does exactly this. Her name is Akila Mandhu, She is at http://www.ifyousaysew.co.uk and I am heading her way next week with a huge pile of stuff to be altered and customised.
Caroline Whitamore says
Anyone in the South East (Kent, Canterbury/Folkestone area). I’ve got stacks of stuff needing altering.
Ursula Wacher says
Try STitch in Time in Deal
Please, does anyone know of such a fabulous service in Sydney? (Australia) xxx
Somerset? This place is a desert…I’m still going to London to get my hair done, which is just naff. But otherwise it’s Regional Highlights, and I feel that life has already slipped away too much.
If you’re in Fulham, P&D Tailoring, on the otherwise grotty Rylston Road, was fantastic. A relic from the Little Black Book of my old life…
Any in Guildford area?
Kent/ East Sussex border – La Retoucherie – quite near Tunbridge Wells station on London Road. Good prices for area.
Northumberland – Sew N So near the Market Square at Hexham
CHELTENHAM?? Anyone? Anyone??😘
Dr S says
Quicker Stitch in Darlington are great if anyone is in the north east. As a short arse I need lots of things adjusting and they’ve made me curtains as well.
Exeter Top Tailoring, 88 Queen St, Exeter, upstairs and next to Cafe Nero. I lost weight and so had about half a dozen dresses taken in and up! Brilliant two guys work here, very reasonable and a quick turn around. Also great at shortening jeans ( I am a shortie!)
Helen’s on Portland Road, Hove . She is amazing – can do anything and everything.
Philippa Hutchinson says
The lovely Sophie on Willesden Lane, NW6, works miracles for pennies. 07971 402286.
Bath – Nuray on Broad Street is fantastic and so are any of her lovely staff! She’s so amazing I save things up for her and pop in when I’m visiting my parents… but this is time consuming as I have to wait until I’m next down to collect. There must be someone nearly as good in the Lewisham area??!!
Ooh thank you – I was hoping for a Cirencester recommendation but Bath, though still 40mins from me, is close enough and a great excuse to go!
Anyone in the Far Far West – Lena Gillan in PZ is great. She is creative and likes a challenge but has done some boring stuff like new zips for me. Great thread Esther!
Further to this I’ve just been to Clothes Sense in St Helier (01534 879181) – was recommended by Mr W who has the sleeves of his suit jackets shortened there. Up a tiny staircase above a coffee shop and there were 3 marvellous ladies, changing rooms and mirrors as well as a big selection of haberdashery for sale. They are mending one pair of ripped Salopettes (which is a bugger as there are three layers and they are made of waterproof fabric), taking up some jeans and also shortening some Boden leather jeans for me – all for £32! Oh and they can do it in 48 hours. I’ going to rummage through my wardrobe this weekend and get all sorts of things done.
Emily (another one!) says
I am wearing one pair of newly altered trousers which I had tried without success to sell on ebay for about a year since I lost weight. They are wide legged, high waisted and GREAT! Alteration is definitely the way forward!