Achieving a Well-Fitted Wardrobe: What To Look For In a Seamstress

The key to owning your style and feeling fabulous!

I’m going to share one of my not-so-dirty little secrets with you – my ‘best friend’ is my seamstress… Ok, I know what you’re thinking, surely not… Well, yeah. We’ve been working together for over 20 years!

Achieving a well-fitted wardrobe has always been one of my goals. Honestly, I’m obsessed with having my clothes fit AND adding my own twist to something I bought off the rack.

Well, maybe not quite obsessed… But it’s a huge style habit for me. So yes, I’ve got my seamstress on speed dial and have a very special relationship with her 🙂

My favorite thing about working with my seamstress is…

Creating one-of-a-kind pieces for my wardrobe! I cannot tell you how much I love making things my own. It really empowers me.

Whether I’m going out with my girlfriends, having dinner with my husband, or attending an event – it doesn’t matter. Any time I wear something that has been tailor-made for me and has some bespoke details that you wouldn’t find off-the-shelf, I feel amazing.

And when I feel amazing, I carry myself with confidence.
Working with my seamstress is fun and engages my creativity. But best of all, it makes my wardrobe unique and special.

Why wearing well-fitting clothes is so important

My style is timeless, which means classic cuts and elegant shapes. If they don’t sit properly on my body, the look just doesn’t come off.

It’s crucial to remember that off-the-rack clothes haven’t been made with each of us in mind… the designs are generalized. And we, are all unique. Of course, we typically hope that an item of clothing we are drawn to would fit us like a glove – wouldn’t that be something. And sometimes we get lucky. But realistically, mass-produced clothing is often going to fall short of a perfect fit.

By the way, this doesn’t mean that you should leave something you truly love on the hanger if it’s not quite right on your body. It may just need a few clothing alterations. Hem shortened, waist adjusted, darts removed… and voila, it looks as though it were meant for you. When we go shopping, and something is ill-fitting, we need to be certain that we are happy to spend the extra money on getting it altered.
Creating bespoke clothing and tailoring pre-made garments is a technical skill and therefore comes with a price tag.

I can honestly say that this, to me, is money well spent. So, what should we tailor? Should it be only eveningwear, formal dress, and garments for special occasions? And how do we find a seamstress that has the potential to become our best friend?

What items should you bother getting tailored?

It’s common to think solely about eveningwear, special occasion outfits, or work suits as the only clothing to spend money on altering. But I would argue this every time.

Of course, all these things are on the list… However, the list is endless really. Personally, I’ll get anything, and everything tailored to fit and look exactly how I want it. I would never choose not to buy something that has the potential to match my taste perfectly. Just because I don’t like the sleeves, the collar doesn’t suit me, or the length is off – doesn’t mean it’s an immediate “no”.

If there’s a lot you love about a piece, you simply need to look at the bit you don’t like and consider whether they can be improved. I know what you’re thinking… that’s easy for a designer to figure out.

Yes, it probably is. But, if you find a seamstress and have a conversation about the kind of alterations that can be made, you can start to build an understanding for when you are clothes shopping… Better yet, keep the receipt and take it to her, if it’s not possible, return it.

What to look for in a seamstress

Finding the perfect fit in a seamstress is as important as getting the perfect fit for your clothes. I’ve made a handy checklist below for things to consider when looking for, and approaching a clothing alterations expert:
Remember, they are not mind-readers, nor magicians! (Though sometimes I swear they work miracles.)
Be clear and honest with them. Though they are experts, you need to be sure about what you want, and it’s not their fault if you changed your mind after agreeing with the alterations.

The more you work with them the better they will get to know what you like/dislike. Before I move on, let me acknowledge that all-important question about cost.

Things that impact pricing include:

  • Type of fabric and amount they are working with
  • Time required to measure, prepare and do the work
  • Skill required to achieve the look you are after
  • Whether you want a redesign over alteration 
  • What the local rates are, expect them to be competitive

What to look for in a seamstress

This is the all-important question. Start speaking to the women around you, if you notice how well their clothes seem to fit, ask them, “Do you have a seamstress?”.

When you are out and about keep your eyes peeled, ask in clothing or department stores – often they will have seamstresses that work both inside and outside of them… Have you ever looked down the road? You might find a seamstress a stone’s throw away!

And of course, you can go online. Do a Google search, join some Facebook groups or forums, and put some feelers out there… Don’t be shy – make it known you want to make your wardrobe one-of-a-kind and fabulous. Once you have some suggestions to review, make sure to go back to the checklist I mentioned above.

Good luck! I hope you are soon on your way to a well-fitted wardrobe.

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   About me  

I founded Heidi Carey in 2016 with a simple goal: To create beautiful, timeless accessories for my friends and their friends. I understood who they were at their core, and what types of things we all were looking for as we all moved along in our lives. It’s why my pieces are conceived for the woman who values both elegance and understatement; versatility and superb value.