Our internet friend Amy asks:
I have often seen you advise your readers to find a good seamstress, in order to alter clothes for a flattering fit. This seems to be pretty common advice among fashion gurus. My question: How? My drycleaner’s alterations are good enough for shortening pants, but I have a couple of things that need to be taken in and I think I need someone more specialized. How does one go about finding a good seamstress in one’s area?
Amy asks the excellent question.
The best way to find a great seamstress is word-of-mouth. If you know anyone who has had clothes altered — you might want to send out an email to all your local friends, or post a request on your Facebook page — get recommendations from them.
If your friends prove unhelpful in this regard, there are other ways of finding candidates:
1- Call a local wedding planner and ask for a recommendation. Wedding planners deal with clothing alterations all the time.
2- Check the bulletin boards at your local fabric stores. (This tip came via Plumcake.)
3- Post a request for recommendations on small local listserves, such as for your church or high school alumni group, if they allow “off topic” postings.
4- As a last resort, use the yellow pages or post on Craigslist. Use large, public lists with caution, because the people sending you recommendations might be the seamstresses themselves! This has happened to Francesca, so beware.
Now, let us say that word-of-mouth methods gleaned nothing for you, and you are faced with using a seamstress who does not come recommended by someone you know personally. Here are a few signs the person is talented:
a) She has a large volume of clothing waiting to be picked up
b) Many people are waiting to see her, or it is difficult to get an appointment
c) She owns a chalk spray for marking skirt hems. This is a clue she has a clue.
d) She markets herself not only as a seamstress but also as a dressmaker.
Francesca says: Good luck!