A good outfit can go a long way towards helping you to make a statement by looking your best. Sadly, a baggy and shapeless suit bought off-the-rack won’t help you to do this. Many savvy suit wearers use tailors to fit their clothes to their personal size and style. But how long does it take to tailor a suit?
How long the tailoring process will take, depends on who does the work and the changes needed. Full alterations of an entire suit can take 2-4 weeks at commercial tailors. Simple jobs like hemming the sleeves and pants can take as little as 1-2 days at an independent local tailor.
Even with these estimates, there are a number of factors that affect your wait time. In this article, we’ll discuss the ins and outs of tailoring and what you can expect when you meet your new tailor.
- What Is Tailoring a Suit?
- Where Can I Get My Suit Tailored?
- How Long Does It Take to Tailor a Suit?
- How Quickly Can a Suit Be Tailored?
- How Much Does It Cost to Tailor a Suit?
- Can You Tailor a Suit to Be Bigger?
- How to Find a Suit Tailor Near Me?
- Simple Ways to Tailor a Suit Yourself
- Is Tailoring Worth It?
What Is Tailoring a Suit?
We’ve all had unfortunate shopping trips where you buy new clothes that just don’t fit the way you wanted them to. Clothing companies try to make clothes in standard sizes that fit as many customers as possible. The result of this is clothes that don’t quite fit right for your measurements.
‘Tailoring’ takes already made clothing and adjusts them to your measurements and style preferences. This will usually involve cutting, sewing, or otherwise altering the structure of the garment to produce an overall better fit.
No two tailored garments will be the same, just like no two people have the same overall measurements. There are no standard sizing or one-size-fits-all options when tailoring is involved.
Where Can I Get My Suit Tailored?
Most local seamstresses or general alterations shops will be able to make basic changes to your suit. Be aware that suits made with high-end or custom elements may need to be taken to a more specialized tailoring shop that caters specifically to menswear. But for everyday suits in need of minor alterations, a local, independent shop is always a good choice.
Commercial men’s clothing stores will often offer in-house alterations for the suits they sell. They will be able to take your measurements to help custom fit the suit you’ve just purchased, without requiring you to go to a third-party tailor to make changes. Keep in mind, however, that these services are not free and will come with added costs that vary according to how much work the suit will need.
How Long Does It Take to Tailor a Suit?
Most local, independent tailoring shops can often get your finished suits to you within 2-3 days of dropoff. However, when it comes to commercial stores, you should expect to wait anywhere from 2-4 weeks for your newly purchased suit to arrive and be altered. This time difference is primarily due to the fact that independent shops can focus 100% of their time on alterations, while commercial stores have many other obligations and may be forced to rely on their company’s distribution times for supplies.
With either option, your first visit to a new tailor may be a bit longer of a wait since they will need to take all of your measurements and establish what your preferences are as a client. This process can take some time, and you may be asked to come in for several fittings to check if the alterations match your measurements well.
Remember that the time of year can also impact this process. During peak wedding season or prom season, many tailors will be overwhelmed with suits that need to be altered and they may take longer to fill your request. Busy times may also come with additional fees if you need a fast turnaround, so it may be worth waiting until the rush has died down to take your suit in for alterations.
Additionally, your wait time may be longer if your suit requires materials that are not commonly found or available in your area. Your tailor may have to custom order fabrics, buttons, or any other features of your suit that will have to be shipped before they can be used.
How Quickly Can a Suit Be Tailored?
There’s nothing more exciting than getting to finally wear a new outfit you’ve bought for yourself, so it’s understandable that waiting for tailoring is a frustrating process. Fortunately, many tailoring fixes can take as little as a few hours to several days to finish, as long as you don’t need anything overly complicated. Communicate with your tailor upfront to be sure you get your suit back in the time frame you need.
Locally owned, independent shops may be able to offer quicker turnaround times than commercial stores can. Don’t be afraid to call around to different shops to ask for their wait times and find the one that fits your schedule the best.
How Much Does It Cost to Tailor a Suit?
It can be really frustrating to pay for alterations to a brand-new suit you’ve just purchased, especially when the costs aren’t always clear up front. No matter what, your costs will depend on how much work is needed and who you take it to. Most expenses will run between $40 and $400.
Simple fixes like adding buttons, hemming the sleeves or pants, or fixing a zipper may each cost you less than $20 per service. Fixes to the structure of the suit (especially the jacket) are more expensive. This is particularly true if they involve changing the overall length, replacing the lining, or slimming the jacket all over.
Additionally, suits made with unique or expensive materials may cost more to alter if your tailor has to custom order supplies. Be sure to check with your tailor upfront to see if they will need to order any special materials to finish your alterations.
Finally, remember that where you take your suit for tailoring also affects the cost. Smaller, independent tailoring shops are usually much more affordable than commercial stores and they are definitely cheaper than one offering specialty, high-end services.
Can You Tailor a Suit to Be Bigger?
This answer isn’t always straightforward, since no two suits are identical. A good tailor will be able to easily make your suit 1-2 sizes smaller. But it is much more difficult to make your suit larger than it began if there is no extra fabric to work with on the garment.
Your tailor may be able to lengthen the sleeves or pant legs by letting out the hem. Hems are usually made by folding and sewing the edges of the garment. If this is the case, your tailor may be able to unfold this fabric and add a small amount of extra length to your suit.
Many suit designers will also add 2-3” of extra fabric to the back seam of the waistline, giving you a little bit of wiggle room for making the waist of your pants larger. You can have your tailor check to see if the extra fabric is available on your suit, and if so, you may be able to request the waist be made bigger on your pants.
Beyond this, you’re probably going to be disappointed if your suit needs to be bigger in any other way. It’s not really possible to add fabric where none is already available on the garment. Remember, that it is always safer to purchase a suit that is larger than you need and get it tailored down to your actual size.
How to Find a Suit Tailor Near Me?
Fortunately, we live in an era where the internet is widely available, and finding a tailor is often just a quick online search away. Be sure to specify in your search that you want a tailor in your city or zip code, and your web browser should be able to give you a list of nearby options.
Be sure to talk to friends and family and ask for recommendations. This is one of the best ways to find a local tailor that is reliable and does quality work. Look up the tailor’s online reviews, if available, and see if their other clients are generally satisfied with their alterations.
Don’t be afraid to stop in and meet your tailor face-to-face before you book their services. Ideally, your tailor should be willing to make an appointment with you so that you can fully discuss what you want, and so the tailor can take any measurements they need to do the job well. In-person meetings are also a good time to see if the tailor is generally a pleasant and professional person to work with.
Simple Ways to Tailor a Suit Yourself
Most of the time, tailoring a suit is best left to the professionals. Suits can be complicated pieces of clothing, which can make alterations a challenge to do at home. However, there are a few simple fixes that you can try yourself in a pinch.
Hem the Sleeves and Pant Legs
Hemming sleeves and pant legs are some of the easiest alterations you can do yourself at home. Simply turn the outer edge inwards until the sleeve or pant leg reaches the desired length. A general rule of thumb is that the sleeves should touch the top of your hands when your arms are down by your sides.
If your sleeves or pants are lined, carefully unstitch the lining from the cuffs. Fold the outer edge towards the inside of the garment until you reach the desired length and stitch in place. Finish your hem by pinning and sewing the lining back over the raw edge of the sleeve or pants.
Slim Down the Fit
One of the easiest ways to make your suit fit better is to take away any excess fabric that is making it baggy. It may be easiest to start with the pants, by first trying them on and using pins to mark how far you need to take the garment in. Measure exactly how far inward the seam will need to come, as you’ll use this to mark the new seam location on the inside of the pants.
Turn the pants inside out and unpick the hem at the bottom. Using the measurement you calculated before, mark along the outer edge of the pants where the new seam will go. Sew along this line, then try the pants on again to see how they fit. If they are slimmed to the fit you want, you can cut away any excess fabric that remains along the new seam you created.
You’ll need to re-hem any hems that you have unpicked and potentially bring in the waistline to align with the slimmer fit. You can repeat this process with the jacket sleeves, remembering to remove the lining before you work and reattaching it once you have created the new seam.
Adjust the Waistline
It’s no secret that our waistlines change over time, and many suitmakers have taken this into consideration when designing their products. Check the center seam in the rear of the waist, which often has 2-3 inches of fabric that can be let out to make the waistline bigger.
If you want to make the waistline smaller, you can do the opposite. Gather the excess fabric you want to remove at the center rear of the waistband and measure how much you want to take off. Turn the pants inside out, and take out the stitches holding the inner part of the waistband to the pants.
Locate the original seam, and mark a line parallel to it at the distance you measured in the previous step. Sew along this line, starting from an inch or two down the old seam to ensure that your new seam aligns with the original one. Stitch towards the waistband until you have reached the point where the original seam ended, then fold the inner waistband back over and re-stitch to the pants.
Is Tailoring Worth It?
If you want to make a good impression by wearing a suit that looks like it was custom designed just for you, then tailoring is absolutely worth the time and money you’ll spend on the process. More than that though, tailoring makes it so your suits fit better which will make them last longer overall. Ill-fitting suits can quickly get worn out when worn regularly. Paying for tailoring up front may very well make it so you don’t have to buy new suits as frequently too.
Even then, tailoring can help you take care of your favorite suits without having to run out and replace them right away. A good tailor can often mend worn-out suits or alter them to fit your body as it changes over time. Tailoring will generally be cheaper than purchasing an entirely new garment, especially when it comes to suits.
Tailoring can help you to make a great first impression by having a suit that fits you perfectly. The time it takes to tailor will depend on where you take it and how much work you need to have done. In the end, though, the effort will certainly make an impression on those who see it. Be sure to keep this guide handy and share it with your friends when they ask for advice on finding a tailor of their own!