Spring is here, which means it’s time to swap out your wardrobe and don some lighter clothes. If your man’s physique changed at all over winter, your first thought might include buying new outfits.
If you want to save money, however, you can help him tailor his clothes instead. Here are a few tips that will help you hem and sew his favorite fits yourself — or find a tailor who can.
Learn the Basics
One of the best ways to save money and make sure your man looks like a model is to make alterations yourself. Learn a few basic sewing skills like how to choose the right needle, thread a sewing machine and sew a straight stitch.
Use patterns and practice hand sewing zippers, buttons and small seams on scrap materials before moving onto your man’s brand name clothing.
Invest In a Machine
Once you get the hang of hand sewing different patterns and stitches, it’s time to invest in a sewing machine. Determine which features are most important to you based on what types of alterations you plan on tackling.
Then, choose a beginner machine that will advance with you as you take on more challenging projects. While purchasing a machine may seem like an expensive option, it’s much more affordable than taking all of your man’s clothes to the tailor.
Whether you’re hemming pants or altering a dress shirt, taking your man’s measurements before you begin is key to tailoring the perfect fit. Use a tape measure to take his chest, neck, bicep, wrist, stomach, hip, thigh and waistline circumference measurements.
Then measure his shoulder width, arm and back length and inseam. Let these numbers be your guide as you alter each item in his wardrobe.
Test Before You Cut
Once you cut your man’s pants, shirt or suit, there’s no going back. To avoid ruining his clothes, pin the area you plan to cut and sew. Then, have him try on the garment and make sure everything fits properly.
Adjust the hem or seam accordingly before making any permanent or irreversible changes.
Tailor Dress Shirts
Do your man’s dress shirts fit him well? If they’re a bit too big, you can take in the collar until you can fit two fingers between his neck and the fabric.
Adjust the sleeves and shoulder points so they sit perfectly at the edge of his shoulders. You can also alter the sides of his shirt so it’s less baggy and tucks in without billowing.
Size Leather Jackets
If you want to tailor your man’s too-big leather jacket and he typically wears layers underneath, make sure to take measurements with the layers on.
Then, you can pin the jacket or mark where you’ll take it in. Are the sleeves too long? Hem them at the bottom of the wrist. If the font length is too long, you can hem it at the hip.
Does your guy have an affinity for vests? Congratulations! You don’t have to worry about sleeve alterations. Just measure the chest and waist circumference, the front and back length and shoulder width to make all necessary adjustments.
Typically, there are more ways to tailor pants than there are to alter vests, shirts and jackets combined. Complete simple alterations on the inseam, waist, seat, crotch, tapered legs, hips, zipper and hook and eye yourself. You can also make new belt loops and swing creases if you have an hour or two on your hands. Otherwise, you’d be better off taking them to a professional.
Shorten and Take In
Hemming and taking in your man’s clothes may seem a bit challenging, but they’re the easiest alterations you can make as a beginner. On the other hand, if you need to lengthen or let out a garment, you may need the help of a professional.
In most cases, there’s little extra fabric to work with, but a tailor may be able to work some magic from their years of experience.
Find a Reputable Tailor
If you find that you do need a tailor, it’s imperative that you hire a good one. Seek recommendations from friends and family, call potential tailors and make an appointment with one or two to ask more questions.
If they communicate well and have received good reviews, there’s a safe bet they’re a decent threader.
When Alterations Aren’t an Option
Sometimes, it’s impossible to tailor a piece of clothing so that it looks right on your man. Maybe they gained too much weight, tore their shirt too badly or burnt the bottom of their pant leg.
Either way, his clothes are unfixable or simply not worth the time, effort and money it’ll require to alter them. Sounds like it’s time to hit the mall and pick out some new pieces. He needed a wardrobe update anyway, right?