Monday, January 30, 2012

The Worth of a Seamstress: Alterations

I'm always happy when my sewing skills manage to earn a bit of money for me. Today some family friends of ours came over and hired me to hem some jeans. It was a reasonably simple task, but one that requires just enough skill and confidence that most people don't like attempting it.

I don't mind. At $10 a pair I'm quite happy to hem up jeans, especially right now when I'm in the early stages of business planning and general ill health keeps me from going out and getting a 9-5 job of any sort. Sewing, however, I can generally manage.

Also this year I've perfected my method of altering men's shirts. I've got a relative with fairly particular requirements in shirt fit, so I've had plenty of practice. This Christmas I finally got tasked with altering fairly nice dress shirts. Best compliment? When my mother told me they looked very professional (and believe it or not, my mum is one of my harsher critics, especially when it comes to sewing). Anyhow, again, for $10 a shirt that requires some specialized knowledge to get a good fit, I'm quite happy to earn a bit of cash this way.

This work has also encouraged me to look at my own wardrobe and fix up a few of my own pieces. Mass production has made properly fitting garments a privilege of the elite, and most things I buy within my budget do not fit me quite as well as they could. In the past I've been too nervous to correct this, but my alterations work for others has encouraged me to venture out and correct some of these fashion problems.

I by far prefer design and costume work, but right now I'm really just happy to get any $ I can. Thankfully there is still a place in the world for a woman with sewing skills!


  1. Speaking of hemming jeans, I desperately need to hem my own. Any tips?

  2. Hemming jeans is really just like hemming any other pants. Make sure the new hem is the same depth as the previous one and have someone else measure them while you're wearing them before you cut. Match the thread used on the topstitching on the rest of the jeans. A normal sewing machine won't do the thicker thread they use for a lot of jeans, so just sew the seam twice so it visually matches and has the same strength.

    Hope that makes sense! Let me know if you have any further questions! :)

  3. Ive sewn for others for decades & find fewer & fewer people who know how to do anything with a needle & thread!
    I love all sorts of jobs, so haven't limited my area of interest as yet. One job I don't do........replace zippers in jeans! Hate that I just don't do it!
    The new buzz in my area is a Euro Hem for designer jeans. Shortening them, but using the manufacturers hem. I charge more than double for this type of hem, but still WAY less than the local department stores.

    Love your blog! Reading about sewing is almost as fun as sewing! :)

    1. Just out of curiosity, can a Euro Hem only be done on straight leg jeans? What if the pant leg flares out or decreases in width down the length?


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