or Connect
Styleforum › Forums › Men's Style › Classic Menswear › My tailor’s unique approach to shoulder alterations - genius or fraud?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

My tailor’s unique approach to shoulder alterations - genius or fraud?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Primary Question: So I've been to my new tailor a few times and have been happy with all of the work he's done for me so far (lowered the collar of a jacket, added waist suppression, sleeve length adjustments, pants hemmed, pants waist and seat taken in) and I've always been surprised by how cheap the bill is.

However, the last time I went to visit him, there was a gentleman who had arrived ahead of me and I watched as my tailor adjusted the shoulders on this man's jacket. He simply pinched the fabric together at the seam running down center of the jacket's back and used thread to create a new temporary seam running down the center of the jacket's back. Based on what I saw, I have to assume that he is going to reduce the shoulder width by reducing the amount of fabric across the back with no corresponding adjustment to the front side.

From what I've read here, proper shoulder adjustments involve removing the sleeves, recutting the body of the jacket and then reattaching the sleeves. This is a very tricky operation, a very expensive operation and results vary.

So I'm not sure if my tailors approach is genius or fraud. On the plus side, it greatly simplifies the shoulder alterations making them cheap and easy and allowing the client to see what the finished product will look like before the work is begun. The downside is that there is no corresponding adjustment to the front of the jacket threatening to throw the jacket's front/back balance out of proportion.

Currently I'm thinking that this could be a great solution for shoulder adjustments of one inch or less - I don't think that one inch less across the back would throw the front/back balance noticeably off. However, I don't know much about tailoring and would love to hear what some more knowledgeable individuals think.


Follow Up Question: As my sartorial education progresses, one of the items I struggle with is judging the quality of tailoring. I stick to SF approved brands which are known for their quality construction with my purchases so I can rest assured that I'm getting a top notch product. However when it comes to alterations I don't always know what to look for and, as the question above demonstrates, I'm questioning my current tailor.

I'm located in Philadelphia and while there are some recommendations for local tailors to be found here, I'm not sure that those making the recommendations know what to look for either. I say this not to be dismissive of these members, simply because (1) they are infrequent posters so it's difficult for me to determine whether they know what they're talking about and (2) one of the tailors recommended here is a tailor I previously used but left because I found his attention to detail to be lacking. (Please note: I am aware of the recommendation for Ventresca by Despos and the various recommendations for Centofanti but they are in the suburbs and ideally I'd find a tailor in the city so I don't have to get on a train every time I need to visit my tailor).

How do you judge the quality of a tailor's work?
post #2 of 8
Thank you for the post, I would say +1 for finding a good tailor in downtown/center city Philly. The in-house tailor at the downtown Ralph Lauren store did a very good tailoring to my suit. Unfortunately they only tailor their brand clothing. I later brought a suit to someone else downtown and he didn't do a very good job, yet charged the same prices as the RL tailor. I have the same doubts as you about him. Another idea, if you build up a rapport with Wayne Edwards (1525 Locust St), I'm sure he could let you know his tailor. He sells SF approved labels and I assume his tailor is very good.
post #3 of 8
The tailor is neither fraud or genius. Reducing at the center back seam is legitimate and the shoulder line is narrowed somewhat but I doubt that was was his sole purpose to this. If the shoulder slope is good he is more likely going to shorten the collar, reduce the neck yoke as well as reducing the width across the back. That the shoulder width is narrower is a by product of the work done. If the collar and back of the jacket fit and you want to reduce the shoulder width then the sleeves come off and the shoulder is narrowed.
post #4 of 8
who is your tailor btw? I'm also in center city philly so i'm curious.
post #5 of 8
Regarding your first question on altering suit jacket shoulders; yes, it is an alternative method to decrease the shoulder width but it is limited to such things as balance, how the fabric falls, and other variables mentioned above. While reducing the collar isn't as "drastic" as removing the entire shoulder and reducing that it can be done - about half to a whole inch per side. My tailor here in Toronto did it to two of my Corneilani jackets recently and it is considerably less costly than removing the sleeve to get to the shoulder.
post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
I'm confused. Based on Despos' comments, it sounds like this is not a good solution for a jacket that otherwise fits well but whose shoulders are slightly broad as it brings too many other variables into play (i.e. collar, yoke, etc). However it sounds like Albern has had this done sucessfully. I've got a jacket I'm considering for this type of operation - good idea, bad idea?


Quote:
Originally Posted by beansprouts1 View Post
who is your tailor btw? I'm also in center city philly so i'm curious.

PM'd
post #7 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by tjc4golf View Post
I'm confused. Based on Despos' comments, it sounds like this is not a good solution for a jacket that otherwise fits well but whose shoulders are slightly broad as it brings too many other variables into play (i.e. collar, yoke, etc). However it sounds like Albern has had this done successfully. I've got a jacket I'm considering for this type of operation - good idea, bad idea?
Just reading from Despos' comment, yes it isn't really a good idea to get a shoulder reduction if the collar and back already fit since taking in the back of the jacket would reduce those areas. I don't think he was mentioning the idea of reducing shoulders via the collar was a bad move, its just that it depends on the overall fit of the back and whether you could stand to have that area reduced slightly. As to whether you want to reduce the shoulder via the collar method it really depends on how the jacket currently fits you as well as the desired look you are going for. I've also experienced shoulder reduction from the shoulders and it does work - just be prepared to pay extra for it. With a competent tailor it is very much so possible it all comes down to whether you think the jacket is worth the investment. If I remember correctly I had to take off about 1 inch per side and the only way to do so was at the shoulder. Pics would also help.
post #8 of 8
The alteration you describe is more aimed at taking up excess under the top of the arms and in the back - sometimes you get puckering around the arm-pit / shoulder blade. It is easy to do, and will make a slightly-too-wide-in-the shoulders jacket much more wearable, especially if the two back/side seams are taken in a bit at the waist as well.

Can be quite effective provided the jacket is long enough in the skirt (so it retains some balance and proportion), otherwise you end up with a jacket which is still wide in the shoulders but more fitting everywhere else. I get this done to quite a few thift jackets if they are a size or so too big. If the sleeve head hangs over the end of your shoulder such that the shoulder line of the jacket "sags" then the jacket is too big to be worth altering imo.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Classic Menswear
Styleforum › Forums › Men's Style › Classic Menswear › My tailor’s unique approach to shoulder alterations - genius or fraud?