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ALTERATIONS Tailor in SAN FRANCISCO

Aquafortis

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Based on this thread (and others - sadly, search seems to be turning up a lot of retired tailors in SF), I took a jacket to Andreas Gorges the weekend after Thanksgiving. I didn't need it by a particular date, since it was a test for him to see how well I liked his work. It's now January and I have no idea when I might get my jacket back...

I called Tailors Keep. They no longer do alterations on clothes they didn't make for you, but highly recommended Martinez Tailors, who is upstairs in their building. (Martinez has an address on Columbus, and Tailors Keep is on Washington, but the building is on one of the weird triangle corners.) I think he's done some work for them in the past, though it's not clear if he worked there or they just used him to do some of their alterations.

My job for him was very straightforward and not a great test of skill: I needed to add about half an inch to the sleeves on a jacket that otherwise fit pretty well, though he let the sides out a bit, too, and I had some regular-workday wear wool slacks hemmed. His prices were basically in the same ballpark as Gorges.
Sorry to hear about the experience with Andreas Gorges. Last I took something to him was probably last summer. The shop had weathered through the first 18 months of Covid, but his son, who had been apprenticing and working in the shop for several years previous, was no longer there. Andreas was back to a one-man operation, and had scaled down to more limited hours. Still seemed busy enough and my relatively simple alteration for a shirt was done when promised.

Have you tried calling the shop and simply asking Andreas the status of your jacket alteration?
 

stuffedsuperdud

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I called Tailors Keep. They no longer do alterations on clothes they didn't make for you, but highly recommended Martinez Tailors, who is upstairs in their building. (Martinez has an address on Columbus, and Tailors Keep is on Washington, but the building is on one of the weird triangle corners.) I think he's done some work for them in the past, though it's not clear if he worked there or they just used him to do some of their alterations.
I've been in the Bay Area for almost a year now and can no longer imagine taking my stuff to anyone other than Jonathan Martinez. Jonathan is very easy to talk to and accommodating of all our SF nitpicks, and on the technical side, is a true bespoke tailor who seems to work exclusively on tailored menswear and has a great eye for how a small adjustment affects a garment's overall drape and silhouette. I've given him a few complicated jacket jobs now, all of which I had been about to give up on, and he has made them all work for me.

I don't know his exact relationship with Tailors' Keep downstairs but it seems like he has always been the one doing their outside alterations anyway, so it's just a matter of you now going directly upstairs to him. His shop is stuffed with nearly finished Tailors' Keep garments, and he told me that he takes his bespoke orders through Ryan, so they're definitely working closely together.
 

PilotStyle

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Have you tried calling the shop and simply asking Andreas the status of your jacket alteration?
Yes, multiple times. It was promised in two weeks, and then a week, and then another week. I haven't checked in on it in the new year, but I should be doing so.

Given all the recommended tailors I found with a search that are retired from tailor (or sadly, life), I can see why they might be backed up with work.
 

PilotStyle

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I've been in the Bay Area for almost a year now and can no longer imagine taking my stuff to anyone other than Jonathan Martinez. Jonathan is very easy to talk to and accommodating of all our SF nitpicks, and on the technical side, is a true bespoke tailor who seems to work exclusively on tailored menswear and has a great eye for how a small adjustment affects a garment's overall drape and silhouette.
I gave him a very simple job to start with - I thought I needed to add 3/4"-1" to the sleeves of a jacket, and he said "oh, you need to let out the sides, too." I'm not sure why, but I could tell how much better the jacket felt when I put it on. It's like it wasn't restricting movement of my shoulder blades any more, but I'm not sure how I'd describe it really well. He did comment positively on the jacket's quality, and pointed out several of the details about how well it was made. (It's an Oxxford, and I know their construction quality is well-loved here on SF even if the style is never cutting-edge.)

I've given him a few complicated jacket jobs now, all of which I had been about to give up on, and he has made them all work for me.
Can you tell me what kinds of things you've had him do that you consider complicated, and why you think they worked out? I started with a simple job, just to understand what he was like to work with, but I also will freely admit that I have no ability to tell a good tailor from a bad one (yet).

My short-term tailoring goal is to find somebody I trust with my new tuxedo. I found a Brioni tux in my size for less than the cost of a rental, and the jacket is OK but the pants are not at all my shape. I know they can be fixed, but I want to be picky about who I take it to so I only have to have the work done once!

I don't know his exact relationship with Tailors' Keep downstairs but it seems like he has always been the one doing their outside alterations anyway, so it's just a matter of you now going directly upstairs to him.
It seems like in the archives there's a lot of love for Tailors' Keep - was Jonathan doing all the work that people raved about in my search results? It certainly seems possible, in which case he really needs to be better known!
 

stuffedsuperdud

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One was a jacket that fit awkwardly in the chest and midsection: a tailor could get one part right but it would screw up the other. I went back and forth on this for a few years and had just been wearing it knowing that it didn't look or feel quite right. Decided on a whim to show it to Jonathan the first time I went to his shop. He took a look and went, "Mmm yea no problem." It was a bit jarring at first because he didn't actually mark things up, whereas I was used to my old tailor prodding me with a ruler while squinting at the millimeter marks but he must know what he's doing, because I got it back a few days later and it looks and feels great.

For my next one, this one was a doozy. The jacket was a bespoke job that didn't end well, and I was left with a very expensive dead weight in my closet. For this one, Jonathan recut the shoulders, adjusted all the side seams, and played around with the vent length. Looks and feels much better.

It seems like in the archives there's a lot of love for Tailors' Keep - was Jonathan doing all the work that people raved about in my search results? It certainly seems possible, in which case he really needs to be better known!
I think most of the Tailors' Keep's work is MTM, not bespoke, but he does seem to be the guy who dials in all their MTMs; the shop is full of nearly-done Tailors' Keep stuff and every time I've been there there, one of the staff from downstairs has run in to drop something off or collect a finished item. I think we can all agree the results look really nice. The bespoke stuff is all him though and I'm super jelly of anyone who has a suit he made. Fun anecdote: I put 2 and 2 together one day when, while waiting for him to fill out my bill, I looked up and saw a paper trouser pattern hanging on the wall that said "Zottolo" on it, and was like "Oooooh! So this is the place!"

So I guess a nice bonus is if you want to be a creeper you can go there and find out the exact dimensions of @UrbanComposition 's backside. For science or something.
 

UrbanComposition

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Yes that last commission was really something. Johnathan did a ton of handwork and the suit fits flawlessly. Plus that Mersolair tailors really well.
 

soccerman

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Hi everyone,

I would like to add my own experience with Johnathan Martinez.

I have a bespoke suit made by Ricky @dreambespoke in Hongkong in 2018, and the arm holes were cut too low (too large), it's absolutely Not Ricky's fault, I was working out very aggressively and gaining weight fast at that time, so I asked Ricky to cut the arm holes a bit larger to accommodate my future weight gain ( I admit this was a bad idea, I should have let me make the suit based my body shape at that time, no future considerations). Low armholes is so bad, it's very hard to raise my arm to perpendicular to my body, can't drive with low armholes, if I do so, the whole suit will "explode". The whole thing took 5 weeks to finish, this was my first bespoke suit, I didn't realize the armhole could cause that many problems.

I moved to Bay area recently and was looking for someone who could make the armhole smaller (I didn't do a lot research, I thought this was doable with moderate difficulty).

From this thread, and another one, I thought Martinez's tailor is probably the most competent tailor I can get in Bay area.
I took the suit to Johnathan last Friday. I told him that the waist area, butt, and back need to be loosen a little for the gain I had.

Then I asked him my biggest concern, the low armholes, he said he can take in some materials from the shoulder, and that can make the armholes smaller.

I immediately had the doubt, I asked him if this kind of work will shorten the jacket and affect the balance of the jacket, he told me no, he will only work on the shoulder area, it wouldn't affect the length and balance, it just didn't make sense to me, so I asked him again to confirm, he said the same thing. I thought, well he makes suits every day, if he's that confident, why not just trust him? So I dropped my suit there for all the alternations I mentioned above.

When I got back home, the armhole's issue still bothered me, it just didn't make sense to NOT have the jacket length changed if he takes material into the shoulder seam as the sketch I have below.

1643769159413.png




On Saturday, I did some more research online
Here's the results I found
1643769503516.png




I have also talked about this with some bespoke tailors I know, they basically have the similar opinions as the one above.
The best way to do it is to disassemble the whole jacket and add material to the armhole area, they said it is time consuming and it will take more time than making a new jacket.

However, What Mr. Martinez suggested will raise the jacket, change the lapel position, collar position, maybe balance as well, it will shorten the jacket.

So I went back on Monday to ask him again in person how he could take in the material in the shoulder seam without shortening the jacket, the still insisted it wouldn't shorten the jacket. I asked him again to explain, then he said "sorry I can't do this" and he refunded my money.


Here's my OWN thought on this ,

I think honesty is the most important thing, I have asked him at least 3 times if taking in material at shoulder seam will shorten the jacket, change the balance, etc.. he said no. I do not trust him to work on my jacket, and I will not visit him or Tailor's Keep in the future.

I know he's probably very busy and probably thinks I am a picky customer and doesn't worth the time explaining everything to me, which is fine.

Overall Jonathan was very polite even when he refunded my money, I give him the credit on that.
I have got so much information from here especially from Manton. I bought a lot of very good 13 oz fabrics from Smith Woollens, Harrisons of Edinburgh, Lesser, Lesser golden bales all based on Manton's opinion and I love the 13 oz suit fabric
I also bought heavy Fox flannels, W.Bill tweeds, Harrisons luxury pure cashmere, all of these fabrics I got a very good deal with the help of some members on this forum. I went to DreamBespoke because I got the information from here. I really love this forum.

This is my own experience with him. since I got so much help from this forum, I would like to post this information here for people to get different ideas.
 

dieworkwear

Mahatma Jawndi
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I think honesty is the most important thing, I have asked him at least 3 times if taking in material at shoulder seam will shorten the jacket, change the balance, etc.. he said no. I do not trust him to work on my jacket, and I will not visit him or Tailor's Keep in the future.
I'm unclear where in this story was he being dishonest
 

Aquafortis

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I'm unclear where in this story was he being dishonest
Agreed. I believe Jonathan was being honest. I have had several Attolini suits altered by him, working through Ryan at the Tailor's Keep over the past couple of years. A couple of those suits I would not have trusted to anyone else. Both are Super 210's (fabric alone costing more than many full bespoke suits). One in particular required some significant work, along the lines of what was done with Peter's suits in the Reconstructive Tailoring Styleforum article.

For my more complex suit adjustments, sleeve length needed to be shortened from the shoulder, and armscyes were tightened up a bit, excess fabric in the wings and sides taken in, and based on Ryan's expertise and fitting advice, fabric was brought in at the top of the shoulders. When I got my suit back, not only was the fit superb, but I could not discern any modicum of difference in the drape, overall balance, or lines of the classic Attolini stylistic hallmarks. I for one, would have zero reservations in trusting Jonathan with any job going forward.
 

stuffedsuperdud

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Hi everyone,

I would like to add my own experience with Johnathan Martinez.

I have a bespoke suit made by Ricky @dreambespoke in Hongkong in 2018, and the arm holes were cut too low (too large), it's absolutely Not Ricky's fault, I was working out very aggressively and gaining weight fast at that time, so I asked Ricky to cut the arm holes a bit larger to accommodate my future weight gain ( I admit this was a bad idea, I should have let me make the suit based my body shape at that time, no future considerations). Low armholes is so bad, it's very hard to raise my arm to perpendicular to my body, can't drive with low armholes, if I do so, the whole suit will "explode". The whole thing took 5 weeks to finish, this was my first bespoke suit, I didn't realize the armhole could cause that many problems.

I moved to Bay area recently and was looking for someone who could make the armhole smaller (I didn't do a lot research, I thought this was doable with moderate difficulty).

From this thread, and another one, I thought Martinez's tailor is probably the most competent tailor I can get in Bay area.
I took the suit to Johnathan last Friday. I told him that the waist area, butt, and back need to be loosen a little for the gain I had.

Then I asked him my biggest concern, the low armholes, he said he can take in some materials from the shoulder, and that can make the armholes smaller.

I immediately had the doubt, I asked him if this kind of work will shorten the jacket and affect the balance of the jacket, he told me no, he will only work on the shoulder area, it wouldn't affect the length and balance, it just didn't make sense to me, so I asked him again to confirm, he said the same thing. I thought, well he makes suits every day, if he's that confident, why not just trust him? So I dropped my suit there for all the alternations I mentioned above.

When I got back home, the armhole's issue still bothered me, it just didn't make sense to NOT have the jacket length changed if he takes material into the shoulder seam as the sketch I have below.

View attachment 1747721



On Saturday, I did some more research online
Here's the results I found
View attachment 1747725



I have also talked about this with some bespoke tailors I know, they basically have the similar opinions as the one above.
The best way to do it is to disassemble the whole jacket and add material to the armhole area, they said it is time consuming and it will take more time than making a new jacket.

However, What Mr. Martinez suggested will raise the jacket, change the lapel position, collar position, maybe balance as well, it will shorten the jacket.

So I went back on Monday to ask him again in person how he could take in the material in the shoulder seam without shortening the jacket, the still insisted it wouldn't shorten the jacket. I asked him again to explain, then he said "sorry I can't do this" and he refunded my money.


Here's my OWN thought on this ,

I think honesty is the most important thing, I have asked him at least 3 times if taking in material at shoulder seam will shorten the jacket, change the balance, etc.. he said no. I do not trust him to work on my jacket, and I will not visit him or Tailor's Keep in the future.

I know he's probably very busy and probably thinks I am a picky customer and doesn't worth the time explaining everything to me, which is fine.

Overall Jonathan was very polite even when he refunded my money, I give him the credit on that.
I have got so much information from here especially from Manton. I bought a lot of very good 13 oz fabrics from Smith Woollens, Harrisons of Edinburgh, Lesser, Lesser golden bales all based on Manton's opinion and I love the 13 oz suit fabric
I also bought heavy Fox flannels, W.Bill tweeds, Harrisons luxury pure cashmere, all of these fabrics I got a very good deal with the help of some members on this forum. I went to DreamBespoke because I got the information from here. I really love this forum.

This is my own experience with him. since I got so much help from this forum, I would like to post this information here for people to get different ideas.
Holy shit, 2011 called and it wants its keyboard suit enthusiast back. This kind of post is a straight up blast from the past, only those suits were mostly cheapo Indochinos, and those guys all unironically worshipped at the alter of Don Draper. Say something about pick stitching, surgeon's cuffs, and dub monks daddy!

Realtalk: Basically at this point you're saying that you know more than a guy with 30+ years of experience who does this stuff all day every day, because you read some forums and talked to some tailors. That's the kind of confidence that has gotten many a man into a bad situation, but granted, experience isn't everything and you could be right and he could be wrong so hey, you do you (odds are not in your favor though). Regardless, given that you clearly went into this with your mind already made up, I'd say quite frankly he did the right thing cutting you loose. Better to refund you now than go through a complicated alteration only to have to refund your money anyway next week; at least this way he doesn't have to deal with the extra work and the inevitable bad Yelp review, and for you your suit is still "wrong" in the original way and not in some secondary way.

Here's what I did: the first time I visited his shop I already knew from Derek and Peter's posts that he was a master tailor and not some dry cleaner seamstress, so I simply brought with me a jacket and pants that I felt fit well, and asked him to do the alterations with that silhouette in mind. He actually disagreed with me slightly on how well my "good" jackets fit (the audacity...), and made some recommendations for me going forward. I was a bit nervous and went with it, and the result was very good. For everything since, he has made my adjustments with that sweet spot in mind, and it's been a super easy matter of dropping stuff off and coming back a week later for pickup; the only headache has been the lack of parking nearby. Mind you, I'm not a fanboy and there have been times where I needed him to do a bit of readjusting after trying something on, because we're all only human, but ultimately everything has ended up exactly where I wanted and the matter of honesty or lack thereof has never crossed my mind. In your case I likewise don't see how it factors into the situation that you created for the two of you.
 

PilotStyle

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I'm unclear where in this story was he being dishonest
Indeed. If dishonesty is saying "I can't do what you're asking and I won't take your money," I hope that I only ever have to deal with dishonest contractors!
 

PilotStyle

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the only headache has been the lack of parking nearby.
I've never found the availability of parking to be a problem. I've now gone there enough to have a routine. I try to arrive between 2 and 3. The last three times I've been there, I've easily found parking on the block of Washington where the Transamerica building is. (Walk to Columbus, cross the street, turn right.) Meters are $3.75 an hour, but I've never needed more than 30 minutes for either pickup or dropoff, and once I even found a meter that had 32 minutes in it and didn't have to pay anything. The Portsmouth Square garage is $4 an hour and a block the other way on Washington.

Do I love paying $2-4 every time I go to Jonathan? No, but compared to what he charges, the parking is a rounding error. Heck, with the price of gas right now, it feels like if I hit the lights wrong it probably adds $2-4. (I'm joking... I hope.)
 

soccerman

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I'm unclear where in this story was he being dishonest
He is dishonest because he said taking in material from the shoulder will not change the length of the jacket, and I have asked him at least 3 times, on last Friday and this Monday, he insisted it would not change the length. If you look at the link I posted from another forum, they have a very detailed discussion about this issue. I don't think a competent tailor would say it wouldn't change the length.
 

dieworkwear

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He is dishonest because he said taking in material from the shoulder will not change the length of the jacket.
I don't know if you can fix the armhole without shortening the jacket. But it's strange to me to see someone who doesn't know anything about tailoring correct a tailor based on some info he read online posted by randos.
 

soccerman

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Holy shit, 2011 called and it wants its keyboard suit enthusiast back. This kind of post is a straight up blast from the past, only those suits were mostly cheapo Indochinos, and those guys all unironically worshipped at the alter of Don Draper. Say something about pick stitching, surgeon's cuffs, and dub monks daddy!

Realtalk: Basically at this point you're saying that you know more than a guy with 30+ years of experience who does this stuff all day every day, because you read some forums and talked to some tailors. That's the kind of confidence that has gotten many a man into a bad situation, but granted, experience isn't everything and you could be right and he could be wrong so hey, you do you (odds are not in your favor though). Regardless, given that you clearly went into this with your mind already made up, I'd say quite frankly he did the right thing cutting you loose. Better to refund you now than go through a complicated alteration only to have to refund your money anyway next week; at least this way he doesn't have to deal with the extra work and the inevitable bad Yelp review, and for you your suit is still "wrong" in the original way and not in some secondary way.

Here's what I did: the first time I visited his shop I already knew from Derek and Peter's posts that he was a master tailor and not some dry cleaner seamstress, so I simply brought with me a jacket and pants that I felt fit well, and asked him to do the alterations with that silhouette in mind. He actually disagreed with me slightly on how well my "good" jackets fit (the audacity...), and made some recommendations for me going forward. I was a bit nervous and went with it, and the result was very good. For everything since, he has made my adjustments with that sweet spot in mind, and it's been a super easy matter of dropping stuff off and coming back a week later for pickup; the only headache has been the lack of parking nearby. Mind you, I'm not a fanboy and there have been times where I needed him to do a bit of readjusting after trying something on, because we're all only human, but ultimately everything has ended up exactly where I wanted and the matter of honesty or lack thereof has never crossed my mind. In your case I likewise don't see how it factors into the situation that you created for the two of you.
So can you explain this simple question, how taking material into the shoulder seam will not change the length of the jacket? It's pretty clear to me, the whole jacket will move up if we do so. Again, maybe I am completely wrong.
And honesty, I don't even care if he wants me to be the customer or not.
 

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