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altering dress shirts -- tapering middle

johnnynorman3

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I've been ordering MTM Jantzen almost exclusively, with a few Polo Phillips sprinkled in for good measure.  I was at Louis on Saturday and of course loved the majority of the dress shirts -- Kiton, Fray, and Truzzi especially (the latter really impressed me for the price).  [On a side note, some of the fabrics may have been a bit too "out there" for a lawyer's wardrobe, but . . . ]  I didn't get any of the shirts (I passed on a Fray for $150 that I loved) because even the slim shirts there -- they said Fray was the slimmest -- was slightly more baggy around the waist than I prefer.  All of the other fitting aspects were nearly perfect or perfect.  But I didn't want to spend $150 on a shirt that didn't fit me around the waist perfectly.

But after some thought, my question is, "How easy is it for a good tailor to take a shirt in at the waist?"  Is this an easier and cheaper alteration than doing the same to a suit?  If so, I might pick up a couple high end shirts when they go to 60% off.

I know this topic has been sort of posted on before. But if you can just give me a quick answer about how skilled the tailor needs to be, how effective it is in making a shirt fit like MTM (the armholes were sufficiently high, BTW), and how expensive it is.

Thanks.
 

johnnynorman3

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I don't think I want darts. I'd rather have the side seam just ripped out and redone with more taper -- and stitched back up single needle of course. I'd probably be willing to pay $15 - 20, but not more than that. I'd only need the waist to be tapered 2 inches total (1 inch on each side) -- clearly I'm being very picky on fit here, since it wasn't like I was "swimming" in the Truzzi and Fray shirts. I hope Mr. Kabbaz chimes in on this -- his hot water/cold water trick seems like it would be not wise to try on a Kiton shirt.
 

Renault78law

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I had a tailor do it for $15/shirt, with very good results.
 

paul44

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Once your sideseam alteration is through, you may have spent an inordinate amount on a ready-made shirt.

Might think about a few well-chosen bespoke shirts instead.
 

Chris H

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A simple idea that has worked well for me on some Brooks Brothers shirts is to sew the rear box pleat in its folded position. This results in a reduction in the width of the shirt of about 2.5". I think this would work with any shirt with a rear box pleat.
 

Andrew V.

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I found a tailor who for $12 does a great job removing a few inches of fabric from the side seams. She even raises the armholes a tad at the same time.
 

Alexander Kabbaz

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johnnynorman
I don't think I want darts. I'd rather have the side seam just ripped out and redone with more taper -- and stitched back up single needle of course. I'd probably be willing to pay $15 - 20, but not more than that. I'd only need the waist to be tapered 2 inches total (1 inch on each side) -- clearly I'm being very picky on fit here, since it wasn't like I was "swimming" in the Truzzi and Fray shirts. I hope Mr. Kabbaz chimes in on this -- his hot water/cold water trick seems like it would be not wise to try on a Kiton shirt.
I don't know why not - I do it to all of my fitting samples. You don't take a Lamborghini up to 75 m.p.h. and assume it will perform equally well at 175. You keep the pedal to the metal and listen for the sirens. By all means, if you can find someone who will rip out and re-sew the side seams, that's the best way. Of course, using darts is reversible. Cutting out side seams is like a shirt vastectomy.
 

j

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I've been meaning to ask this, is there any possibility of resewing not only the side seam, but also taking up the armhole and slimming the sleeve at the same time, with one grand arm-waving type motion on the sewing machine? Could that possibly work? I tried it with a thrift store shirt I was about to toss anyway, and I couldn't get it to look right, but more than half of that was unfamiliarity with the machine. Can it be done?
 

Alexander Kabbaz

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J
is there any possibility of resewing not only the side seam, but also taking up the armhole and slimming the sleeve at the same time, with one grand arm-waving type motion on the sewing machine?
You're supposed to be sleeping, not posting. The easiest way is this: 1] Remove the cuff 2] Using a small pair of scissors, cut out (remove) the entire side seam - stitches, fabric, and all. 3] Now do as you wish - but remember that as you slim the sleeve you are also raising the armhole. Try it with pins brfore cutting. BTW, safety pins are the best for the area just under the arm. Pin at least 3/8" in from the edges of the front and back to allow for the eventual seam. 4] If you like the fit with the pins, sew it back up and re-attach the cuff. That is not as good as designing a high armhole/appropriate sleeve diameter in the first place, but such cannot be done on R-T-W shirts or they wouldn't fit corpulent individuals. Now go to sleep.
 

sanmateo

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Sorry for the silly question -- what exactly is the Kabbaz hot water/cold water trick?

Jeebus. Did I say that out loud?
 

Alexander Kabbaz

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Wash hot. Plunge the hot shirt into a pot full of ice water. Turn your dryer on high. Let the empty dryer get as hot as possible. Open the door, throw in the freezing cold shirt, close the door and restart the dryer. Let it dry for at least an hour. Now ... give it to your youngest child.
 

scnupe7

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Before I started buying MTM, I used to have all of my shirts altered. If a shirt was too big for just altering the sides alone, my tailor would put darts in the shity as well. All for $20.
 

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