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Need help managing a tricky alteration issue

bandurky

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Hi styleforum,

This is my first post, aside from introduction. Hello all! Hope I can gleam some wisdom from some veterans. I'm in a bit of a pickle.

First for background: I've been living in Slovakia (southern border of Poland) since August as a temporary English teacher. It's been an incredible experience, and at the same time I have been remaking my wardrobe to include many more professional items, as I've gotten into classic menswear much more. I've shopped online, bought vintage from England, even found a reliable and experienced tailor in an old alleyway, and communication with her has been so-so. I can communicate what I want well enough and it's worked out for many other pieces of clothing. It's fun.

Here's my situation: I bought a vintage dinner suit and it is an absolutely beautiful item. I will need it for my brother's wedding which is 5 days after my flight home, in less than a month. I knew I would have to get it altered here as I don't have enough time (I think, at least) between the wedding and my return to get something to a tailor. I don't even know a tailor in the States. Like I said, it's a beautiful tuxedo. Heavyweight, beautiful detailing, all hand-sewn. What alterations my local person could handle, she did.

There is one issue, though, the problematic one. It's my blasted long, lanky limbs. The sleeves are too short (as per usual) and have working buttons, which my local person couldn't deal with. I don't know enough Slovak to understand 100% of what she was telling me, but she doesn't know how to lengthen a sleeve with working buttons (as she's never seen it), and I mentioned taking of the sleeves and lengthening from the shoulder and she didn't believe there is enough material to do that. That's at least what I thought she said. I believe her and her experience and certainly don't want her to attempt something she doesn't know how to do, so I feel like my option is to look outside of the country: could be to England, to America, not sure. How could I do that, though? Does anyone have experience attempting an alteration through the mail? It would be simple enough to say, "I need 1" on the sleeves", but I have no guarantee that it's even possible in the first place. If it is, does anyone know a reliable service or person to do this? Or what other options might help?

Need concrete advice/solutions. Thanks.


Post-script: I can provide a picture of sleeve, or the jacket. I don't really know.
 

breakaway01

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The simplest way to do it would be to ask how much material is at the end of the sleeve (at the cuff end) to lengthen the sleeve. If so, the only downside is that there will be a lot of space between the cuff and the first button. One could potentially add another button to take up some of this room.

Your tailor is correct that lengthening by an inch through the shoulder won't be possible if there isn't enough material. She'd have to open up the shoulder to know for sure. One could lengthen say 0.5" at the shoulder and 0.5" at the cuff. But I agree with you that if she's never done it before, I would not ask her to attempt it. You might ask her whether she knows any local tailors able to handle this alteration, or ask the best menswear store in your area who they use for alterations.

I don't know of any mail-order tailors whom I'd trust to handle this alteration. Hopefully someone else can chime in if they have any suggestions.
 

compuccesory

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Jun 17, 2019
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Hi styleforum,

This is my first post, aside from introduction. Hello all! Hope I can gleam some wisdom from some veterans. I'm in a bit of a pickle.

First for background: I've been living in Slovakia (southern border of Poland) since August as a temporary English teacher. It's been an incredible experience, and at the same time I have been remaking my wardrobe to include many more professional items, as I've gotten into classic menswear much more. I've shopped online, bought vintage from England, even found a reliable and experienced tailor in an old alleyway, and communication with her has been so-so. I can communicate what I want well enough and it's worked out for many other pieces of clothing. It's fun.

Here's my situation: I bought a vintage dinner suit and it is an absolutely beautiful item. I will need it for my brother's wedding which is 5 days after my flight home, in less than a month. I knew I would have to get it altered here as I don't have enough time (I think, at least) between the wedding and my return to get something to a tailor. I don't even know a tailor in the States. Like I said, it's a beautiful tuxedo. Heavyweight, beautiful detailing, all hand-sewn. What alterations my local person could handle, she did.

There is one issue, though, the problematic one. It's my blasted long, lanky limbs. The sleeves are too short (as per usual) and have working buttons, which my local person couldn't deal with. I don't know enough Slovak to understand 100% of what she was telling me, but she doesn't know how to lengthen a sleeve with working buttons (as she's never seen it), and I mentioned taking of the sleeves and lengthening from the shoulder and she didn't believe there is enough material to do that. That's at least what I thought she said. I believe her and her experience and certainly don't want her to attempt something she doesn't know how to do, so I feel like my option is to look outside of the country: could be to England, to America, not sure. How could I do that, though? Does anyone have experience attempting an alteration through the mail? It would be simple enough to say, "I need 1" on the sleeves", but I have no guarantee that it's even possible in the first place. If it is, does anyone know a reliable service or person to do this? Or what other options might help?

Need concrete advice/solutions. Thanks.


Post-script: I can provide a picture of sleeve, or the jacket. I don't really know.
Obviously there's no way to know unless you open it up, but older expensive items often do have a fair bit of material allowance for alterations so I wouldn't give up just yet. ANother thing - do *all* the buttons work? It's not uncommon on jackets, even with working cuff buttons, that only the bottom 2 or 3 are actual working ones, the top 1 is often a faux buttonhole in order to accommodate exactly the situation you describe - a tailor could take it and move it to the bottom.
 

bandurky

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Yes, the bottom three are the working ones and the top one is faux. I can feel a fair bit of material allowance at the cuff. It's there, I just need to find somebody who can do it.
 

breakaway01

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If you can convince her to open up the cuff then it shouldn’t be difficult to lengthen. If she won’t do it then it is a straightforward alteration—again, ask a local menswear store whom they use for alterations. @compuccesory is right that since the top buttonhole is fake, it shouldn’t be difficult to move that button to the bottom after lengthening.
 

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