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What's the difference between a $16 sleeve-shortening job and a $45 one?

Cayne-Abel

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Sarcastic answers aside ("29 dollars"), what specific differences would you expect to see from a Brooklyn tailor that charges $16 and a downtown Manhattan tailor that charges $45, for shortening the sleeve of a suit jacket?

I took my Hugo Boss red label jacket (the sleeves were WAY too long, by nearly two inches) to this Brooklyn tailor. The work seems shitty to me, but I might be wrong, so I'm providing photos below.

As you can see, he didn't move the (fake) sleeve button holes together with the buttons themselves. They got rolled into the inside of the sleeve, along with the rest of the fabric they were sewn to. And the fact that all the excess fabric was rolled into the sleeve (as opposed to being cut) is the other odd thing. As I said above, there was at least two inches of excess sleeve length, so a lot of fabric got rolled in. This makes the last couple of inches of sleeve look relatively "stiff" compared to the rest of the sleeve.

Also, the end of the sleeve seems crooked and uneven.

To top it off, he made the sleeves too short - I specifically told him that I only want about a quarter-inch of my french-cuff sleeves to show, because I wanted to keep the cufflinks hidden while my hands are at my sides. Instead, the cufflinks are now clearly visible.

I might be wrong, and some of these things might just be part of what you'd expect with any sleeve shortening job. Or I might not be seeing everything that he did wrong. In either case, please let me know what was and wasn't done right, so I can get this done better next time.

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kylelovesyou

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Looks like the difference is "a properly altered garment."
 

kylelovesyou

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Originally Posted by makewayhomer
I would expect for $45 they take more sleeve off

The sleeveless suit coat look will be big next summer.
 

Sazerac

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I may be wrong on this, but if memory serves shortening sleeves almost always means removing the sleeve entirely and taking off the extra length from the top of the sleeve rather than the cuff. At least, this is the way my mother, a professional costume designer, used to do it. It's not cheap and it takes a skilled tailor.
 

DerekS

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My tailor shortens sleeves for around 30 bucks. I also have had her do working buttonholes for me and that runs the same price....
 

WhateverYouLike

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Originally Posted by Sazerac
I may be wrong on this, but if memory serves shortening sleeves almost always means removing the sleeve entirely and taking off the extra length from the top of the sleeve rather than the cuff. At least, this is the way my mother, a professional costume designer, used to do it. It's not cheap and it takes a skilled tailor.

That would run you $100+
 

Sazerac

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A hundred bucks? I would have thought more. I remember by mom hunched over the suit jacket with pins in her mouth stringing curse words together in long graphic sentences. Learned a lot about both sewing and swearing in those days.
 

Sanguis Mortuum

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Originally Posted by Sazerac
I may be wrong on this, but if memory serves shortening sleeves almost always means removing the sleeve entirely and taking off the extra length from the top of the sleeve rather than the cuff. At least, this is the way my mother, a professional costume designer, used to do it. It's not cheap and it takes a skilled tailor.
It can be done from the cuff for smaller amounts, or even for larger amounts as long as the cuffs don't have working button-holes. If it's shortened a lot you may need to open the length of the sleeve and slim it down, since the cuff will get wider as you shorten it. Shortening from the top is necessary with working cuffs, but has it's own problems since you are reducing the circumference of the sleeve cap, you will be reducing the amount of ease and if you remove too much you may end up with a sleeve cap too small for your arm-scye. As for the OPs question, apparently the difference is competence
Shortening from the cuff properly requires reconstructing the hem, which involves detaching the lining, removing the cross-stitching holding up the hem, folding and stitching it into the new position, re-mitreing the corners, cutting down then reattaching the end of the lining, and probably a bunch of other steps that I've forgotten to get the vent done properly; not to mention moving or removing some or all of the buttons and/or fake buttonholes if necessary.
 

EL72

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Originally Posted by Sazerac
I may be wrong on this, but if memory serves shortening sleeves almost always means removing the sleeve entirely and taking off the extra length from the top of the sleeve rather than the cuff. At least, this is the way my mother, a professional costume designer, used to do it. It's not cheap and it takes a skilled tailor.

No. I would not trust any alterations tailor to touch the sleevehead of my coat unless they are the ones who made the coat.

That said, the $16 is awful. The guy didn't even cut the proper vent at the sleeve. He should also have sewed the lining back on after the buttons so the stitches aren't exposed inside the sleeve and removed the last buttonhole.

Also, the buttons are too close the edge of the sleeve.
 

acecow

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Originally Posted by Sazerac
I may be wrong on this, but if memory serves shortening sleeves almost always means removing the sleeve entirely and taking off the extra length from the top of the sleeve rather than the cuff. At least, this is the way my mother, a professional costume designer, used to do it. It's not cheap and it takes a skilled tailor.

When I mentioned that to my tailor (who is very experienced and always does an excellent job) he said the following:

"You can do it, but it may (he lowered his voice) fuck up the jacket." Then he explained why. Most sleeves aren't exactly cylinders, as they are made wider at the shoulder to accommodate the shoulder itself. If you deattach the sleeve and shorten it by too much, you will cut that part out ruining the natural fit of the jacket in the shoulders. It may or may not be a big deal for a particular body type, but it's not the preferred way of shortening the jacket sleeves.
 

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