An outfit can be good or bad depending on how well it fits. The proper tailoring is everything. People buy things all the time that look great in the store, but when they get it home and actually walk around with it, they realize it just not hanging right. It’s looking lifeless. This is where a good tailor comes in. Tailors can do marvelous things with a sewing machine. The top tailors know a lot of secret tricks of the trade, and two of them were kind enough to share some of their secrets. James Cornwell is a stylist for celebrities, and Nancy Nix-Rice is a wardrobe consultant. The tips and tricks they disclose here will help anyone look their best.
Make Friends with Your Tailor
According to Cornwell, people who take the time to get to know their tailor will always get better results. This just stands to reason. Knowing the tailor’s name and using it, asking about their family, treating them like a friend will naturally, perhaps sub-consciously, make them want to do a better job. Also, those who take the time to do this will find themselves more comfortable, more trusting of the tailor, and better able to communicate their needs. All of this contributes to a better fit in the end.
Buying Off-the-Rack Isn’t the Right Fit for Everyone
Nix-Rice advises people not to expect clothing from off the rack to fit perfectly. Remember that people come in all shapes and sizes, and clothing will fit better and look classier if it gets fine-tuned by an experienced tailor. It may even make some people look slimmer. Using a tailor to make alterations is a worthy investment, and may even motivate people to buy fewer pieces of clothing but choose higher quality pieces, and look sharper in the process.
Don’t Neglect the Sale Rack
Another piece of advice from Cornwell is not to be afraid to look through the sale racks. People can often find some great articles at huge discounts. Everything from suits, pants, shirts and dresses can be found at great prices if someone takes the time to look. If a piece is great but doesn’t quite fit, well, that’s where the tailor comes in once again. Buying something at a great discount will make it worthwhile to have it properly tailored, especially for people on a budget.
Nix-Rice agrees, and adds “This is an amazing way to get customized pieces at a fraction of the cost.” Her advice is to buy big, and things can always be reduced, but nothing can be made bigger. She says to buy something that fits the largest part of the body, and if the rest is too large, it can be tailored down to fit. Here is her expert advice on how to do this the right way:
“Go for a sleek, body-skimming fit over bulk every time. For instance, if you need a larger pant size for your hips, of course you’ll want the waist made smaller. But also have the legs tapered a bit to remove any excess fabric that would just make your legs look heavier. Taper straight skirts at the side seams, too. A slight inward angle from low hip to hemline trims at least 10 visual pounds off most women’s bodies.”
Pay Attention to the Buttons
One of the easiest ways to spruce up a piece is to change the buttons, says Nix-Rice, which is something people can easily do for themselves. Buttons can make a huge different to the look of an article of clothing. Changing a button made of bright metal can make a piece more elegant by switching to something with a more matte finish, or perhaps a button with a brushed texture. Matching the buttons to the hair color of the person wearing it can also make clothes look more connected to the wearer. For instance, people with blond hair might do better changing silver buttons to gold. Mother-of-pearl buttons can upgrade a piece with plastic ones and make it instantly look more elegant. Nix-Rice suggests that anyone wanting to learn more about styling with buttons can search on YouTube where there are a lot of instructional videos on the subject.
Hey readers! Welcome back to the blog. Today, it’s another Tailor’s Tips edition, and this time, I’m talking about the best sewing machines on the market today! As someone who works full-time with a sewing machine, I’ve had to learn the hard way how to find the best models and make good investments in equipment.
If you’re in the market for a machine, I’ll give you the lowdown on which ones I like, and which ones are good for which kind of people. One nice part of starting to sew today (or just replacing an old machine) is that there’s a huge variety to choose from, so you have unlimited options for machines.
First, before you start shopping, I always tell people you should think about what kind of a sewing machine you actually want. There are basically two schools of thought, even though there are some models that sit in the middle of the two.
One type of sewing machine is super old-school, with all manual adjustments that you have to work by hand. From what I’ve seen, these machines always last longer and give you more flexibility, but they really depend on your abilities to make them work well. The advantages are reliability, and the fact that if you’re good with a needle, you can get some really great results on these. And if you learn on an old-fashioned machine, you’ll have impeccable technique. I think I can safely say that I wouldn’t be nearly as good a sewer if I had learned on a fancier, easier machine.
Which brings me to the other kind you can buy, which is the fully-loaded kind with lots of automatic features and convenient things like when it threads the needle for you. They can be good for new people, since they give you results fast. But I will say that they’re definitely a shortcut, so you can’t expect to learn really good technique on one of these machines.
Whether you’re looking for a machine for you or for a child, you really have to choose between these two basic types. The choice is between having automatic convenience that makes you able to do lots of projects right away, and having to learn technique which pays off in the long run but takes a while to actually develop.
In my opinion, the less features a machine has, the better a sewer it will make you. But that’s my grandmother’s influence. I have some friends who own tailor shops and they use big, fancy machines to save time. I guess if I trusted machines more, I might go that route.
Anyway, when you’re looking for the best sewing machine, you have to first figure out which route you’re going to go down. Then you can start comparing specific models in each group.
Following me so far? Ok. Let’s get down to brass tacks and talk about which machines are my personal faves.
My personal favorite machine is the Singer 7258. It’s a bit of a rarity, because it’s a super old-fashioned machine in a lot of ways, but it also has a computer onboard. You have to do lots of things manually but you can also program stitch patterns into it, which I use for my tailoring work when one of the presets doesn’t work. I would basically recommend this to anybody because it’s so reliable and versatile, but even though it has a fancy computer, it definitely has a learning curve if you’re new to sewing. So for anyone reading this who’s already good with a needle and needs a new machine, I would say the 7258 is pretty perfect.
Ok. So that’s experienced people covered. If you’re learning, or you’re buying for a kid who’s learning, you probably want to look at slightly less expensive options, since you definitely aren’t going to be making money back on the price of your machine.
For kids, I recommend the Janome 2206. I gave it to my niece and she’s been coming along in leaps and bounds. It’s a bit too simple for me to use for work, but as far as a straightforward machine that feels like something my grandmother would have used, you can’t beat it. It’s perfect for teaching technique. I will say that it’s definitely not for impatient or lazy kids, but if yours is careful and industrious, I swear by this machine. Basically solid metal, and I’ve yet to see one of these break.
I’ve also used the Brother Project Runway, which is definitely a fun alternative for less patient kids who want lots of bells and whistles. It does pretty much anything on its own, which is the opposite of the Janome. I haven’t bought one of these, so I can’t speak to how long they last, but I’ve played with them in shops and been pretty impressed, especially for how cheap it is.
Well, I hope that helps you out, at least as far as showing you a few good machines I’d stand behind. Thanks for reading the blog, as always, and happy stitching!
P.S. Check out recommended sewing machines for kids here. The site is very useful for parents with kids or teens who are interested in learning to sew.