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Tailor Tips: Sew or Glue

Real tailors can use a needle and thread for everything that requires alterations to the complete construction of a garment. Lately, I’ve noticed customers bringing in garments where common stitches are being replaced with glues and stitch witchery (double-sided iron-on tape). This is not tailoring by no means.

Glued Hem (Incorrect)

Blindstitched Hem (Correct)

Recently, I had a customer visiting from New York for a wedding. She needed her father’s pants hemmed because the previous tailor hemmed them too long. While attempting to take the old hem out, I noticed a regular machine stitch on the inside of the hem. This, however, was not a normal hem. After taking a closer look, I realized that the hem was secured with iron-on tape; and the stitch inside was added to give an illusion to the customer. I notified the customer and she was livid. She informed me that she paid $50 in New York at a professional tailor shop. Not only is this terrible for the customer but it is also extra work for the professional tailor that has to fix this mess.One week later I ran into another similar incident. This time, however, the garment was a previous purchase from a department store.

Iron-on hems are rapidly becoming a cheap and popular method in today’s tailoring industry. Outside of not demonstrating proper alteration methods, but it also has a short lifespan on the hem of your garments. Once the garment goes to the cleaners or the washer and dryer, that hem will weaken and eventually expire.
With that being said, when you go to a tailor, whether a shop or a store, do not hesitate to ask the tailor about their sewing methods. This will let the tailor know that you are aware of the shortcuts that exist. Also, when you pick up your garments, look for the stitch. If you don’t see it, it’s more than likely the hem is glued.

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