Ask the Tailor: How Much Can Tailored Clothing be Taken In or Out?

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Each month we ask our expert tailors to address one of your most frequent questions. This month we’re covering taking clothing in or out, and how much it can be done.

In our experience, many people consider clothing alterations a bit of a mystery. Your tailor will be able to do some wonderful things with your clothing to make it into a better fit… but there is a limit to the magic we can do!

There are a number of reasons why you might want to have a tailored garment taken in or out:

  1. You might have lost or gained weight since the garment was originally tailored for you.
  2. You might have been given a bespoke garment that belonged to a family member or friend and want to make it a better fit.
  3. You might have bought a garment off the peg and want to make it feel more like made to measure.

Generally speaking, your tailor will be able to do a lot more with handmade bespoke garments than off the peg garments. Off the peg garments are usually made with much smaller seam allowances, which doesn’t give your tailor a great deal of leeway.

Bespoke garments are usually made with enough of a seam allowance to allow a garment to be taken out at some point in the future. However, this is certainly not without limit!

It all depends on the garment itself, but a tailor will usually only be able to take a suit in or out by a maximum of 1.5-2 inches each way. Any more than this and the general proportions of the garment will be off (along with the positioning of the neck and armholes if it’s a jacket).

We’d always recommend talking to a tailor about a garment to see what they might be able to do with it. But if you are looking for a significant change in size, do be aware that it may not be possible to do so.

Next month we’ll be asking our tailors to cover another frequently asked tailoring question. Sign up to our newsletter to make sure you don’t miss it.