TIPS: Keeping Cost Down 


2022 UPDATE: Deb is semi-retired now and alteration appointments are limited.

 We are only accepting alterations on Wedding gowns.

 However, the following information is still useful." 

Always remember; the cost of the item does not affect the cost of the alterations. A slacks hem on a $200.00 suit will cost the same as the hem on slacks given to you by a friend.   


Basic tips:

The simplest alterations are pants and slacks hems. Almost everyone needs this done at one time or another. **Learn to pin the pant legs yourself and save $2.00 per pair. If you do this, you won’t require a personal fitting. You’ll only need to drop them off.

Dress and skirt hems are pretty simple as well. Keep in mind; the more distance around the bottom of the hem, the more the cost. These hems are best pinned by a professional or experienced person.  

Jacket sleeve hems are also another common and easy alteration. We usually pin these while you are wearing the jacket and help you decide the best length by what feels comfortable to you. Hem length is a matter of personal preference except with military uniforms that must be within regulations. 

Blouses often need hems at the bottom for variety of reasons. Designers may have decided the length should be really long or hem different lengths. You think it would be better at the shorter length all the way around. Easy to shorten if the garment can be cut off and folded up to hem. If the desired length is to be the same as the shortest area on a multi-layer blouse, all of the short area stitching must be undone. The blouse is then pressed and the entire new length cut and stitched. If you have the patience to remove the hem stitches where it’s needed, go for it. The end cost will be less than if we did it all.  

Purchase items that are simple in construction. If the item needs work in the shoulders, side seams or waist, avoid garments with a lot of top stitching, tiny stitches on delicate fabrics and decorative embellishments near areas to be altered. 

If the waist is too large, consider having Deb’s Sewing Service use elastic insertion inside the waistband. This process is much easier and thus less costly compared to complete disassemble.

Another easy alteration: take in or let out the waist. Most men’s slacks are assembled at the manufacturer to be altered at the waist.

Zipper lubrication: It will help prevent possible damage and eventual replacement. Metal zipper teeth can be rubbed with wax or soap. I prefer bee's wax from the fabric store. Plastic zipper teeth can be lubricated with pencil led.

With the zipper unzipped and separated, firmly hold the top and bottom ends of the zipper on the right side of the coat. Slide your lubricating medium back and forth a few times on both the front and back side of the teeth. You don't need to see a lot of wax residue. A little goes a long way! Repeat on the left coat side zipper teeth. Pay special attention on rubbing the longer "starter" points at the bottom of the coat.

You can use this tip on all zippers. Remember to re-apply lubricant after each washing. (lubrication of the zipper teeth may prolong the life of your garment.) 

Need help deciding if you should have your item repaired or to just buy a new one?  

REPAIR or REPLACE?? Learn to use the 50% RULE.

If the repair cost is less than half of the replacement cost.


Your winter coat needs a new zipper. Repair labor and zipper are about $25.00. A new coat is $95.00 and up.


Your favorite jacket needs a new zipper. Repair labor and zipper are about $20.00 - $25.00. A similar jacket is on sale for $39.00, ………...............but this is your favorite jacket!


Your perfect fitting slacks or jeans need a new zipper. Repair labor and zipper is about $13.00. You spot a sale where slacks are only $20.00. Finding the perfect fitting pants could take HOURS!


Your hooded sweatshirt needs a new zipper. Repair labor and zipper are about $20.00. If you can find a replacement less than $36.00 then you should replace the sweatshirt. Otherwise..........


The prices above are examples. Pricing varies with fabric and design and are subject to change without notice.

Tips for the budget minded bride:

 Repair or alterations on a family heirloom gown or veil can be a meaningful option. You might also consider taking a good look at the formal gowns at the bridal shop. Often these formal gowns can be ordered in white or ivory and make a very affordable wedding gown. Whatever gown you are comfortable in and will make you feel special on your wedding day is the right choice. 

 If a small hair piece or facilitator instead of the standard veil is what you have in mind, 

Deb's Sewing Service can create a one-of-a kind item made specially for you. Often the base fabric for these items can be taken from the hem of the wedding gown and will match your gown perfectly. Average cost is about $50.00***

Deb’s Sewing Service will supply most repair items at nominal cost. For savings of a few dollars, buy your own replacement zippers and top stitching threads. Sign up at Joann Fabrics to receive their sale flyers that often include 40% off coupons!   

Garments that cost more to alter: 

Lined clothing take almost twice the time as unlined garments.

Garments that will require alterations equal to more than two-three sizes. 

Wedding gowns are space consuming and difficult to handle while altering and are more costly than business and formal clothing to alter.

If you have questions about alterations you are considering and want to know a ballpark price let us help you. We must see the actual garment however, to give the most accurate estimate 

     We’d love to help you look and feel beautiful 

in your wedding gown.

  Contact Us for your personalized fitting today.    

***All price examples are stated in US dollars and are subject to change without notification.