- prices apply only to freshly laundered or dry-cleaned garments -
Q: Iím getting married! When should I bring my gown in for alterations?
A: The alterations process is best started about 3-4 months ahead of the wedding or travel date. Ten weeks out is our firm time limit.
Q: What do alterations typically cost?
A: Pricing varies widely! The typical bridal ticket at The Alterationist ranges from $250-600. Our apologies, but it is impossible to give any estimate over the phone or via photos.
Q: Whoa! Six hundred bucks sounds like a lot! What if I only need a few alterations?
A: We can make a consultation appointment, and give you an estimate! For a $20 fee and no commitment, we will take half an hour and go over the possibilities and necessities of alterations on your gown. We will be able to give you an estimate (not a fixed price). For a more accurate estimate, bring your shoes and your undergarments. Bonus: If you commit to having your alterations done by us, the $20 fee is subtracted from the alterations total. Win-win.
Q: Okay, that sounds better. What does the alterations process look like?
A: Starting 3-4 months ahead of the wedding date, youíll have your first fitting. For this fitting, we reserve a full hour (more if necessary) and we take our time. Definitely bring your shoes and undergarments. At this fitting, you will get a fixed price for the work we pinned. We will also schedule (or at least pencil-in) the second and final fittings at this time; ideally all three fittings will be about a month apart, with the final fitting being about a week or two ahead of the wedding/travel date.
Q: Do I need to take my gown to a cleaners before or after alterations?
A: If you have a sample gown, absolutely take it to a cleaners before wearing it or having someone work on it! You donít want someone elseís armpit juice on your gorgeous, elegant gown anyway! Ask your vendor if you are unsure whether it has already been cleaned.
Q: Where do I get it pressed? I donít intend to wear a well-fitting but wrinkly gown on my wedding day.
A: Pressing (and getting your gown aisle-ready before pickup) is included in our total price for alterations! If youíre traveling far from Chicago for your wedding, ask your hotel if they can do some last-minute steaming for you upon your gownís arrival, if necessary.
Q: When do you accept payment for bridal work?
A: At pickup, which is usually a week or so after the final fitting, and a day or two before your wedding/travel date. We accept cash only for bridal work.
Q: Iíve got my bridal alterations taken care of, but my bridesmaids need alterations on their dresses too! Can you help?
A: With enough time, we will gladly take care of your entire wedding partyís alterations needs (even the men!) -- please allow at least six weeks before the event/travel date for two fittings and pressing.
Q: What about measurements, do you take measurements?
A: Yep. Ten bucks. Call or text 773-425-7422 and make an appointment!
Q: Youíre going to think Iím nuts, but I have a super-specific request and Iím not sure if itís doable; who do I ask about this?
A: Email for further info or to make an appointment for a consultation -- firstname.lastname@example.org! close
Q: I’ve got some alterations I need done. When can I bring them in?
A: Make an appointment for a fitting by calling or texting 773-425-7422, or by emailing email@example.com. We do fittings on Thursdays 11-7, Fridays 11-7, Saturdays 10-4, and Sundays 12-4.
Q: I need a skirt hemmed/jeans shortened/jacket taken in. What does that cost?
A: We’ve got a clickable base price list on our main page -- it will help to give you an idea of what to expect. We can give fixed prices only after seeing the garment on its wearer.
Q: I’ve got this shirt that I wore only once and found out it’s a little too big; do I have to wash it before bringing it in?
A: Yes. We can work on new or freshly-cleaned garments only. We cannot work on any item that has sweat, dirt, deodorant, dog hair, cat hair, marmot hair, or any smell on it that is not fabric softener. This is partly for legal (health code) reasons, and partly for allergy reasons. Sorry.
Q: But I heard The Alterationist can send stuff to the Greener Cleaner for cleaning between a fitting and pickup, didn’t I?
A: You heard correct! It’s possible to send out garments for environmentally-friendly cleaning after a fitting. However, the fitting-then-cleaning sequence doesn’t always work, plus it gets expensive for you, our client. It is all-around awesome when our clients bring us new or freshly-cleaned garments to work on! Really -- we will love and remember you for this!
Q: I have a bridesmaid’s dress that needs a little work. How late can I bring it in before the wedding?
A: Please allow up to six weeks for general alterations and a second fitting, including suits and bridesmaids’ dresses.
Q: Man, six weeks is a long time to wait, and I don’t have that much time. It’s only a little bit of work, I promise! What do you charge for a rush fee?
A: We don’t charge rush fees, but we also don’t have extra time. The time we had available next week for sewing, was already booked five weeks ago. We will always try to accommodate easy, very small jobs on short notice (like a single pant hem), but we can never promise anything without seeing it on you! We feel very bad about this, but there are only 24 hours in the day, and we are sleeping and/or drinking for seven of those.
Q: I forgot my pickup date. How will I know when my stuff is done?
A: We will shoot you a text when your stuff is done!
Q: Hey, you guys worked on a jacket for me and the sleeves are still too long -- you won’t charge me again for doing the same work, will you?
A: Of course not! We stand by our work. We will absolutely do free re-alterations if you bring them back within thirty days of the pickup date we give you on your yellow ticket. So, if we give you a pickup date of June 15, bring the item(s) back before July 15 and all your worries are taken care of.
Q: I have this old vintage coat/dress/suit that I love, but it’s starting to fall apart! Can you save it from certain death??
A: Nope. We can do alterations (i.e. editing on existing garments), but only on solid garments that are not about to fall apart due to age or wear. For every garment, there is a point of no return. If you love something, set it free.
Q: Do you work on leather or fur?
A: We can do very simple alterations on leather, none on fur. Our limitations here are due to specialized skills and also to the types of machines we have available to work on -- our specialty is bridal work, after all! For leather work, you can try going to a leather specialist, like at Alcala’s Western Wear, further west down Chicago Avenue. For fur work, perhaps Fabbri Furs on Oak Street can help.
Q: Do you make stuff?
Q: Do you take credit cards?
Q: You’re a regular American young person! At a tailor shop, I usually see older people working there, people whose first language is not English! How did you get into the business of alterations?
A: Accident. I (the owner of The Alterationist) began at a small alterations shop in 2003 in my hometown in Michigan, as counter help. My bosses there taught me easy things like pant hems, then more complicated things like jacket sleeves. In 2005, I moved to the Big City (Chicago) and worked at Nordstrom on Michigan Avenue for a few years. In 2009, I began work at Macy’s Bridal Salon on State Street, which has allowed me to discover the challenges and joys of working on wedding gowns. And then, after building up a broad personal clientele, I decided to go big or go home, and in January of 2012, I opened The Alterationist in one of the nicest corners of the city. I love it here! close
BEGINNING JANUARY 2014, CLOSED ON MON, TUES, & WED
Check our Facebook page for holiday hours and changes to this week's schedule.
Fittings, measurements taken, and try-ons by appointment only. Please allow up to six weeks for general alterations.
Bridal alterations require a minimum lead time of 10 weeks until the event/travel date.