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The Guide: Alterations

Where to go when last season's pants no longer fit


Jeff Thompson, manager of The French Laundry, enjoys altering pageant garments more than any other type of attire. He and owner Lori Anne Gaddy have more than 20 years of combined experience.

June 2, 2011 | 12:00 a.m. CST

Sleeves too long, dresses not fitting, holes in a favorite pair of jeans — all of these are jobs for the local tailor. With several Columbia businesses offering clothing alterations, choosing the right option comes down to specialization. For those not blessed with sewing skills, Vox is here with a guide to Columbia’s alteration shops.

Holly Alterations

Where: 103 S. Providence Road
When: Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Cost: $5-40
Call: 442-6080
Nestled against the vacant remains of the old Osco Drug building, Holly Alterations is a modest storefront owned by Xuanhong To. For the past three and a half years, she has sat at the back of the store and sewn wedding gowns and suits, a specialty she developed through more than 11 years of experience. Alteration costs range from $5 for minor fixes to $40 for major resizing or re-styling. Tiger Cleaners at 126 S. Eighth St. doubles as a secondary pickup and drop-off location for Holly Alterations, and customers may take clothes to either location.

The French Laundry

Where: 3910 Peachtree Drive, Suite D
When: Alteration hours: Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Cost: Start at $15
Call: 442-9274
“If you can put a stitch in it, we can fix it,” says Jeff Thompson, manager of The French Laundry. Thompson and owner Lori Anne Gaddy have a combination of 20-plus years of experience in alterations, and Gaddy works on projects such as bridal wear and everyday jeans. Estimates are given in the store, but prices depend on the article of clothing, what needs to be fixed and how long the alteration will take. Pant hems cost $15-20, and dress hems cost $15-40. The French Laundry, formerly Downtown Alterations, has operated from its Peachtree location for more than two years and doubles as a GreenEarth accredited dry cleaner. The store uses a nontoxic, odorless cleaning method.

Alterations Unlimited

Where: 215 N. Stadium Blvd., Suite 109
When: Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Cost: $10-100
Call: 875-1188
Jenny Lam, owner of Alterations Unlimited, boasts 20 years of experience in alterations and fixes a variety of apparel. Work on wedding dresses is priced from $30-100, and other items such as jeans and jackets cost $10-30. Customers can bring their clothing into the store for estimates on exact pricing.

Columbia Mall Alterations

Where: 2537 Bernadette Square
When: Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Cost: $12-70
Call: 446-8815
Owner Sanerporn Camp and manager Sue Suksaengsri offer late hours and bring 10 years of experience in alterations. Exact pricing on clothing is given in the store, but they start at $10-20 to hem a pair of pants and $25-35 to alter a jacket. The store doesn’t work on wedding dresses but does alter prom and bridesmaid dresses, which are priced at $25-40. More complicated alterations for formal dresses, such as taking in the sides, can cost up to $70.

Men’s Wearhouse

Where: 303 N. Stadium Blvd., Suite 107
When: Alteration hours: Tuesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Cost: Start at $10
Call: 234-2300
“If you need it, we can pretty much do it,” says Chris Binder, a Men’s Wearhouse wardrobe consultant. Known for its designer duds and sharp-looking suits, the nationwide chain has a local franchise that also offers alterations for men’s clothing. Binder says the Columbia location charges based on what exactly needs to be tailored, and even clothes that weren’t purchased from the store will receive fair treatment for an extra fee. For example, taking in the waist on a pair of pants will cost $10 for a pair purchased from the shop and $20 for outside purchases. Ae Xaypanya, the Men’s Wearhouse tailor, can works on projects including lengthening coat sleeves, taking in dress shirts and shortening jeans. Xaypanya is available six days a week and does all of his work in-house.

Zede’s Sewing Studio

Where: 601 W. Business Loop, Suite 208
When: Tuesday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Cost: Start at $12
Call: 874-2500
“A man came in here wanting a button hole for his pocket watch,” says Mallory Donohue, the studio’s manager, sales advisor and certified instructor. “That’s not something you typically see these days, but we did it.” Although the shop focuses on selling sewing machines and teaching sewing classes, Zede’s does costume, formal and bridal alterations. Occasional pocket watch aficionado aside, the most common requests are hemming for jeans, which costs $12, and zipper replacement, which starts at $15, plus the cost of the zipper. What sets the studio apart are the classes it offers on how to perform alterations. Zede Donohue, the shop’s owner, has experience in professional costumes, bridal dresses and couture clothing, so the employees are knowledgeable and the classes are educational, Donohue says.

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