Tailors & Seamstresses

Parent Q&A

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  • Seeking talented tailor

    (2 replies)

    My friend in Toronto has a tailor who works magic on any piece of clothing--makes old things look new, makes new (and old) things fit like a glove, spins style out of the hopelessly unstylish. I'm looking for someone similar in the East Bay. Any recommendations?

    Thui (pronounced Twee) at Eclipse Alterations on Piedmont Avenue in Oakland is wonderful!

    Lisa Yi  1 (510) 778-3328. She tailors, makes clothes, costumes, furniture cushion covers…She does it all from her garage in El Cerrito. She was working out of a laundromat, but she was so good, that serious tailoring customers like me started seeing her at her house and making recommendations… she is now working from home full time which means she is available for fittings in the evenings and on weekends. I can’t say enough good things. Tell her miakoda sent you. 

  • jeans tailor for unusual body shape

    (3 replies)

    Hello community,Help! I need to find an awesome tailor who can alter or make jeans to fit a small waist and large hips. I've always had a hard time finding pants which fit, but since turning 50, it's become impossible. it seems that 10 pounds have migrated from my top half to the bottom. I'm 5/2" and am a size 10/12 in the waist and 14/16 through my hips.  Recently a tailor told me they can't change the fit as much as I need them to. A different tailor worked on another pair but one of the pockets is off center and they still don't fit correctly.  The whole situation is incredibly demoralizing and makes me feel like a freak. If you know of anyone who can work their magic to help with a problem like this, please let me know!

    I have always had a waist relatively much smaller than my hips, making it very hard to find pants/jeans/etc.  The stretchier material in jeans these days is helpful, but one strategy I used to employ a lot was buying larger jeans to accommodate my hips/butt/thighs (I've got gymnast thighs) and then having my seamstress make "tucks" in the waist to make the waist smaller.  Of course, then there is a smaller opening at the top of the jeans through which I usually have to do an athletic shimmy to fit my butt through.  But it works...most of the time.  Longer zippers or lower rise waists can increase the size of the opening at the top.  Stretchier material helps, too.  My seamstress is in El Cerrito, and she is maybe in her 80's now, but she still does my alterations.  She at least used to do original custom sewing ("dress-making"), but I have never used her for this.  Maybe she can make a pair of jeans for you?? Her name is Ms. P. Reilly.  (Her first name is Thai and means something else in English, so I'll just put "P" here.)  Her phone number is 510-526-7211.  She operates out of her home on Stockton Ave., El Cerrito.

    I would get a tailor to make your pieces rather than trying to alter ready to wear, or think about sewing the pieces you want yourself. These kinds of adjustments are pretty routine for the sewing community, and one of the reasons many people getting into "memade" garment making in the first place. For example, see Closet Case's founder's testimonial here, https://closetcasepatterns.com/about/

    I know that Douglas at Britex in SF (the wool guy) has a tailor he likes that could replicate some of your pieces to fit you now, but I don't know who it is. There are a couple of tailors on Piedmont Ave, as well as Piedmont Fabrics, and the staff there are really helpful and might have some ideas for you. There's a Meetup group for Bay Area sewists that is really friendly and great with helping people with their fitting issues. There's even a fitting event coming up this October. https://www.meetup.com/Bay-Area-Sewists/?scroll=true Good luck with this, it's not fun to fight your wardrobe.   

    As for pants... try custom pants with eShakti.

    PS - You might have a condition called Lipedema, like I do. Weight gain in lower half, especially after menopause. It's important to take care of yourself in a particular way if you have this chronic condition. https://www.webmd.com/women/guide/lipedema-symptoms-treatment-causes

  • Seamstress needed

    (2 replies)

    I am looking for someone to enlarge an embroidered sweatshirt zip-up by using the embroidered hoodie. Is there a recommendation for a seamstress/tailor?

    I love the quality of the tailoring work done at Unitailor on University Ave.

    I have been happy with Wendy Lo. She works out of her home located on Ashby near College Avenue in Berkeley. Her phone is (510) 652-9189‬

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Recommendations below are for dressmaking, tailors, alterations, hemming, and the like. For household items like curtains and slipcovers, see Custom Sewing .

Tailor to custom-make jeans

June 2012

I've tried a few of the online, mail-order jeans places and haven't been able to find what I want. I have a few older jeans of a style/brand combo no longer made. They fit and flatter me perfectly, and I'd like recommendations for a tailor willing and able to take one pair of them, and make more (and perhaps in a different color, even). East Bay area preferred. Cheap is not my primary concern, though I'd rather not pay hundreds of dollars for a single pair. Karen

For custom-made clothes for both men and women I highly recommend Todd Hudson. He is a highly experienced tailor who does lovely, quality work. You will be pleased with his work. I was. His number is: 510-823-5630. Roger

I need a tailor to make some pants

Sept 2011

Does anyone know a tailor with experience making pants from scratch? I don't want someone who simply does alterations, I want to bring them a pair of pants I love and have them create a pattern (or however they do it) from them. Any ideas what this will cost?

I highly recommend Thuy at Eclipse alterations on Piedmont Ave. in Oakland 510.923.9639. I am a personal shopper and I have given her name to many of my clients and I have used her myself for years. Of course, she does alterations mainly, because making only custom garments would not be enough business. She also carries a decent assortment of fabrics by the yard. Good luck! Maureen

Seamstress to resize my favorite jeans

April 2011

Hi There, Can anyone recommend a neat, capable, and inexpensive seamstress in the Oakland/Berkeley area? I recently lost 2-3 pants sizes and would like to have some of my favorite jeans re-sized. Has anyone had this done? I don't want to pay more than 15-20$per pair. Thanks so much! Anon

I'll be interested to see what responses you get, because my impression is that if you want resizing done right, you need to go to a tailor, and you will probably spend more than $15-20 per pair. Getting pants taken in properly (so they look good and fit you well) takes time and a certain amount of expertise, which a seamstress who is that cheap is unlikely to have. I take my pants & jeans to a tailor to be taken in, and I spend around $28.00 or more, depending upon the style. But, I know I'm getting the job done right. Maybe I'm wrong, though, and there's a good, inexpensive seamstress out there, so I'm curious to see what others have to say. Love My Tailor

love my jeans seamstress - she is affordable and recommended to me by ''chic'' on college. she is at Tower Cleaners on University avenue, down near the freeway entrance. margaret

Mary at Flamingo Cleaner & Tailoring in El Cerrito is the person to see. I recently lost 40 lbs and she took in a ton of my pants and blouses. She has also hemmed a lot of my jeans and made repairs. I really can't recommend her enough. Kate

Tailor for Vintage Wedding Dress?

March 2011

Hi, I'm getting married this summer and I am looking for a tailor for my vintage wedding dress. The dress is great but needs some serious work -- ideally, I'm looking for someone who works with vintage clothing and would be able to help carry out my vision. I would happily travel throughout the greater bay region. Thanks! in search of tailor

Cathy at alameda sewing cottage. She does all sorts of tailoring and came highly recommended. While she does lots of wedding dresses, I imagine she could do anything. She took a too long wool (think east coast) coat and made it short & cute and shortened a too long fancy dress.. But she also does original work - lots and lots of dresses of all kinds. I would definitely meet with her and go from there. 523-3307. Good luck

Hello - Kathleen Crowley is an expert on vintage clothing and an amazing tailor. She also does wedding couture so would be the great for your dress. Her work is gorgeous. http://www.kathleencrowley.com congrats on the wedding! Carleigh

Try Karen Stern at The Repair Studio at 1625 Shattuck Avenue in N. Berkeley. She is a complete whiz with all kind of antique textiles including dresses. Whether it's lace tears or mothball holes, I've been bringing things to her for 'wardrobe tuneups'for years. She's fast and fair. http://www.quiltrepair.com/ and this article gives you some color about her: http://articles.sfgate.com/2007-04-18/home-and-garden/17240807_1_quilts-art-institute-textiles jane

2008 - 2010 recommendations

Dressmaker-seamstress to make a bathrobe

Jan 2010

I am looking for a dressmaker to make a long bathrobe. I have a specific idea of what I want but no pattern. I am hoping to find someone who can make the pattern and sew the garment. Lucy

Anne Ventresco, in Montclair, does alterations and custom work out of her home at very reasonable prices. Her specialty is wedding wear (Endorsement: I'm a wedding coordinator, and I not only recommend her to clients but I used her services for my own wedding!) http://www.anneventresco.com/ Nelle

To the posters looking for a dressmaker and tailor -- there's a newish dressmaking shop on College Avenue near Ashby, where the old Elmwood Hardware used to be. I haven't used them but they look cool and I'm rooting for them - might be worth checking out. I can't remember the name but it's next door to Vintage Berkeley wine store. Elmwooder

Tailor to shorten dress pants

Jan 2010

I'd love a recommendation for a tailor for shortening some dress pants and jeans in Berkeley, El Cerrito, or Albany. It would be great to know approximately how much I would expect to pay for shortening as I have a large pile of deferred tailoring.

Look no further than Advanced European Tailoring: 2114 Addison St (between Oxford St & Shattuck Ave) Berkeley (510) 843-3881 They charge about $10 for a basic hem - a little more if its a fancy fabric or you want tapering, etc - but the work is meticulous, on time, and friendly. Check out their rave reviews on Yelp - they are the best. my search is over

Tailor who can copy clothing

Oct 2009

I'm looking for a tailor who can copy a women's shirt using fabric I would supply -- something along the lines of what tailors in India and other parts of Asia do. I know there are high-end dressmakers out there, but I'm looking for something a little more affordable. Thanks.

My friend had a dress copied at Margene's on Grand Avenue in Oakland. She took a 1940s vintage dress and had it copied in white for her wedding dress. It came out great.

Seamstress to shorten wedding dress

Sept 2009

Can anyone recommend a reasonably priced seamstress to shorten a wedding dress? Berkeley/Oakland/Alameda area preferred.

Uni Tailor, on University near Milvia in Berkeley, is reliable and very reasonably priced. Successfully Shortened

Hem pants, replace a zipper

April 2009

I am looking for someone to do some sewing for me- hem some pants, maybe replace a zipper. Would appreciate any recommendations for someone moderately priced working in the Berkeley, Albany, North Oakland area. Thanks. anon

I would highly recommend the UniTailor on University Avenue in Berkeley. The shop is maybe three or four blocks west of Shattuck. She does amazing work for unbelievable prices. She completely altered my wedding dress (including re-beading around a replaced zipper) in no time flat for something ridiculous like under $100. My husband's also had pants hemmed there and again, quick quality service for very reasonable prices. Couldn't imagine taking my clothes anywhere else! Very Happy Customer

Hi I can highly recommend John the Fashion Taylor at 4129 Broadway in Oakland.(510)597-1410. We have gone to him on random occasions over the years. He is fast, does quality work for a reasonable price,recently, he did a wonderful job changing my son's zipper on his reversible jacket. Denise

Need jeans altered

Jan 2009

i have numerous pants & jeans that i need altered (length, seat and rise.) i'm looking for someone to alter them at a reasonable price. i've been to Shirley's on lakeshore ave (highly recommended)and she did a great job, but she is super expensive. Maybe i'm wrong, but it seems to me that alterations should not be more than $10-15. Anyway, recommendations would be appreciated, preferably in oakland, but open to other nearby areas. thanks!

My family has consistently used one place for 25 years: Golden Needle Tailors on Encianl Aveenue at Lafayette (Gold Coast section)in Alameda. Their work is priced right, the staff is kind, they are experts and overall: superb. Louise

I go to ''John the Fashion Tailor'' on Broadway at 41st Street 4129 Broadway Oakland, CA 94611 (510) 597-1410 His prices are quite reasonable and he is fast. He is a young man with small kids and its a pleasure to support him anon

I love Sammy at Made to Fit in Danville. She is very sweet, provides expert tailoring, and is very reasonable. Kirsti

Your local dry cleaners probaby provides alteration services. My cleaner is Claremont Cleaners on Ashby - they do fast inepensive repairs, hemming, and alterations.

Sept 2008

I'm looking for an excellent seamstress/tailor to fit a 1950's dress that is too large for me. I've looked in the previous recommendation but am hoping for something more recent. Thanks!

I've been happy with Uni Tailor on University near Milvia in Berkeley. A Berkeley resident

I would highly recommend Shirley''s on Lakeshore Ave, near Mandana. She's terrific, and reasonably priced. PK

May 2008

I tortured myself trying to find a bathing suit to take on my trip to Hawaii. After 100's of trys, I finally found a bathing suit i can live with...but its a little on the big side and the straps aren't quite right. (The price was right). I have a little experience with sewing but not with this type of fabric. I would like to find someone who can alter this (I am in Emeryville) or get some advice on how to do it myself. Can i do alterations to a bathing suit on a regular machine and do i need a special needle and thread? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks Handy sewer but willing to farm out the work if necessary!

A bathing suit shouldn't be a problem if you have a machine and can use it. Get a needle for knits. It is called a round point needle. Doesn't cost much more than regular needles... Set your stitches wide. That's so you don't break the rubber strip in the straps. Use a long zig zag and don't pull the material. Let the feed dogs move it. Done!

I just had Louise Austine, who I found on this site, alter a bathing suit that was too large. She did a good job at a fair price. She's in Oakland at 839-8419. anon

2004 - 2007 recommendations

Sept 2007

I'm looking for a tailor in Oakland or Berkeley to alter some clothes (both mine and my husband's). The most recent recommendations are from a year and a half ago so any new people to try would be a great help. Thanks! Shauna

There's a very good tailor behind Jupiter Bar in downtown Berkeley--in the little group of businesses next the the Jupiter Bar's outdoor courtyard. I just walk in and they have me try on whatever I want adjusted and we work out a solution--then I go and pick up the garment after three days. Sample prices--$7 for a pants hemline adjustment, $9 for shortening jeans while retaining the original hem. Short inseam

Feb 2007

Hi - I'm looking for someone who can take a look at the design of our baby hammock and emulate it almost exactly but in a larger version. Any ideas or recommendations? jamie

I'd like to recommend Madelin Wolf as a terrific seamstress. I believe that she can do anything involving fabric! She's an artist and makes quilts for special occasions, and she's also done things like sew on athletic letters to blankets for me, and repair a Guatemalan skirt made of a gazillion different fabric patches, some of which were fraying and had to be removed and re-pieced. She's in West Berkeley near Juan's Place (1025 Carleton - and 7th?)and her numbers are 334-6671 and 644-2063. Tell her I sent you! Jann

[ Editor Note Nov 2008 Madelin Wolf specializes in quilt restoration and quilting, and occasionally makes other small items. She does not do alterations.]

Feb 2007

I am looking for a seamstress to alter a bridesmaids dress for a wedding this spring. Does anyone have any recommendations, preferably in El Cerrito, Albany, or Berkeley? Thank you! Anna

I had a bridesmaid dress altered last summer - I think they're called Hopkins Launderette, on Hopkins between Monterey & Sacramento - she was fantastically quick and it fit perfectly at a reasonable price!

August 2006

I just bought some new jeans and they are way too long! Does anyone have a suggestion for where to get jeans hemmed? I would like the hem to look as close to the current hem as possible. Someone mentioned that it might be good to cut off the current hem and sew it back on the new, shortened length, so I might do that. Suggestions for experienced tailors in Lamorinda, Berkeley, Oakland would be helpful! Thanks! Amy

Great woman named Wendy . Her business is called Sew Much the Better and is located in the back of ielle clothing store on College Avenue. Anon

I found a great seamstress who did wonderful things on my clothes - I have not had her do any work on jeans but I am sure she can handle it: her name is Wendy Lo, 3206 College Ave, 510 652 9189. She has a little shop in the back of the i-elle Clothing store (across from Safeway near Clairemont Ave) sd

The seamstress at Sunny Piedmont Cleaners on Piedmont Ave in the small shopping area in between the video store and the Honey Baked Ham store is excellent. I cannot recall her name, but they only have one seamstress and the jeans will look as though you just purchased after she has shortened the hem. She does a great job on shirt and suit sleeves, too anon.

Definitely go see Wendy! I can't find her card right now, but her shop is located in the back of I Elle (used to be Ovation) at 3206 College Avenue in Rockridge. She just hemmed a pair of high end jeans for me and they look fabulous! Another shorty

You don't need an experienced taylor for this! Go to any drycleaner you trust - most have someone who can do this sort of thing on staff. If you cut off the pant leg at the proper length and then re- attach the ''good hem'' it will look wierd! Find someone who communicates well (English) so you can be sure he/she knows exactly what you expect the result to be. We go up the street to our neighborhood dry cleaner, use some sign language and simple english and have never had a bad result with our alterations. I wish you the same luck! Sew simple!

the fabric store at piedmont/john in oakland (across from piedmont elementary school) does great hemming and mending.

We love Norge Cleaners, in El Cerrito on San Pablo across from the plaza. They have a wonderful seamstress. We wholeheartedly recommend them!

March 2006

I would like a recommendation for a talented, flexible tailor who can do anything from remaking a suit to hemming a jacket. Preferably this person will be in Berkeley or Oakland. Thanks. trisha

I recommend Advanced European Tailoring in Trumpetvine Square in downtown Berkeley. The guy is sweet, does good, swift work, and his rates are reasonable. Auntie M

A fantastic tailor at a great price: Tuay (Twee) at Eclipse. She owns the shop where she also sells cloth, imported clothes, and things she makes.

Eclipse Custom Embroidery, 4299 Piedmont Ave, Oakland, 923- 9639.

I have been happy with all the work she's done on my clothes and jackets, and she's on time and not expensive. I've seen her work on furniture for other customers while I was waiting to talk to her, and she's made custom fitted silk tableclothes and such for me. All very fine work.

I go to a tailor in Albany, on San Pablo, that is fantastic. I can't quite remember the name of his shop - maybe Bahrain Tailor - but it is right next door to the drive through carwash, just a block or two south of El Cerrito Plaza, I think, on the opposite side of the street from the Plaza. Next door to a Norge Cleaner.

The fellow that owns this shop is not just a tailor, but also sells mens suits in his shop. He is incredibly talented - I have brought him many business suits which need major tailoring, and he alters them so that they fit just perfectly. Much better than the typical dry cleaner shop tailor! anon

I highly recommend Bert Hajnal, the proprietor at Berkeley Sewing Center at 2059 University Ave @ Shattuck. About 6 years ago I wanted flannel, hooded robes for my kids (now 10 and 12) and could not find them anywhere. I bought fabric and pattern, since I can sew basic stuff, but I never got it started. Took the whole thing to Bert, who made them up for me (reversible - pattern on one side, plain on the other, pockets on both sides, double belt loops etc. etc. ) Because they were reversible, it was not cheap - but the guys have worn them throughout 5+ years of growth, so it was a great investment. And they are still wearing them! though the 12 year old doesn't have many years left for his.

They did a great job (I think Bert's wife was working there too.) - very happily tailored

June 2005

I'm looking for a tailor that can do very quality fast work in or near Alameda (although I'll take recommendations for someone very good anywhere in the east bay). I'm having a baby at the end of June and am wearing a very detailed and delicate bridesmaid dress at the end of August. The dress cost a lot (over $300) so I want to make sure that the tailoring is done well. Also, because my body will be changing daily, I want to get it tailored as last minute as possible so someone accomodating would be great. THANKS! Karen

try Irina Studio on Piedmont Avenue just above the Piedmont theatre. She rebuilt a bridesmaids dress that was 2 sizes too big and make it look really great. She has also done smaller jobs for me and everything always looks great. Good luck

March 2005

I have quite a few punjabi and other more modern-style Indian outfits which need alterations of various sorts, or pants made to match, etc. Any recommendations on tailors/shops experienced and of reliable quality for this type of work in the East Bay? My in-laws have places they use in the South Bay but I'd rather get the work done closer to Oakland/Berkeley. Susan

There are several sari shops in Berkeley, mostly on University Ave. Why not call one of them and see if they do alterations, or if they don't, if they could recommend someone? --But I don't know anything else about saris

There are many options in Berkeley on University Avenue. I was part of a South Asian organization at UCB and we used some of the tailors there to make outfits for our dance performances and events. Sorry that I cannot name a specific store, but at least you get a good variety of options in that area. Pearl

Jan 2005

I am looking for a tailor/seamstress to do some alterations on adult women's clothing such as taking a dress in, removing sleeves and collars, and fixing shoulders that have stretched out of shape. I would prefer someone in the El Cerrito/Richmond/Albany/North Berkeley area. Any recommendations? Thank you. Michelle

The alterations shop on Solano (down by San Pablo) does a really good job. I think it's called Mary's - they are across from the post office, next to a Thai restaurant and Thai gift shop. Don't let the dorky maniquins with out-of-date clothing on them scare you, they do a really good job. anon

June 2004

Seeking a seamstress for a small run of sample garments. We have the pattern & materials. We're new to the garment/sewing industry & looking for someone to help develop our design. Layla

I highly recommend Louise Austrie, who worked for many years at Margene's (sp?) Bridal in Oakland. She is just off Grand near the Lake in Oakland, and she is fast, friendly, and extremely talented. She is truly a pleasure to work with! 510-839-8419 Tracy

Jan 2004

Hi: Where can I get some pants hemmed inexpensively in Berkeley/Albany or El Cerrito. Thanks Lisa

Try Norge Cleaners on San Pablo Avenue, in Albany/El Cerrito. It's next to the car wash. The seamstress does a good job. anon

Before I got a sewing machine, I used to get my pants hemmed at a dry cleaner's on Fairmont in El Cerrito. I can't remember the name... It's the little place down the street from Fat Apple's on Fairmont (not the one up the street on the corner). They are right next to the alley and always have lots of blue bundles in their window. They had the best price and always did a good job. I'm sure the price has gone up, but 8 years ago it was $8. 5'2''

I can recommend Rose's Tailoring in downtown Oakland. Don't have the number handy but she is listed. She does a great job and only charges $8 for unlined and $10 for lined pants. Mary

May 2004

I am going to be a bridesmaid in my best friend's wedding this summer. The dress is from New York, but I need to have it altered here. I suspect it will need some significant alterations because they asked for my measurements six months ago, about 3 weeks after I gave birth (you know we're good friends because I actually measured myself and told her the numbers!). I'm looking for an expert seamstress to make the dress fit properly. I checked the website but the recommendations were from 2001. Thanks in advance! Old Friend With New Curves

I strongly recommend Bonnie Carpenter, on Piedmont avenue. I believe she is one of the people previously recommended. I went to her for possible alterations for my wedding dress. I ended up not having her do it, not because she isn't good, but because she actually helped me to see that I didn't really need the alterations done (my dress looked beautiful the way it was), after she had discussed my options with me. On top of that, she sold me a nice garment bag for really cheap and gave me advice as to where to go to find a nice slip or other undergarment to make my dress look even nicer on me. My point is, she helped me a lot, and actually dissueded me from using her services. I was so impressed with her integrity and helpfulness (as well as her work, which I could see all over her studio) that I have vowed to recommend her to anyone and every one that asks. Please at least visit her. She's above a florists shop at the cemetery end of Piedmont Ave.
Bonnie Carpenter fan

2003 and earlier

Nov 2003

I was wondering if anyone has found other tailors to add to the list. I'm a petite woman who often needs to hem pants and jacket sleeves. Judy

Hi, My friend Susan is an excellent seamstress, and has been sewing nearly all her life! She recently started her own business doing alterations, custom work and costumes. She lives in San Francisco and works out of her home. She can be reached at: 415.518.7672 or sfbongo AT yahoo.com Michelle

I work with an excellent tailor named Kalim Quevedo. His number is 510-628-0991. His skills are impressive, and his rates are affordable. Suellen

Aug 2003

I am looking for a tailor (preferably in Berkeley or locally) to alter some newly purchased suits (women's). Jeanne

try Shirley's (the owner's name is Veda) on Lakeshore near Papyrus. she's great! stacy

Try the Berkeley Sewing Center at 2059 University (between Shattuck and Milvia), phone: 848-4224. The (Hungarian) owner has tailored a number of women's suits for me. He works quickly, is not expensive, and I have always been happy with the results. par

May 2003

My husband wears out the fabric on his right-hand pants pocket in his suits. The white lining starts showing (where the back of his hand would be if his hand was in his pocket). Can a tailor fix this? We're having to replace his suits frequently, when the only problem is the pocket. He's going to try to keep his change and keys elsewhere, but what to do about the existing damage? Can't afford new suits

Yes, a tailor should absolutely be able to replace just the pants pocket if it is the pocket itself that's worn out and not the face of the pants in front of the pocket. The only challenge I can foresee would be if it's difficult to find fabric to match the suit -- that is, if the top part of the pocket lining (that shows) has to be replaced. I'd call around to a few tailors (check the phone book or the staff at fabric stores) and ask about it. dpbrenner

There's a process called reweaving that repairs holes in fabric. It seems matching threads are sewn/woven across the hole. Never had any use for the service but found this on google.com: http://www.withoutatrace.com/reweaving.html For your next suits, try buying additional pants. Lands' End sells mens' suits with jacket and pants separately. Suit pants are always the first to go. It's either the pockets, seat or knees. Suit jackets can always be reused as blazers, especially if you replace the buttons with more casual ones, which can be found in fabric stores. kim

April 2003

I need a seamstress for making (possibly designing) men's and women's shirts for my band (25 members). Any recommendations? thanks, Kathy

Wendy Lo (www.sewmuchthebetter.com), who has a workspace in Ovation Clothing Store at 3206 College Avenue in Rockridge. Very pleasant and does excellent work. Ben

Jean Fredrickson is a fabulous seamstress and clothes maker- is very versatile and talented. She made my wedding dress, including doing the design for it and it came out very beautiful. Her phone number is 415-242-4043. andrea

2003 and earlier

March 2003

Does anybody have a good seamstress for hems and minor alterations near Lafayette or Walnut Creek? None were listed on the site. Thanks. Linda

I forget the name of the tailor, but he's located in the Forge in Lafayette, behind Bo's Barbecue and Cafe Barbara. He altered a bridesmaid's dress for me this past September and did a fine job. You might also ask at Lafayette Sewing Center (just up the road on Brown Ave.) for a referral. I take sewing classes there and they have a few quality people they refer people to--they don't actually do the alterations there. Christina

Jan 2003

I will be a bridesmaid in May and am looking for a seamstress to help make my skirt as well as the four other bridesmaids' skirts. One of the bridesmaids, however, will be 6 1/2 months pregnant so I'm hoping to find someone who has experience working with expanding waistlines. I live in Walnut Creek but can travel. Thanks. Shannon

I highly recommend Louise Austrie. She spent many years working at Margene's on Grand Ave, but now works out of her home in Oakland near Lake Merritt. She made my wedding dress in less than 6 weeks, and it was truly one of a kind (I told her exactly what I wanted because I knew what I was looking for but couldn't find it in any stores). She was a pleasure to work with, very fast and very helpful as far as advising me on what fabric to buy, where to buy it, where to buy trim, etc. She is as nice as she is talented! Her # is 839-8419 Tracy

September 2001

I am getting married on Oct. 28 and want a simple yet elegant gown. I am over 40 and have a kid (obviously) so I do not want the traditional bridal gown. I have not seen anything I like (and can afford) in any stores or magazines, but I can envision what I want and think I can describe it to a dressmaker. Does anyone know how much this would cost? I don't want lace and beading, which I assume add to expense. Has anyone had a wedding dress made from scratch for a reasonable price and/or on short notice by a seamstress in the Berkeley/Oakland area?? I have read the information already on the website but would love information specifically about having a gown made from scratch quickly! Traci

Anne Ventresco in Montclair makes and alters wedding dresses, although I'm not sure that she can work within your schedule. Her number is (510) 339.3377 Christine

For a wedding dress: try Susan Marchionna 510-841-1026 Extraordinary woman who makes very special dresses for all occasions Sherry

I'm looking for someone to sew a bridesmaid dress for my 9 year old daughter, needed by mid-July. I have the fabric and the pattern, just need the labor (the pattern says it Fast and Easy, but I can't sew...so..) Pls email with any leads. Thanks, Judy

I have two friends who work at Bridal Stores. The one is in Pittsburg her name is Eleni Feradouros phone number925-439-8178, the other is in Pleasant Hill her name is Despina Skoumbas her number is 925-938-1452, good luck. Eleni is a very dear friend of mine. -- Elena

I recommend Louise's in Oakland on 401 Burk, near Grand Lake theatre and just across from the lake. Louise did my wedding dress years ago when she worked at Margene's on Grand Ave. and has done all my alterations since. She is now running her own business out of her home. Her phone number is 839-8419. -- April

I highly recommend Margene's on Grand Ave. in Oakland. Margene has some 20 years or more sewing experience that includes making attendant dresses, bridal gown alterations, and regular dress/shirt making. She also teaches sewing at Piedmont Adult school. On of my attendants had Margene make her gown and she did a beautiful job. We provided the fabric and the pattern. Margene was very helpful in making suggestions to salvage the dress when it turned out that part of the fabric we bought had a major flaw in the middle of the piece and it was impossible to match it (it was triple ply navy velvet). She did a terrific job and my friend and I were very pleased with the dress. I don't have the number with me but she is in the book under bridal shops. She also rents dresses, too. Margene is pretty busy this time of year so you may want to call her and make an appoinment as soon as possible. The shop is located about a block and a half above the Grand Lake theatre (the cross street is Mandana). Hope this helps. -- Jeanette


Can anyone recommend a good, reasonably priced men's suit tailor, preferably in or close to Berkeley? My husband is 5'6 and has a terrible time finding any suits that fit. There are a bunch of tailors on University Ave, close-by, but I have no idea if they're any good... I'd greatly appreciate a reference. Thanks! Barbara

Over the past eight years, I've always gone to Jim the Tailor, at 2436 Channing Way, just west of Telegraph Ave. He's been around for years and always does a good job. Stefanie

Sorry, I can't remember the name of the tailor (it's been a while and we now live out of town), but my partner and I both used this woman for years and she did a fantastic job on all our clothes including remaking a dress that I wore to our commitment ceremony. She is located on Piedmont Avenue in Oakland on the same side of the street as the Piedmont Theater. If you're facing the theater, she is to the left, very close to a jewlery place and a shoe repair. Maybe her name is Irena. Hope this helps. Sternhickey


Guinnchang Can anyone recommend an affordable, expert tailor to alter several lined, custom-made jackets? I need to have the existing, huge shoulder pads taken out (remember the days of Dynasty?) and much smaller ones sewn in their place. This may also require altering the width of the shoulders and/or shortening the sleeves. I need to have this done within the next 4 weeks for an upcoming trip. Thanks for any recommendations I saw the recommendations from last August for Jim the Tailor and someone else -- name unknown -- on Piedmont Ave. I'd appreciate getting the name/number of the person on Piedmont Ave or info of other tailors in and around the Montclair area of Oakland.)

Recommendation for a Taylor: Evelyn's Fashion Store 3224 Fruitvale Avenue Oakland, CA 510-436-5088
She is excellent! I have used her services for a two piece, lined suit. My measurements were taken, I went back for a fitting once and the turn around same/next day. Members of my Lodge use her services each year. She is usually booked but she has a staff. She has a small shop at the Fruitvale exist on/off. Carolyn

July 2001

I'm seeking a tailor to alter some expensive, but out-of-style, garments to bring them up to date. I've seen the postings on alterations, but what I need is a creative tailor with taste and an eye for fashion. Can anyone recommend a tailor who can re-style, rather than merely re-size, clothing? Siobhan

Bonnie Carpenter has an MFA and does original designs in addition to standard alterations. She's on Piedmont Avenue in Oakland (at Pleasant Valley Road). I highly recommend her: 652-6936. -- Ilana

From: Barbara

Try Great American Dry Cleaners at El Cerrito Plaza on San Pablo.

From: Margy

I have had good luck with two tailors in Berkeley -- one is Jim the Tailor at 2436 Channing Way (near Telegraph)and the other is Berkeley Sewing at 2056 University. Jim is a bit more expensive but a fantastic tailor. Berkeley Sewing is very good as well.

From: April

I have all my alterations done by a seamstress named Louise who is at 401 Burk near Lake Merrit and Fairyland in Oakland. She works out of her home, is fairly reasonable, very quick, and a pleasure to work with. Her number is 839-8419.