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What alterations can a tailor make? | Oscar Jacobson

Your guide to alternations

Your guide

What alterations can a tailor make? What alterations should you avoid? Can you save a garment that is either too small or too big? These and several other questions will be answered in this article on tailoring.


There are several reasons to use a tailor. Or rather an alteration tailor. A traditional tailor sews clothes on demand (bespoke), while an alteration tailor makes alterations to finished garments (ready to wear). Most of us buy clothes off the rack and it has been that way since the beginning of the 20th century. That is why it is completely normal to customise garments so that they fit you.


It is generally easy to alter a pair of trousers. The most common alterations are length and waist alterations, but it is also popular to alter thigh width and foot width.

The perfect trouser length varies greatly depending on who you ask. But if you want to go for a classic length, you should make sure that the fabric does not fold at the back but falls over the shoe. The waist should be comfortable and stay in place without using a belt. The thigh and foot width of a pair of suit trousers should have a margin of a few centimetres, so that you are comfortable when sitting

If you end up between two sizes, it is often better to choose the larger one. Then it is easier for the tailor to re-measure the garment.



The blazer is the one garment that we men are the pickiest about, hence why it is the garment that we at Oscar Jacobson alter the most. The sleeve should end just above the wrist, so that the shirt cuff sticks out 1.5 centimetres when you are relaxed.

Another common alteration is to take in the back of the blazer in order to match the silhouette of the blazer with your body. If the fabric wrinkles below the neck, it means that your shoulders are straighter than the slope of the shoulder of the blazer. This is called a collar roll and can easily be fixed at the tailor’s.

You should really be aware of blazers that are too tight. Even though Oscar Jacobson is adding seam allowances to garments and the fact that it is possible to make a blazer larger, we advise against tight blazers whenever possible.



Technically, the coat is sewn just like a blazer and can therefore be altered the same way. However, the sleeve of the coat should fall one centimetre below the shirt cuff, so that the coat protects all the garments you have underneath. We recommend wearing a blazer when taking measurements for a coat, so that it is not re-measured to a size that is too small.



The most common shirt alterations are sleeve length and the taking in of the back. If you need to cut down the sleeves of your blazer, chances are you need to do the same thing with your shirt. Admittedly, there is room for margin of error on the shirt sleeve as you can tighten the cuff around your wrist. Watch out for shirt sleeves that hangs down over your wrist. These can be deceiving and make your blazer look too short.



No matter what fabric you buy, it will wear and might tear. And once again, the tailor saves the day. Tailors can mend and reinforce almost anything. Of course, certain holes and damage cannot be made invisible, but you can definitely extend the life of several of your garments with the help of a tailor.


Most tailoring companies also offer dry cleaning. However, we recommend that you use dry cleaning as seldom as possible as it is tough on the environment as well as on your clothes.

A good routine, however, is to dry clean wool coats and winter clothes before putting them away for the season. Storing clothes in a storage room also reduces the risk of vermin.


If you still have questions, do not hesitate to contact us. We partner with carefully selected tailoring companies in all cities where we have shops.