Adventures in Alterations – Plaid Madewell Vest


Please note: I enjoy sharing my before and after alteration posts to give others an idea of what the magic of a good tailor can do for people who a) don’t necessarily fit today’s sizing conventions, or b) enjoy fashions that may not fit right off the rack (such as thrift shoppers and vintage lovers). Please use these posts only as a learning tool, and understand that leaving items in the (hopefully capable and skilled) hands of a tailor comes with its own risks, as well as rewards. Enjoy! =)

Here’s a quick Adventures in Alterations for you featuring this plaid vest worn on the blog last week. It didn’t undergo anything too major, but I think the alterations made a pretty big difference in how it feels on me. Since I like to share my reasoning behind choosing an item for keeps and alterations, here are some of my criteria it met.

Garment Type – A long vest is one of those items I’ve been trying to make work on my frame for a while now. After many failures, this one finally worked out well, and I was happy to make the necessary adjustments to make it fit even better. Checking a long wanted item off my wish list always feels good. =)

Special Details – A few great details came together to make this vest a winner for me. These include the wool-blend fabric in a beautiful charcoal grey and blue plaid, faux-leather details along the side pockets and under the collar, and self-tie which cinches in the waist in a really flattering way when tied in back.

Style – The texture, color, fabric, and special details harken back to that menswear inspiration I love so much, and complements the rest of my wardrobe nicely.

The alteration details are below:


Shoulder – was narrowed just a bit because I felt it protruded too far off my shoulder off-the-rack. It could possibly be narrowed even more, but for now I’m happy with the way it balances my hips.

Length – was shortened to a few inches above my knee. The off-the-rack length was fine if worn with heels, but when I changed into flats, I felt it pulled me down and swallowed me up. Taking up the length just a few inches feels much better and lighter, no matter what my shoe choice.

Pretty simple, right? The total cost of these two alterations was somewhere in the $30 range. I hope you found this helpful and/or interesting, and as always, thanks for reading!

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  1. says: Lily


    I saw a link for tailors by location, but the link doesn’t work.

    i’m looking for a good tailor for petites in the nyc area.

    1. says: Alterations Needed

      Hi Lily,

      Sorry about that! Here’s the list (please excuse the sad state of that blog, it’s an old one I was working on but haven’t touched in a while). I need to create a new list and/or add it to this blog I think. =P

      *edit* see new link posted in comment below.

    1. says: Alterations Needed

      Hi Tina, I’ve gone to the first 3 tailors on that list over the course of several years. The tailor that did this vest is Kim’s in San Diego. Another tailor I’ve had a lot of work done with is Hector’s Tailor Shop in West Hollywood.

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