Amaranth Designs Spring/Summer 2024 'Delightful' is now available!

Amaranth Designs - February Newsletter/Blog

February 20, 2021

Amaranth Designs - February Newsletter/Blog


You might know me as a designer, creating clothes from scratch that you then buy to take home and wear right away. That’s the biggest part of my business, but I also do other things! Last month, I gave you a quick overview of my services: collections to custom work, pattern making and garment duplication to constructing pieces using your own patterns and fabric.

Today I want to talk about my alteration and tailoring services—and the difference between the two. Those two terms often get used interchangeably, but they’re not exactly the same. If you know the difference, you’ll know what to ask for, and be prepared for the process and the price.

Let’s start with alterations, since they’re the simpler and more common of the two. I often do alterations on pieces from my own collection, because these are the small tweaks to relatively simple garments. These are some of the most frequent alterations I do:

  • Hemming pants, dresses and skirts
  • Taking in the waist
  • Shortening sleeves
  • Changing zippers

These are small changes, but they can make a big difference to how you look and feel in your clothes. Alterations can help with fit, function, and comfort! Sometimes you have to make alterations right away—short folks know those pants have to be hemmed before the first wear—but other times it’s about making changes you didn’t realize you needed until you found yourself adjusting your clothes over and over. Is your skirt constantly slipping down? Are you shoving the sleeves up your arms all day? An alteration can fix that!

Alterations can even give an old piece at the back of your closet new life. Hemlines and silhouettes change all the time, so you might be able to update something that seemed hopelessly out of fashion. And who among us doesn’t have that piece you thought looked perfect online or on the rack, but it just doesn’t fit right? Alterations to the rescue!

Since alterations are fairly simple, they also tend to be quick. Usually, it’s one fitting to mark or discuss the changes and we check the fit when you pick it up to be sure. On my end it’s mostly a careful cut and sew, so it doesn’t take too long, which means you’re in your snazzy duds soon.

Tailoring is more intense than alterations, more time consuming, and more expensive. Bigger changes to the garment count as tailoring: adding new elements such as collars, cuffs, and pockets. (I know my people love their pockets.) Structured and complex garments also end up as tailoring instead of alterations. Think suits, jackets, and formal dresses.

When you’re dealing with big changes, many layers of fabric, and serious construction, it means taking your time and testing along the way. We may need a few fittings to check the changes, and the reconstruction process is more complicated than with alterations.

Skill and experience is vital when tailoring. Most of us have had a little hemming done by a friend with a sewing machine, but you can’t trust a suit or gown to just anyone. The last thing you want is a shoddy result—or even worse, a ruined piece. You want someone who does the work with care, dedication, and attention to detail.

With more than 20 years’ experience and dozens of collections under my belt, I have the expertise to take your so-so, off-the-rack items and make them look like custom pieces. You can trust me with your vintage items and your boutique purchases.

But alterations and tailoring have their limits. It’s much easier to shorten and take pieces in than it is to let them out or lengthen them—especially for cheaper items with little seam allowance. I’m good, but I’m not a miracle worker!

Of course, if alterations and tailoring won’t do the job, we have other options…but that’s a chat for another day. Same time next month?

If you’re in the market for alterations or tailoring, send me an email at!

And the shop is always open for my collections and ready-to-wear designs at Pockets are already included in most, so don’t worry about getting those tailored!

Also in News

The Joys of Steady Sizing
The Joys of Steady Sizing

July 29, 2022

That consistency in sizing is even more important in the age of online shopping. There’s nothing quite as frustrating as spending all that time browsing and then waiting for a piece to arrive, only for it to completely disappoint when you put it on.

Continue Reading

Fashion Phrases: Is it the size or is it the cut?
Fashion Phrases: Is it the size or is it the cut?

July 10, 2022

One of the biggest complaints in fashion today, especially women’s fashion, is how inconsistent sizing can be. Though there is a call to standardize clothing sizes, something tells me it’s going to be a long time before we get there. Vanity sizing has been shifting what classifies as small, medium, or large (or size 10, 12, etc.) for decades, and those ad hoc sizes are emotionally loaded for a lot of shoppers.

Continue Reading

Day to night, work to play: Amaranth Designs has you covered!
Day to night, work to play: Amaranth Designs has you covered!

June 01, 2022

Versatility is one of my top design considerations. When I am creating pieces, I want you to be able to wear them anywhere and in all seasons. Amaranth Designs clothing can be dressed up or down, which means your comfortable vacation clothes also look fantastic at the office—which makes it a little easier to pretend you’re on a sunny beach instead of at a desk next to the window, right?

Continue Reading