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5 Essential Tailoring Terms to Know August 28, 2019

Midtown East, Manhattan
5 Essential Tailoring Terms to Know, Manhattan, New York

Tailoring your garments allows you to dress comfortably and look sharp in everything you wear. Before you bring any clothes in for adjustments, you should think about what you want to get done. You’ll have to clearly explain your needs to the tailor, so it helps to know the terminology. Here are five common terms you should know about clothing alterations.

Important Tailoring Terminology

1. Hem

Many people are aware that the hem is located along the edge of the fabric and is sewn to prevent unraveling. However, you might not have known that some clothes, trousers in particular, are sold unhemmed to allow for easy tailoring. Hemming your pants involves changing the length of their legs.

2. Taking In/Letting Out

tailoringTaking in and letting out a garment means making it smaller or bigger, respectively. For instance, if a shirt is too tight on your arms, you would ask for your tailor to let out the sleeves. Letting out only works if there is enough extra fabric to work with. Taking in is much more complicated than it sounds, as the tailor must unsew the seam, resew deeper into the piece, and potentially reshape nearby seams, all while keeping everything proportionate.

3. Darts

If you’re tailoring clothing to accentuate your figure, you might ask to add darts. These involve folding over and sewing parts of the fabric to define the shape of the wearer. Dresses, blouses, suit jackets, and dress shirts are popular garments for darting.

4. Break

The break is the amount of fabric that rests against the wearer’s shoes. This is a facet of hemming that only applies to pants, and it will tell your tailor how long you want the legs to be. Requesting no break would mean the pant legs should barely touch the tops of your shoes, while a full break would leave enough fabric for one full fold.

5. Inseam

Getting your inseam to fit just right is a critical part of your comfort. The inseam binds the inner pant leg and is measured as the length between the bottom of the crotch to the lower ankle. When you’re looking at pant sizes, the inseam is what the length is referring to. Your tailor will take your inseam measurements when altering any type of pants.


Whether you need a regular tailor or a one-time adjustment, you can rely on 6 Avenue Tailor to get the perfect fit. This Midtown tailor has been providing expert alteration services for over 30 years. As New York City’s premier tailoring service, they will handle just about any garment, from bridal gowns to your favorite pair of jeans. Call (212) 593-1925 or visit them online to learn more about their services.