Friday, September 24, 2010

Altered states

Penny at Clothing and Alterations on Willis Street is a marvel. Show her any imperfect-for-you garment and she'll fix it. She can not only take it in or up, she can also suggest fixes for the seemingly unfixable.

For instance, a pair of good quality black Foon leggings bought at the beginning of winter. Fine in the changing room, but the first time I wore them in real life, I was made miserable by their low rise.  The elasticated waist-band (a misnomer because it fell miles short of my waist, but what else to call it?) refused to stay hooked over my hip bones so the leggings kept slipping down. The result - ugliness, discomfort and insecurity. A muffin top that failed to be sleek under what I was wearing on top, and a fear that if what was on top happened to flip up due to Wellington wind or Wellington tango, I'd be in danger of revealing bum cleavage.

I suggested to Penny that we (meaning, she) might be able to add a band of similar black fabric at the top so the garment reached over my hips. She looked doubtful. Her suggestion was to work in a gusset at the crutch that tapered off down the inside of each leg.

So that's what she did, and it works - the leggings are now wearable, and the gusset looks like it was part of the original design.

Her latest triumph was straightening out an Ashley Fogel red silk top that must have slipped past quality control. It's a cut-on-the-bias camisole, and anyone who's ever sewn knows they can be the devil to hem. This one was all over the place - up in the back, where the lining fell too low, down in the front, and uneven at the sides. That's why Deb in Madison Rose let me have it for $30.

Penny had to cut the bottom  off and start again. So now it's shorter but even.
And did I mention how reasonable her charges are? 

Once upon a time I tackled all such projects myself. Now life seems too short. I'd rather do what I'm good at doing to earn the money to pay people like Penny to do what they're good at doing. Besides, lugging the sewing machine out of the cupboard of death is right up there with having to drag out the vaccuum cleaner.


  1. Thank you for bravely revealing the cupboard of death! Makes me feel much better about mine, not to mention the drawers of disaster and the garage of chaos... and I will be seeking Penny out very soon, she sounds like exactly the person I've been waiting for.

  2. Hah hah I have seen the infamously referenced cupboard(s) I feel so, so priviledged. Having just moved I have christened my former basement as the 'black hole'