Spend less at the seamstress with these penny-pinching tips from a professional tailor.

By an anonymous tailor, as told to Shivani Vora
Updated November 21, 2011
Illustration of tailor and client
Credit: Papercut.fr

"Be patient. Give your seamstress at least two weeks to do the work. You could pay up to 20 percent more if you need it to be done in a week or less. What's more, if you wait until after the holidays to have your clothes resized, you can negotiate up to 25 percent off, because January and February are two of the slowest months for tailors. (August is the third.)

"Being loyal to your tailor also has its benefits: Regular clients often aren't charged for minor fixes, like sewing on a button or repairing a loose hem. (Infrequent customers should expect to pay $3 to $5 for these jobs.) And if you're having pricier work done on a garment—something that costs more than $100—you might be able to get a small repair thrown in for free. You can also get free tailoring from major retailers. If you're about to buy something from a boutique or a department store (think Bloomingdale's and Saks Fifth Avenue), ask if its tailor can do the alterations on the house. And one final tip: It's possible to use washable hem tape [$5 to $10 a roll, at craft stores] to change the length of pants, skirts, and dresses, as long as they don't have a lining and aren't made of a delicate material, like silk or chiffon. Doing that will save you $10 to $20 for each piece of clothing."