Alter your views to get a fix on repairs
Where once we might have jettisoned broken or ill-fitting items as if they were junk, now it is easy to find experts to carry out repairs or alterations – and all for a reasonable price, writes RUTH O'CONNOR
THEY SAY THAT a stitch in time saves nine, but if you didn’t quite get a chance to make the necessary repairs, it’s never too late to put things right. It’s not just Bob the Builder and Barack Obama who can fix things, there are people all around us who can repair almost anything, from furniture to old radios, computers and iPods to antique clocks.
One of these is Eamon Corrigan, who owns the Alteration Centre on Dublin’s South Anne Street (01- 6776258). The business, which opened in 1964, used to be run by Michael Cleary. Corrigan’s Alteration Centre is well regarded among the clothing and costume fraternity. There is very little they can’t do and, as Corrigan says, they will always try to help out a customer “in a bind” if they have an emergency such as a funeral to attend.
The company will make basic repairs to zips and hems at reasonable prices starting at €12 to shorten jeans or trousers, €18 to alter the waist and hipline of a skirt and €22 for a dress.
Corrigan’s team also carries out expert restyling of clothes such as coats and jackets. This service typically costs between €20 and €70 to restyle a jacket, for example. Double-breasted jackets can be made into single-breasted ones, shoulders can be narrowed and vents taken out to update a suit jacket.
Dresses can be changed from flared or A-line to straight, a round neck can be made into a V-neck and puff sleeves can be restyled to straight sleeves.
“We are not miracle workers but we are what I would call designers with a small ‘d’,” says Corrigan. “If a client comes in with a garment and some ideas, we will certainly work with them to achieve what they wish.”
While the Alteration Centre can also mend and alter leather garments and suede, a very popular business for them is adjusting wedding dresses.
Corrigan says that it is not usually vintage dresses or family heirlooms that are presented for updating, but dresses bought on the internet that do not fit a bride-to-be correctly.
With many brides choosing to shop online for their gowns and bridesmaids’ dresses, getting the measurements exactly right can be tricky and often the dresses need to be tweaked.
Corrigan advises brides to leave plenty of time for alterations, as reshaping or refitting the likes of a bodice can be time-consuming.
To avoid such necessity, the Alteration Centre also offers an expert measuring service for just €10. It is well worth the fee if you are planning to save significant sums by shopping for a gown online.
Corrigan says that he hasn’t seen a vast increase in the number of people getting their clothing mended or altered. His business has been steady and he has had regular customers over the past 30 years.
“In the last recession, we would have been dealing with a lot more old clothes,” he said. “There weren’t really cheap high street stores back then. Now we see a lot of cheaper clothing coming in as well as mid- to high end.”
Another business that helps customers to give new life to old possessions is Patrick Glynn Jewellers on Dublin’s Middle Abbey Street (01-8733866), which used to be known as McCabes.
There has been a jeweller here for almost 100 years specialising in the production and sale of jewellery, particularly diamond engagement rings and wedding rings, as well as in expert repairs.