12 April 2007

Denim rejuvenation

"I've run into a serious dilemma: I need need need a trusty tailor in the DC or northern VA area. I'm petite, so I always get all of my jeans hemmed, but it is really crucial that they reattach the original hem (as opposed to just hacking them off ). I've had good luck at Nordstrom - they do a great job on this service and only charge $18, but they have a new policy and won't work on things not bought there.

I can't go to a super pricey place, unfortunately, because I'm a style-loving gal on a budget! Any recommendations?"

Were this any other kind of tailoring query, I'd send you straight away without hesitation to my tried-and-true personal saviour Alicia (Lagos) at Imperial Valet, located at 1331 ConnAve (202.785.1444). Not only are her hands the only hands I trust to sew up the bustline of all my DVFs - something I highly recommend if your ladies fill a C-cup or above - but she's also been extraordinarily gracious and accommodating to me on the occasions I've popped in unannounced on a lunch break and politely pleaded as if my social life depended on it for her to perform that-day hemline raises on minidresses I didn't consider mini enough for a night of full-sensory indulgence on the Upper West Side.

"You like to show legs. I understand. You young, you should. I help," she would say to me.

And sure enough, four hours later, 5:30 on the dot, there my now-four-inches-shorter dress would be, hanging pristinely in sheet plastic with "you have fun for me" scrawled across a Post-it note stuck to the pink receipt.

Denim operations are in an entirely different league than simple hemline/neckline touch-ups, however, and since I've never seen Alicia's craftsmanship with this challenging fabric, I instead asked those DC girlfriends of mine whose first stop after The Denim Bar is the tailor and asked them to whom they entrusted their brand-new Earnest Sewns, Paiges and Genetics not only for the service you seek - proper hemming and hem-reattachment - but for what I like to call "denim rejuvenation" as well. One of the most emotionally challenging posts I've written to date was one that centered around the tragedy of a premature premium denim death. Whether due to your irresponsible overuse of the dryer or their poor-quality elasticity, it's a cold hard fact that even if you unload $200 on a pair of ultra-skinnies at Saks, that investment has the potential to give you a very temporary return. As one of my friend's explained to me, this can be avoided and your jeans' lifespan extended if you know the right someone who knows the right something when it comes to denim nips and tucks.

And surprisingly, in the DC/VA area, that someone was the same someone recommended to me by all three women. Even more surprising was who - and where - this someone was: Mrs. Kim at Kim's Custom Tailoring (703.415.2221) in the Pentagon City Mall. Yeah, the same Kim's Custom Tailoring located on the Food Court level next to Johnny Rockets and kitty-corner from Ruby Tuesday. Don't let its greasy surroundings, the throngs of disrespectful 8th graders sure to be loitering in its vicinity or Mrs. Kim's curt disposition deter you -- just focus on the flawless and "not too expensive" hem-reattachment you'll soon have in your possession.

Have more tailor recommendations? Please share with us!


Anonymous said...

Thank you! I don't need a denim rejuvenation at the present-time, but the next time I do, I'll be sure to head to Mrs. Kim -- with confidence.

Love your blog!

Anonymous said...

What do you mean by "sew of the bustline" of your DVF's? Having a C cup I think this could be something I should take advantage of.

Johanna said...


I'm sorry if I wasn't clear. What I should have said was, "I recommend this for those of you who are voluptuous on top and have a smaller waist." I don't know if you have run into this problem, but in every DVF I've ever tried on, my go-to size fits perfectly everywhere except across the chest.

I know people in Hollywood like to bare cleavage in their DVFs (Paris is a frequent offender), but I'm a traditionalist when it comes to her dresses. To me, they're just too classic to muck up with boob-age. To avoid what would be with me *frequent* cleavage exposure, I have Alicia sew up the front seam to just above where my "cleave" begins. She's done this for lots of DC women, she's told me, so her eye for where to stop is extremely keen. She charges $10-15, which might seem like a lot, but it's totally worth it. And, in all three cases, she's gotten my dresses back to me within 24 hours.

The only real downside is that no longer is your wrapdress truly a "wrap" dress -- you'll have to slip it on and off over your head.

Completely worth it, though.

Thanks for bringing this to my/everybody's attention!

tom h said...

I want to know who the model is wearing the grey jeans in the first pic.....wow what a figure....

Anonymous said...

I heard Mrs. Kim charges $40-$45 for the hem reattachment. Anyone know of any others?

dc girl said...

If this is for a pair of premium jeans, I'd say reputation and peace of mind are worth the extra cash. You're already shelling out what, between $150 and $250, what's another $40 to make them perfect?

If it's for a pair of GAP jeans, there's a lot less risk involved and you can take them to any tailor that looks reasonably busy (read: successful) and feel good about it.

LK said...

I've had very few instances of premium denim death by sticking to the following simple guidelines:
1. When you buy them make sure they fit REALLY tight - then when they stretch a little they'll be perfect.
2. Wash jeans inside-out: it helps them retain their color;
3. ALWAYS line dry them (never use a dryer).
4. If all else fails and your jeans stretch (making the butt or waist saggy) go to Mrs. Kim - she's taken in the waist/butt of a pair of my Seven jeans so beautifully that they now fit like the day I bought them (like 5 years ago!!!)