In the world of sustainable fashion - where shopping and buying vintage, or from small businesses is gospel - we must first reflect on the importance of taking care of and wearing what you already own. Sometimes things get worn out, damaged or just simply don't fit well anymore. I encourage you to first re-imagine the items you already own before you donate, toss or re-sell. Maybe you have a favorite pair of shoes that are worn out - or pants that are a little bit too big. It's possible to have shoes fixed, repaired and re-soled - or have the waist taken in on those pants. In short - how can you extend the life of what you already have, before turning to buying secondhand or new?
First - examine the item. Is it worth having repaired or altered? It could be beyond the point of return or just too ill fitting, but more than likely if it's one of your favorite items and still in great condition - it's worth the small cost of having it repaired or altered to extend its life in your closet.
Second - determine if the cost is worth it. If you own a pair of investment boots, it's probably worth spending $20 - $50 to have them fixed, cleaned and re-soled. However if it was something in-expensive to begin with - consider if the cost will be worth the added life, and if not, please recycle or donate responsibly! ( when in doubt , always ask your cobbler, tailor etc. They will know the answer ! )
Third - what needs to be done? There are so many types of specific businesses that can help you out. A cobbler can take care of shoes, boots (and sometimes even leather goods like your favorite purse). A seamstress can do a lot from altering jeans, repairing rips to completely creating something new! Even your dry cleaner may be able to help out with small tasks like repairing a loose button, or getting a stubborn stain out. If they can't do it - more than likely they can always help point you in the right direction.
Here are some local Seattle businesses that I frequent and trust to take good care of your repair and mending needs!
Johhny's Ballard Shoe Service - Ballard
*UPDATE - Johnny's is closing forever on May 26th, 2021. Please go and support him while you can! Maybe we can keep him in business!
Tony, owner of Johnny's, has done everything for me from resoling my boot collection each winter, to cleaning and repairs on my favorite pair of strappy sandals and clogs. He does amazing work and has helped extend the life of MANY of my shoes - keeping perfectly good things out of the trash, and saving me money by not having to buy new things all the time. Let's support this amazing LOCAL business who has been here for over 25 years!
Located right on the corner of Market & Ballard (next to Sam's Sushi) and open Thursday - Sundays weekly. Just remember - he accepts cash only!
Cinderella Tailors - Queen Anne
Moon, the lovely woman who runs Cinderella Tailors has been my absolute favorite person to take all my projects and repairs to. She is the woman who makes our oversized Cupcake scrunchies, and has given new life to so many up-cycled pieces in the shop. I trust her to do amazing work as she has an incredible eye for detail. She has repaired rips, sewn buttons, patched the inside thighs of many many pants, as well as helped me create custom cute crop tops and our new reworked dress sets. She is absolutely a gem to Queen Anne! Her business has been impacted by COVID as she typically stays busy with wedding dress & events alterations - so please consider swinging by to see what she can help you with.
Barg French Cleaners - Queen Anne
I have used MANY dry cleaners around the city, and Barg is the only one I love and trust! I take all my jackets and wool items here for professional cleaning, and I know that they do the best work. They even will notice damaged/missing buttons or other issues that sometimes I overlook! They will also do small repairs such as sewing on a button or two - or fixing the inside thigh of my jeans - however I think they send most tailor work out, so best to just head straight to Cinderella for anything beyond that.
If you are looking for the BEST leather & fur cleaning - I recommend shipping to Without a Trace in Chicago. I use them for extensive cleaning on damaged leather and fur, but they also do re-weaving. They are the ONLY place I know that offers this. What is re-weaving? This is a process known as fixing the moth holes in your expensive cashmere and wool sweaters by matching the original thread in color and texture. Their services are not cheap - but they truly give new life to items you would have otherwise thought beyond all hope.
Maybe you have a favorite dry cleaner, cobbler or tailor to recommend? Please email me with your favorite neighborhood businesses so I can update and share them!