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Alma’s Alterations – a dress that fits

13 November 2013 No Comment

While the very allure of the style for many, the one-off nature of vintage can also cause a major source of frustration for fashion-lovers. How often have you come across the perfect dress only to find that it won’t zip up or on conversely that it swamps you? But this needn’t mean the end of your dress dream.

Alma's Alterations, Brighton

With two bargain but ill-fitting vintage buys in need of rescuing from the bottom of the wardrobe, I challenged alterations expert Alma Munslow of Alma’s Alterations to bring them back to life…

Alma's Alterations, Brighton

Alma learnt to sew and knit from age four and honed the craft through her family’s tailoring business in Italy before moving to the UK to set up her own business as a seamstress and dressmaker two years ago. And with clients now visiting her small Church Street studio on the recommendation of boutiques such as Jump the Gun, Gresham Blake and The Fair Shop, her 10-hour days are spent altering some of the most stylish garments in Brighton.

Alma's Alterations, Brighton

Among the suits and plentiful wedding dresses, she regularly works on vintage pieces brought in by a growing number of collector clients. On my visit I met with one such vintage-lover, a woman called Michelle, who regularly brings in several vintage finds at a time. Picking up pre-loved pieces at bargain prices, Michelle can afford to spend that little bit extra on having them altered to fit.

Indeed, with my own car-boot sale dresses costing just £2 each, the alteration process brought the grand total to no more than you would pay for a high-street piece, with the added benefits of having an item that is unique and tailored to fit.

Alma's Alterations, Brighton

I wanted my dresses taken in and up; requests that Alma works with everyday, and after just a few minutes in the studio I was confident that I’d come to the right place. Alma brought to my attention various details I hadn’t considered – that the sleeves on my shift would have to be brought in narrowing at a certain point may cause the fabric to pucker – and a few prick-free pins later our vision was united.

Alma's Alterations, Brighton

The wonderful thing about Alma is that she is likely to be just as enthusiastic about your fabulous vintage find as you are. Many times she spoke of the alteration as an art and a craft, gushing over the collar and fit and flare shape of my pillar-box red Seventies’ number, and by the time I left the relationship was one of friends rather than service provider/customer.

Alma's Alterations, Brighton

With such an infectiously warm and welcoming nature, it’s easy to see why Alma is kept so busy. But of course this is just one part of the package. Such businesses grow by referral and based on the quick and professional job Alma performed on my once tent-like dresses I can happily add my name to the growing list of satisfied customers on her website.

Alma's Alterations, Brighton

Alterations at Alma’s usually take one week, with an initial fitting required at which point a price will be quoted. To find our more, visit www.brightonalterations.com

 Alma is currently looking for an assistant who shares her passion for alterations and dressmaking – “somebody who is used to working to the highest standards and willing to go the extra mile when it comes to customer care”. If you’re interested in a trial, contact alma@brightonalterations.com.

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