We get someone coming in with repairs or alterations most days, although it varies a lot. We might have nothing for days at a time and then suddenly a customer will bring in his whole wardrobe. Thankfully it’s normally a single problem with a coat, or general refurbishment on two or three suits. Often these pieces will be 20 or 30 years’ old.
The most common repairs that are needed are to the lining, if it has come away in places, or to things like the buttonholes. If a jacket is worn for years and years, and always buttoned to the same point, the buttonhole can become distorted or the stitching fray a little. Very occasionally a seam or something more fundamental can need repairing.
If the repairs are quite minor and we have time, Ollie or I can do them. We can put a button back on, for example, or repair a loose thread. Otherwise they would go to the alterations tailor. Re-sewing a buttonhole can be tricky to get right when the hole has become distorted: you will never get the original sharp, straight line back.
The most common alteration is probably, and probably unsurprisingly, when customers have gained a little weight. In that case we would take a few check measures to work out how large the alterations had to be, and then pass it on to the tailor. This is the kind of alteration that can be required for an entire wardrobe – assuming the customer thinks the change is going to be relatively permanent.