Silhouette offers a wide range of sewing services from basic alterations and mending, like hemming jeans and darning holes, to more extensive creative jobs, like vintage restyling. What sets us a part from other alteration businesses, is every member of the Silhouette team has a degree in apparel design and a strong understanding of garment construction and fit. We pride ourselves on doing the best possible job we can, every time.
Silhouette is now fittings by appointment only. If you need to try on your garment(s) for us to pin, you will need to make an appointment. You can do so by calling ahead or booking an appointment online. For mending, repairs, pre-pinned alterations, or to pick up your completed alterations, you can come by at any time.
Please plan ahead for getting your alterations completed as our turnaround varies depending on the project, the quantity of garments you are needing done and the season. During our slower season of November through February, we can generally turn around jeans hems in a week or under and formal wear and bridal gowns in 1-3 weeks. But during our peak season of March through October, jeans hems can take up to two weeks, larger number of items and formal wear 2-4 weeks, and bridal gowns 1-4 months. Alterations needed to be completed before our projected turnaround will be subject to a rush fee.
If its made of fabric, we can sew it, mend it, or make it fit you better!
There is nothing like a perfect fitting outfit to bring confidence and brighten your day. And for most of us, buying ready-to-wear just doesn’t do the trick. If you are shorter, flatter, bustier, rounder, taller, curvier, or anything other than “average” we can help make your clothes fit you better! Book your alteration appointment today!
Alteration Services include: hemming pants, dresses, skirts, sleeves and knits; taking in side seams, princess seams, darts, zippers, and sleeves; tapering pants and skirts; shortening shoulder straps, recutting armholes, and adjusting sleeve placement. But this is just the start! We have extensive knowledge on working with knits, finer fabrics and vintage clothing.
Repair Services include: darning and patching holes, mending torn seams, sewing on/ replacing buttons, fixing and replacing zippers, and replacing worn out linings.
Men, we can help you out, too! We can hem and taper pants, take in dress shirts and sweaters, and shorten sleeves. For more extensive suit alterations just be sure to book an appointment with Hannah. She is our men’s tailoring expert!
We DO NOT work on home decor. While we have made pillows and curtains in our lives, we just stick with clothing at Silhouette. Our studio space and tables just aren’t large enough to work on these types of items. For home decor sewing we recommend Nip & Tuck Sewing at 8826 SE Stark St.
We DO NOT work on leather products, EXCEPT for clothing made from very thin leather. It just isn’t our specialty. We recommend Miriam Enciso at Leather Sewing for repairs and alterations. She is located at 1105 SE Reynolds St. and her number is (503) 239-0142
Below are estimates for non-formalwear alterations and repair costs. Every garment is made differently, so pricing is very dependent on the individual garment.
Silhouette owner, Julia Studer, has been altering wedding dresses since 2007. As a designer specializing in alterations, she has an eye for restyling and a mind for problem solving. Her goal is to make your concept and dream a reality for your big day.
How much will bridal alterations cost
- Most brides will be needing $300-600 of alterations. Be sure you budget that in when choosing a dress.
How long will alterations take?
- This will depend on your dress style and what alterations are needed. Generally we need 3-5 weeks in between appointments and most brides will need 2-3 appointments. Roughly one to three months total.
- Lace, beading and restyling (like adding an illusion neckline) will add to the number of appointments needed.
When to schedule an appointment
- Your first appointment should be 2-3 months prior to your wedding date.
- Please book a month or two in advance as Julia’s schedule tends to get filled up quickly March – September.
- Saturday appointments tend to be the most popular. If you need to come in on a Saturday, please plan ahead.
- If you keep a consistent body weight and have the shoes you plan on wearing, we can get your alterations done months in advance. Just one more thing you can check off your list!
- Vintage restyling we recommend getting started with a consultation 6-8 months prior to your wedding date (see Restyling for more information).
What to bring to your appointments
- Your wedding shoes. This is very important to ensure the perfect length.
- If you plan on wearing a bustier or bra, please bring it along
- Sew-in bra pads are available for $30. We carry A – DD cups.
- For sheer or tight fitting dresses, nude seamless briefs or thongs work best, like these guys from Commando.
- Your fittings are a great time to see if the underwear you have purchased will work with your dress.
- Jewelry and veil to get the full image of what yo will look like on your wedding day
- Silhouette also carries bridal jewelry from local designer, beadAlex
Who to bring to your appointment
- Please bring only one to three people. Silhouette is an intimate setting, and does not have a lot of extra room for an entourage.
- If your gown is getting bustled, please try to bring a member of your bridal party to the pickup appointment so she can be shown how to use the bustle.
- 30 minutes consultations cost $25
- We go over all fit and design issues. We roughly pin the alterations so you can see the gown fitting properly
- You leave with a full price estimate for the alterations we discussed and a timeline for the process
- If you have the dress on hold or can return it, the consultation fee is waved
- Vintage restyling consultations are also free
- Please read above for what to bring to your fitting
- Costs will depend on what alterations are needed. Average for taking in sides and hemming is around $120
- Turnaround for a bridesmaid dress is generally two to three weeks
- Basic measurements (Bust, Waist, Hips) cost $5
- We will also give expert advice for which size to purchase based off the silhouette of the dress and the size chart.
- Extensive measurements cost $20. Please bring in the measurements required along with any diagram to ensure accuracy
Veils and headpieces:
Bras for buxom brides:
BeadAlex, found exclusively at Silhouette
Dry cleaning and pressing:
Has it been your dream to wear your mother’s or grandmother’s wedding dress but want it to be a bit more modern? Or did you choose a new wedding dress but wish it had a v-neck, lower back or straps? Or perhaps you have a ready to wear dress that you think you would wear more if it was converted to a skirt or hemmed up to just be a blouse? Guess what, we can help you with all of this!
Full vintage bridal restyling
Many brides fall in love with the idea of wearing their mother’s wedding dress. In many cases, these dresses were handmade, sometimes by a family member, and if the dress was properly stored, can still be in great condition. For full bridal restyling, around six to eight months before the wedding is recommended for the initial consultation. At this meeting, you will need to bring the dress, and any ideas or pictures you have in mind for the restyling. We will let you know what is possible and give suggestions on how we can make your vision a reality.
What can be done?
We can remove sleeves and collars, change the cut of the bodice, add width if the dress is too tight, shorten the dress and/or train, add linings or overlays, and convert dresses into separates. We are working within the constraints of the original dress, but truly a lot can be changed to bring your style and aesthetic into a vintage dress.
Why is the lead time so long?
Sometimes after starting the restyling process, brides realize the dress is too far from their personal style and they just want to find their own perfect dress. By starting early enough, if you decide to opt out, you still have enough time to find and purchase a new dress without enduring stress and rush fees.
What will this cost?
The cost of restyling varies depending on what needs to be done. A rough estimate for a full vintage dress restyling is $400-1200. This includes all alteration and material costs. Schedule an appointment to get your personal quote!
New bridal restyling
Sometimes you can’t find EXACTLY your dream dress, but find one that you feel is almost right. In this situation, you may want to change the neckline, add straps or sleeves, change the cut of the skirt, or add an overlay. If any fabric is going to be added, please leave a longer lead time (around three – four months). Some dress companies allow you to purchase fabric from them to ensure an exact match, or I can hopefully track down a matching fabric. Having photo examples of what you are wanting is always helpful.
When should we get started?
The exact amount of time needed will depend on what type of design work you are wanting done along with the other alterations needed. For adding more simple straps, no additional time will be needed on top of the alteration timeline. For more complicated restyling, 4-5 months may be required for the process. It is always best to set up a consultation at least 6 months prior to your wedding date. At the consultation we will discuss options, pricing and timeline.
How much will this cost?
Cost of restyling will depend on what you are wanting done and the construction of the gown. Adding straps starts at $50, building up illusion necklines starts at $400, replacing a zipper for a corset back starts at $220, recutting front or back necklines is generally around $60-80, and adding a skirt overlay starts at $240 plus material cost.
Non bridal restyling
We also do non-bridal restyling at Silhouette. This includes turning dresses into skirts, converting jackets to vests, and changing the neckline of shirts and dresses. Sometimes it’s worth it to restyle your thrift shop find into a truly personalized piece!
How do I set up an appointment?
You can set up an appointment yourself online. Or you can always call us at (503)493-9391.
When do I need an appointment? And when is it ok to just walk-in?
Appointments are always recommended when you need to try your garment on for us to pin. While we accept walk-ins most of the year, during our peak season over the summer months, we are by appointment only. This way we can regulate the workload coming in AND give better attention to our clients at their fittings. We don’t want to waste your time if we have back to back fittings scheduled. A good trick is to call day of, and we can let you know any availability we have.
Appointments are mandatory for wedding dress, formal dress and bridesmaid dress alterations along with men’s suit tailoring.
You don’t need an appointment to shop our retail section, to pick up finished alterations, or to drop off mending or pre-pinned garments. Essentially, if you need to try on a garment to be pinned by us for alterations, you need an appointment. For anything else you can just stop in.
When is your peak season?
Peak season is from March through October. Over these months we highly recommend setting up an appointment or calling ahead. Generally, Saturdays are By-Appointment-Only. Our lead time for scheduling and sewing alterations becomes extended.
How long does the alteration process take?
Mending and simple alterations (like jeans hems) generally take 1-2 weeks depending on our current workload. Bridesmaid, formal and prom dresses take 1-2 weeks during our slower season and up to 4 weeks during our peak season. The timeline for bridal gowns alterations and restyling varies greatly with what alterations are needed and the style of the dress. Generally, appointments are spaced 3-6 weeks apart with 2-3 appointments needed for alterations and 3-6 appointments needed for restyling.
At your fitting, we will give you an idea of our current turn around. Please let us know ahead of time if you need your garment for a specific date. We do not do same day alterations. Rush fees may apply to alterations needed within three days.
What if I need my alteration done in a hurry?
We may say no. Please tell us when you book your appointment or walk-in if you need your garment back by a certain date. We keep a working calendar in which we place alterations with each qualified seamstress in a first come first serve order. We may be able to add your garment into a day sooner than our normal turnaround would allow. It all depends on our workflow at that time. If you need an alteration back within three days, there will most likely be a rush fee. We cannot do same day turnaround.
How much will it cost?
Alteration costs depends 100% on the alterations needed and the construction of the garment. We can only give an accurate estimate once we have looked over the garment in person. If the alteration isn’t worth the cost, no worries. We will gladly unpin with no charge for the fitting for non-bridal items.
For bridal alteration prices please read our bridal section. We also offer consultations for $25 if you have big concerns on price or are wondering if what you want done is even possible.
When is payment due?
For alterations totaling over $100, we require a half deposit upfront, with the balance being due at pickup. Alterations under $100, you can decide if you want to prepay or pay when things are complete.
Do I need to tip for alterations?
No, but we do love it when you do. We price things appropriately, so I can pay my employees a livable wage. But, if you think we did an amazing job, and want to show your appreciation, we do accept tips. Tips are split evenly between the fitter and the sewer. We do not expect a 20% tip, nor will we do a worse job on your alterations if you don’t tip.
How will I know when my alterations are complete?
We will call or text you as soon as your alteration is finished and ready for pickup. If your alteration is still at the studio after a month we will call to remind you. If your alteration has been left for six months after completion, we will donate your garment(s) to either Dress for Success or Goodwill.
What if my garment still doesn’t fit or I’m not satisfied with the work done?
We always recommend trying on your altered garment(s) at pickup. But if you are in a rush, we understand, just try on your garment(s) within the next couple of days. Customer Satisfaction is our priority. If you are unhappy with an alteration, please inform us within 14 days of picking up. If it is an error on our side, we will fix the problem for no additional charge. Sometimes alterations are a process and can take a couple fittings to get perfect. If additional alterations are needed, there will be additional costs.
When and where are the alterations actually sewn?
All of our alterations are completed in NE Portland. We sew either inside the store, or at Silhouette’s much larger sewing studio at another location.
Do you dry clean or remove stains?
We do not. We recommend Abe’s Broadway Cleaners and TS Cleaners for dry cleaning.
Do I need to wash or dry-clean my garments before bringing them in to be altered?
YES! We really prefer working on clean clothes and do reserve the right to say no to an alteration if we do not feel comfortable working on it due to its cleanliness. Things that really gross us out are: bodily fluids, intense dog smell, cigarette smell, mud or other brown spots, and food industry unwashed clothes.
If your clothes are new, it’s also a good idea to wash them. This way, all the shrinkage will occur if it’s going to happen. Nobody wants us to hem your brand-new pants to the perfect length to only have them shrink up an inch in the wash!
For samples and second-hand wedding gowns, we recommend that you dry clean them before starting the alteration process. This way you know for certain what stains are not coming out and we can make decisions with that information. Some fabrics (like silks and laces) shrink. Better to find that out months before your wedding!
Do you press garments?
While we do not offer pressing as a service, we do always press the areas of your garment that we alter.
Do you custom make clothing or recreate garments?
No, we no longer take on custom sewing projects. However, Julia will still take on a custom wedding dress now and then if it feels right. We recommend FYN on SE Division for custom, garment recreation and sewing a garment from a commercial pattern.
Do you do pattern development, sample sewing, grading or production sewing?
At Silhouette we focus on providing the best alterations in Portland. We recommend FYN and Portland Apparel Lab for this type of work.
Do you do home decor projects?
We only sew apparel items. Trust me, you do not want us to hem your curtains. For full home décor projects like making curtains, pillows, duvet covers, etc. check out The Whole 9 Yards on E Burnside.
Do you alter underwear, swimsuits and leotards?
First off, we only alter NEW of these items except for bras. We will not alter your undergarments once you have been wearing them and we never alter panties. Here are things we can and cannot alter on swimsuits, leotards and bras:
Swimsuits and leotards:
Yes: Shortening bands with back hooks, turning back or neck ties into permanent hook and loop, shortening straps,
NO: Raising leg holes, taking in, shortening at waist (one piece), making larger, re-cutting neckline
Yes: Shortening band at back by moving hook and eye tape, replacing strap slides or permanently attaching straps
No: Anything involving the underwire and cup
Do you alter Men’s wear?
We offer most alterations for men’s clothing. We can take in and let out pants at the waist, taper pant legs and do hems. We can take in sides, add fisheye darts, slim up sleeves and shorten sleeves of dress shirts. And we can do minor alterations on blazers and coats.