I don't even know if this business has a name, I can only describe it:
On Greenwood, at the NE corner with N 88th Street (or 89th - there's a traffic light at this corner). It's 1-2 blocks N of the Safeway. Small, faded blue building.
I went there because they advertise they can do 1-hr hem jobs, and that's what I needed. But I also needed other clothes hemmed, and so I figured I take them all at once. Here's what I wrote on my blog:
When I went in, the cute little old man took the order - and in a friendly way started explaining why these particular styles (slight flare, stretch material) will cost more. Whatever, I didn't pay for the clothes, just alter my pants.
I explained that I wanted to keep the hem detailing on 2 pairs that had a split hem. Pretty basic request for a tailor - just take the extra fabric out above the hem and re-sew at the existing stitch line. So he says ok. I'm having some niggling feelings in the back of my mind about this place, thinking I should just take my clothes and leave, but it's just a hem job so I ignore those feelings. Then he tells me it'll take 11 days to do 3 other pairs. 11 days? OK, whatever. I'm watching him add them up and thinking, this guy charges a lot, but - y'know, he's a little cute man who has (as I look around his crumbling building) a long-standing business. He's probably good and charges a fair rate for his labor.
So I come back later in the day for the first pair. They look fine, but then it was a very basic hem job - not one of the detailed ones. But he only accepts cash, so I have to leave and go to an ATM. I have now a chance to take the other 3 pairs of pants back from him, before I pay for them, but that feels mean. He did just fine on the first pair, and it's easier to just go to the ATM once and pay for he whole job now.
Well, 11 days later, on the day they were supposed to be done, they're not. He says he was in the hospital for a heart problem, had 3 or 4 days in the hospital, had a bad reaction to morphine... And so his seamstress never did any work. (Weirrrrd....) OK, so I am getting annoyed but thinking it's rather unfair for me to get mad that he had to go to the hospital, and I'm not in a huge hurry. He's been perfectly sweet, so why am I getting annoyed? Anyway, he tells me they'll be done on the 12th.
So I went today, the 13th, and two of the 3 pairs are done. sigh. OK. Well, he says the 1 seamstress didn't want to do it because it's stretchy fabric, "very tricky" (uh huh). So she gave it to the other seamstress who also did not want to do it. She she gave them back to him, and now he's doing them. He just started cutting out the stitches, and says they'll be ready on Thursday. 5 days, to hem a pair of pants that you just started on?! I take the two pairs, and agree to pick up the other pair on Thursday.
I get home, and come to find out, the seamstress did not keep the hem detail on one pair of pants, and in fact, what I paid extra for ("harder to do flare, split seam. More work!") turned out to be a very simple, straight-line hem that looks nothing like the original! They look like a cheesy hem job that would have looked better if I'd done it myself! Grrrrr!!!!
So now I'm in a sour mood and not looking forward to going back on Thursday and telling him he overcharged me for a crappy job.
AND THEN THE FOLLOW UP!
So, where was I? Oh yes, the split-seam black pants, the stretchy yoga pants and the hemp jeans.
By the way, did I mention that most of these clothes are my work samples that I'm not even supposed to be wearing, let alone altering? But I figured if I can wear them, I can show how they look on a body, instead of just on a hanger.
Alrighty. So, 18 or so days after they were originally dropped off I returned to get the last pair (yoga pants) as well as have the two pair re-done properly.
I get there, and the yoga pants are not done. They are, however, dis-assembled at the hems! So he got, in a week, as far as unstitching them. So, taking a deep breath, I ask how long - another 7 days. He has to get them to his seamstress. Wait, what? I said, "The two seamstresses didn't want to do it, you were going to do it." "Oh yes, now I give to older seamstress! More experience! But her serger? Broke! New one comes tomorrow! So, next week!"
Oh. kay. Now I show him the uneven jeans and the un-split hem.
"I fix it! You see, I am in business 30 year, because I make you happy!"
It took like 3 times to communicate that not only were the hems crooked on the jeans, but the thread color was all off. (Greyish instead of yellow - y'know, jeans thread!) So he said he would fix the color and straighten the hem. He said, "I call you! Don't make unnecessary trip, I call you!"
So, two weeks later I go back, never having received a phone call. This is last Wednesday, going on 2 months from when I first drop off the clothes.
He gave me the yoga pants. He said, "okay, all paid up, thank you!" and I said, "wait, I have another pair here." So we had to go through the confusion he had about that and he said, "oh yes! I straighten hem. But, not finished. You see, I had to go to hospital, to check the stint, and get another angiogram. Oh, it was awful!...."
Meanwhile, I'm looking at the seam of the yoga pants, the pair that the "older, more experience!" seamstress did, and the hems - two parallel lines of stitches - go around the pant legs but don't even meet up end-to-end! WTF?!?!
My impatience and lack of sympathy must have shown because he said two more days, he fix the jeans! I said, "ok, and did you see this?" and I showed him the yoga pants hemlines where the stitches don't connect.
"I fix it!"
"Yes! I fix!"
"ok, I'll be back Friday afternoon."
So I decided to give him a few more days, and I went back today, Tuesday. he's had my clothes for 9 weeks. He had a week just since my last visit to do two hem jobs.
Well, they're "done."
The jeans look like he didn't fix them at all. The color of thread is the same. They're still uneven. I can also now see (in the light of my house, instead of the crappy half-light of his shop) that the tension of the machine must have been off a bit.
The yoga pants are different, so he definitely did something to them, but he did not improve them. They went from having parallel lines of stitches that didn't meet up end-to-end, to one line (the original hems had two parallel lines) that clearly had the wrong tension setting on the machine, and will therefore come apart eventually. And it's not straight.
I didn't care, I took the pants and walked out. It's over. It's finally over.
Oh, except they stink of musty clothes like his shop, so I immediately had to wash them.
All of this for a whopping $80.