Five affordable tailors

Laura and Melinda

Laura and Melinda Photograph: Krista Schlueter

Brothers Cleaners and Expert Tailoring
With blaring Latin beats in the background and a dressing room that consists of a curtained area near the window, Tony Blake's 16-year-old storefront is not the most polished shop. But with pants hemming starting at $8 and dress shortening beginning at $20, the prices more than make up for the lack of schmancy airs. Solid workmanship and an average 24-to-48-hour turnaround don't hurt either. 76 Havemeyer St between Metropolitan Ave and North 5th St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-782-6744). Mon--Fri 8am--7pm, Sat 10am--3pm.

Sorelle Tailor Shop
Considering the fact that seasoned designers like Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein flock to this Garment District shop for last-minute adjustments during Fashion Week, it's safe to assume that your jeans, suits and frocks will be in good hands. Sisters Mary Salvemini and Jean Ipeziyan each have more than 35 years of experience in both alterations and custom design, and will tackle your stained leather jacket as easily as your too-long wedding dress. A pants hem starts at $13, while dresses begin at $35. 307 W 36th St between Eighth and Ninth Aves (212-564-2827). Mon--Fri 8am--7pm, Sat 10am--5pm.

Williamsburg Seamster
What's better than having a quick, quality alteration? Having someone pick up the goods at your apartment. The Williamsburg Seamster—otherwise known as Nayantara Banerjee—makes house calls in northern Brooklyn and occasionally Manhattan (contact her to see if she'll trek to your 'hood). After whisking away and fixing your duds (pants or dress hemming starts at $30), she'll return them in two weeks or less. While she's currently volunteering in Peru as a sewing instructor, Banerjee will be back to work in late July—and you can be sure she'll be speedy (she's completed 170 orders this year already). To make an appointment, visit

Laura and Melinda
Owner Mustafa Kip began sewing in his native Turkey when he was 11 years old—a good 29 years ago. Now he tailors suits and evening wear, plus leather and fur, for clients in his charming Lower East Side shop, filled with vintage vanities and racks of retro frocks. He'll turn around your improved threads within 5 to 15 days, at a decent price, too: Shortening pants starts at $10, and a dress hemming can be as little as $18. 137 Rivington St between Norfolk and Suffolk Sts (212-228-4500). Mon--Sat 10:30am--8pm, Sun 10:30am--5:30pm.

Lai's Royal Tailoring
This hidden gem is tucked away on the second floor of a brick Chinatown storefront. Once you find it, however, you're not likely to forget the quality alterations churned out by proprietor Lai Wa Yee, a 30-year veteran of the business. Specializing in intricate Chinese dresses and wedding gowns, the shop can pull off expert adjustments on everyday duds and even complicated designer goods. For a basic pants or dress hem (starting at $7 and $20, respectively), the average turnaround is three days or less. 188--122 Baxter St at Canal St, room 205 (212-966-0951, Mon--Fri 9am--6pm, Sat 8am--4pm.

See more in Own This City