Que peut-on retoucher sur une chemise ?

What can you alter on a shirt?

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On the same sidewalk as our brand's Parisian boutique, rue d'Aboukir , installed in a sort of nook as if it didn't want to be noticed too much, is a brand popular with those for whom details matter . Here is the Zécaf retouching. Inside, the place is crumbling under a happy jumble made up of bobbins of all colors, tools that prick and cut, machines that hum severely when they work and, of course, all those shirts that the master places repair, provide care on an assembly line.

This one, a little man with eyes brimming with mischief, is named Coban Cafer and comes from distant Kurdistan. While there, he grew up in a family of tailors and naturally became one himself when it came to earning a living. At the time, Mr. Cafer was even an ace in tailor-made suits. In 1988, when his native region was shaken by yet another political upheaval, the craftsman went to live in Paris. For him, it was like a dream. “Paris has always been the fashion capital for me. I imagined very preppy women, with long gloves and big hats,” he smiles today. In the big city, Mr. Cafer was unable to establish himself as a tailor. But, resourceful, he ended up finding a job as a retoucher with a renowned designer: Thierry Mugler.

“Tie your knot under the button, not inside the shirt. It’s still more aesthetic! »

After several years in this area, Coban Cafer opened his own alterations business on rue d'Aboukir in 2004. With some success, today there are dozens of customers who come to his counter to beg for his help every day. “Once I give you back your garment, you will forget that it has been reworked,” boasts Coban Cafer with an enthusiastic and sincere laugh. It will even be better than originally! » At Hast, it is not uncommon for us to recommend that our customers go see the retoucher on rue d'Aboukir if by chance they need to modify one of our pieces. For our newspaper, Coban Cafer from the famous Zecaf retouching company, details the different retouching work that can be done on a shirt.


Sometimes we want to shorten our sleeves so that they fit perfectly on our arms. In this case, the retoucher will choose to pick up the piece from the wrist rather than the shoulder. “It’s cheaper for the customer. And then with a modification from above, the arm may end up too tight,” explains Coban Cafer. Very concretely, it is then a question of undoing the seam of the tongue, this strip of fabric which runs down the sleeve, as well as the one which holds the edge. Once this first step is accomplished, we cut the excess fabric using large scissors, then we rework the sleeve along its length so that we can reposition the famous tab. “If you just cut the sleeve and fold what's left on the tongue, the length won't be what you want,” adds Coban Cafer.


There are two very specific methods for making a shirt hug the wearer's body a little better. If it's not a matter of much, the retoucher creates two parallel darts in the back, that is to say homogeneous and invisible folds of fabric. If, on the other hand, it is a matter of heavy work, he will rid the shirt of long strips of fabric on the sides of the shirt. “We cut and redo!” »


Some of Mr. Cafer's stylish customers ask for their shirts to have extra pockets or just pockets. The retoucher then takes care of taking fabric from the shirt to create this detail. “So that nothing shows, I take the fabric from the back of the shirt,” explains Coban Cafer.


Misfortunes happen. Like a providential character, the retoucher can collect threads from the seam of the shirt and make a stop to close the hole. A job that is expensive and quite rare according to Coban Cafer. The latter prefers to create a sort of zigzag with independent thread which he will reinforce with a patch sewn on the lapel of the shirt . “When the tear is at the elbows due to friction, some customers like me to sew elbow pads. It was old-fashioned and I feel like it’s becoming a trend,” says Coban Cafer.


People with wide necks can sometimes lack a little air in their shirt. It is then possible to move the collar buttons for better comfort of the outfit. But be careful: this can only be done for just a few millimeters. Too much offset could distort the alignment of the liner. “And you shouldn’t add fabric to the collar, it makes a shirt ugly!” » warns Coban Cafer.

Ultimately, there is only one retouching job that one can do without the help of a retoucher. If you know how to put thread through a needle and use it, sewing a button is not very complicated. The ideal is to use thick thread for better hold. Bonus, according to Coban Cafer: “Tie your knot under the button, not inside the shirt. It’s still more aesthetic! »

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