Best of Vancouver: Fashionable Alterations

 Got a list of things you need to fix, change, upgrade? But don’t know where to start, or how to sort the experts from the charlatans? We’ve done the dirty work for you. We looked far and wide, asked customers and competitors, and tried out many of these enterprises ourselves. Here’s the inside track to the city’s miracle workers.


Seam come undone? Button a little loose? Complete overhaul of your mother’s 1960s Chanel suit needed? Needle wizard Rose Yaleung, of A & R Alteration & Dressmaking, is your woman. First gaining recognition over six years ago when she started working in the film industry, Yaleung now does all the alterations for South Granville’s fashion principals Bacci’s, Misch, and Violet Boutique. Sleep easy knowing your beloved Dries Van Noten jacket or Chloe blouse will return to you safe and sound. A & R Alteration & Dressmaking, 230 E. 11th Ave., 604-874-8857.

Curious smells emanating from your suit? Coffee splashed on your favourite silk blouse? Meet Mohamud Rahim. He’ll suggest ways of caring for your garments; he’ll explain that clothes giving off a whiff of solvent are not clean; he’ll re-attach loose buttons and stitch frayed seams. After a few visits he’ll even recognize your car out front and have your cleaning ready at the counter when you walk in. Busy Bee Gold Dry Cleaning, 704 W. Sixth Ave., 604-872-1519.

You find the perfect pair of shoes. Then the heel breaks, along with your heart. Don’t despair: third-generation Dutch cobbler Ronald Nijdam has over two decades’ experience, having learned the craft from his father, who learned it from his father. Nijdam has racked up 16 Shoe Service Institute of America awards and six SSIA craftsmanship awards, too. Plus he’s the magic elf our favourite shop, Gravity Pope, entrusts its damaged goods to. Quick Cobbler, 430 W. Second Ave., 604-682-6354.

The vintage Omega you inherited from Granddad deserves TLC. Take it to Norbert Zerbes, who specializes in repairing both vintage and modern mechanical watches (he trained in Transylvania and Munich) but will take on “anything worth fixing.” He’s the go-to repairman for more than 30 jewellers in town and across the country, and he’ll charge about half what they do. The German Watchmaker, 125-1208 Homer St., 604-681-5412.

Time to pop the question? Do it with style. For custom-designed wedding bands, trot down to Granville Island’s miniature Forge & Form studio, where kindly Jürgen Schönheit and coworker Dietje Hagedoorn create “tension set” rings that hold their stones without settings. Alternately: give heirlooms a modern face-lift at Yaletown’s Era Jewelry. Forge & Form, 1334 Cartwright St., 604-684-6298; Era Design, 1266 Homer St., 604-688-2714.

Other Rolodex-worthy experts who specialize in:

Home Entertaining
Getting Fit
Greening Your Life
Who Ya Gonna Call?