Wednesday, August 29, 2012

City tailors spruce-up staff to look sew great

Odette Rodrigues brandishes her needle
Whether working in Calgary Transit, Police, Bylaw, Fire or Health & Safety, it's important to look sharp and professional at all times, usually in a perfectly fitted, proper uniform.

Unbeknown to most, it's a talented team of three City Tailors that deck-out these men and woman in the garb perfectly suited for their job.

For example, in October, 24 police recruits will graduate from the Chief Crowfoot Learning Centre. Their ceremonial uniforms must fit pristinely - each one customized to form to each officer’s unique build, and to represent their accomplishments, rank, department and the occasion they are attending.

Before the big day, each recruit must visit The City of Calgary tailors to determine how much tailoring will be required.

“Big muscled guys - that’s really challenging. Sometimes their waist is really small and their upper body is big. It can be tricky,” said tailor Odette Rodrigues. But the hard-to-fit customizations are also her favourite part of the job – when they work out and her clients look their best.

“We had a customer who had had an accident, so one shoulder was way higher than the other. It was really hard, we had to redo the tunic all over and the outcome was great. He was really happy, so to me that’s rewarding," she said.

Customization is also required with special extras like badges on cowboy hats, adding an insignia and  making tweaks like maternity adjustments or hidden suspenders to help support an injured back.

The tailors complete 28 to 35 pieces every month. Depending on the division or unit and the occasion – from meetings, to ceremonies, weddings and specially held offices, an officer may need multiple pieces and upgrades as they attain rank and tenure.

The City of Calgary tailoring team are experts at knowing the tiny details that make up the appropriate dress, sometimes even helping their clients determine what they need.

So the next time you see a Firefighter, Police officer or bus driver spruced-up in their digs, give a thought to the tiny team of tailors that help make these men and woman look so darn dapper!

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