Men’s custom-made suits from Alabaster & Chess of New York City are available at The Tailored Fit. Photo by Magnanimous Pictures


As a young girl, Margaret Fette’s favorite toys were Barbie dolls — especially their outfits. She spent countless hours dressing them to look just perfect.

The allure of clothing and finding the perfect fit has stayed with her throughout her life. As the owner of The Tailored Fit in Prospect Hill Neighborhood, Fette’s grown-up goal is to create that look for her customers.

“Now, I get to dress real, live people,” says Fette, who has more than 25 years of sewing experience. “I want people to be confident and comfortable in their clothing.”

The Tailored Fit, which has five employees, performs alterations of every sort and makes custom suits and shirts for men and wedding dresses and formal gowns for women. Fette also offers wardrobe analysis and sewing classes for both beginners and experienced seamstresses.

Fette started working out of her home in 2000, opening her retail shop six years later. She moved to her current location at 512 W. 4th St. two years ago.

In her 20s, Fette learned to sew and design clothing and later earned a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University with a focus in couture sewing. For years, she lived in New York City and worked for a company making costumes for Broadway productions. Returning to Bloomington, she specialized in men’s alterations, taught textile and fashion classes at Indiana University, and managed the fabric department for Jo-Ann Fabrics and Crafts.

Now, she says, her business is her passion. She’s had clients for as long as 16 years, and some of those clients, she says, have never been able to find clothes that fit well.

“I see the extremes. Some people just can’t find anything off the rack.” She recognizes people’s clothing needs are different for many reasons — muscular thighs, long legs, broad shoulders. “People are individuals and our bodies aren’t going to be like someone else’s body,” she says.

At The Tailored Fit, male clients can select fabric, collar, lining colors, and other features for custom garments. Fette’s shop partners with Alabaster & Chess, a New York City–based company, which makes the suits, shirts, and overcoats that her shop sells and fits. Custom-made suits start at $400. Women’s dresses, wedding gowns, and blouses are made in-house.

Fette says she tries to put clients at ease during fittings. “We try really hard to make everybody feel comfortable.”