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On my last trip to Mainland China I saw a lady in a corner "mini shop" mending clothes with a sewing machine.

She mended my jeans for about $5. I don't think she had any kind of sign.

This trip I'm in Taiwan and again would like to get my jeans mended. But I'm not sure what to Google or ask for at the hostel.

Even in English I'm not sure what words I'd use. "Tailor" and "seamstress" both seem a bit wrong.

What Chinese words are used for a shop, stall, service, or person who does sewing, patching, darning, mending, etc?

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We don't use 補 or 縫補 in Taiwan. We use 修改衣服 instead.

When you like to get the clothes mended, you should find the 修改衣服/換拉鏈 (Modify clothes/Change zippers) signs as follows.

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We still call the person who does these works 老闆.

  • 1
    Interesting, I wonder what caused the divergence in vocabulary between the Mainland and Taiwan. – droooze Mar 11 at 10:14
  • I think people buy some new clothes in these days instead of mending them. When they are not fit well, we usually modify them instead of throwing away. – user16115 Mar 11 at 10:23
  • Thanks to your answer I was able to find one a few hundred metres from where I'm staying. Will check them out in the morning (-: – hippietrail Mar 11 at 13:46
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裁缝 is the official /formal job title for a person who makes, alter and mends clothes. If you need to repair your clothes, you can just ask people where can you find a "裁缝" (tailor) or "裁缝店" (tailor shop)

Since mending clothes (缝補衣服) is traditionally a woman's job in society, and the basic tools they use are 針 and 線 (needle and thread), some Cantonese just nickname a professional seamstress 針線婆. We have one in our workplace, anyone's uniform needed to be repair can ask her to do it.

Seamstress is translated as 女裁缝 in Google, so I think it is ok. to just call her 裁缝 also. Or you can call her '針線工'(needle and thread worker) or '做缝衣的'/ '補衣服的' (one who mends clothes)

針線婆 may be too informal, sexist and disrespectful in Mandarin

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