by Silk Allen
What do you do when you have the most amazing dress or suit hanging in the back of your closet that just needs a few tweaks to fit you perfectly? You call a tailor who will hook your garment up with a quick nip and a tuck here, replace a button, hem your trousers and realign a zipper.
But what happens when your nips and tucks are a bit more intricate than average, and you don’t need your pants shortened, but your suit has to be tailored to fit your feminine physique, even though you are masculine in style, or prefer your shirts to fit loosely over your binders? Maybe you need your dress to fit more snugly, but move in sync to compliment your dance as you belt out a Beyonce/Britney Spears medley for the upcoming drag show you plan to perform in. Or, you could just be a plus sized woman or man in need of a tailor who won’t make you feel ashamed of wanting to look stylish no matter your body shape.
Meet Gabi Mirelez, owner of Sweetlime Alterations – Queer Tailor in Tremont, whose website states, “To be queer is to be nonconforming with society’s standards. As a Queer Tailor, it’s my specialty to fit clothes to the individual, not the standard.”
That reasoning, along with a successful Kickstarter fund is what helped Mirelez open up her shop in April 2016, and word of mouth helps maintain the business. When asked if her shop is open to anybody she states,
“Queer doesn’t have to be about sexuality. It can be not of the norm, different styles and sizes.”
Mirelez started her career right out of college, diving into technical design, working with patterns and measurements and loving it, then moving on to bridal after relocating from Chicago to Cleveland. After leaving the corporate world, citing health reasons, Mirelez started freelance tailoring and through word-of-mouth referrals, and the fact that there are not a lot of alterations places. She’s the first one to pop up on Google’s front page.
Mirelez is adamant that she is the Queer Tailor. Mirelez won’t call or consider herself a designer, and doesn’t even like to do custom design work, but will work on small projects and help clients make their dreams a reality. She often encourages them to bring in thrift store pieces to recreate an entirely new look. “I don’t like to design, but I love helping people create their own designs.”
The area that Sweetlime is located in is perfect for Mirelez—affordable and accessible with four highway exits, and the RTA (the 81) runs right past it, but she would like to eventually open up a bigger venue for a place to hang out, rent out for events and to host workshops teaching important topics like financial literacy and how to purchase property. Things that, Mirelez believes should be free knowledge and taught in high school. She is currently working on that business plan of growth while maintaining her shop and collaborating with other queer creatives.
“I just want this one place that is safe for us, because that’s all we really have.”
Sweetlime Alterations is located on 2671 W. 14th Street, Cleveland, Ohio 44113 right in between Trio and Laurie Myers Yoga. You can call:216-258-4055 to make an appointment or stop in during store hours- Wednesday through Saturday from 12-5 p.m. They are closed Sunday, Monday and Tuesday