SAUK RAPIDS -- Rapids Alterations in Sauk Rapids has been practicing a long standing tradition of hemming, stitching and repairing clothing since 1983.

The shop is family owned and operated. Cindy Battleson has owned the alterations shop for about eight years. She became the store's fourth owner when she bought the business from Dichelle Happke.

Battleson and her staff of nine sew everything from wedding dresses and tuxes to denim jeans and casual wear.

It's a business and a service that's high in demand--especially around prom season. Battleson says, "manufacturers make clothes to fit a certain body type. Nobody fits that certain body type." It's Battleson's job to make sure her customers leave the shop with a perfect fit.

The shop typically alters about 100 dresses in the six weeks leading up to prom season. They are already scheduling fittings and doing alterations for customers whose proms are in April and May.

It's a skill that requires a lot of time and attention to detail. It's easy for a seasoned seamstress like Battleson. She began sewing clothing of her own when she was 13 years old. Sewing and doing alterations are skills she learned from her mother. Battleson used to pick out patterns and create blouses of her own.

When Battleson was in high school she was required to take a sewing class where she  had to create her own outfit. That's something she says schools don't teach enough of.

"They don't teach it anymore and a lot of the moms aren't passing it down anymore because they don't know how to do it," says Battleson.

Rapids Alterations has their work cut out for them when looking for a seamstresses with the proper training. "When I put ads out for seamstresses you get a lot of people who know how to quilt or cross-stitch...but that's different. Even if you know how to sew really well, alterations are a whole new're ripping things apart and changing them," says Battleson.

Luckily, Battleson says sewing and doing alterations are not difficult trades to learn.

Battleson says altering clothing is a tradition that has kept up with the times and continues to be in high demand throughout the community because, "you want your clothes to fit well, you want your pants to be the right length and you want your wedding dress to stay on because it's strapless. All of those things require fitting...otherwise your clothes aren't going to fit."

Ashli Gerdes, WJON News