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Scooter lifestyle with patches and alterations

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If you've been scooting for a while, you know that there is a certain look to go along with the scooterist attitude. Whether you go for the pure mod, the scooter-boy or even the rockabilly/50s style rider, you will have to get the duds to match your preference. I'm addicted to the stuff and in addition to having a single parka that is designated the "patch parka", I've got a selection of jackets with various patches and embroidery.

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I'm not capable of quality stitching, so I've long relied on the kindness of my long suffering wife to eventually get around to sewing patches on my jackets. And even with that, she is not a tailor, so some items go un-repaired or never get the massive restructuring that's necessary to make them fit like something other than a sack. But that is all about to change as I've rediscovered a Royal Oak dry cleaner with a difference. It's not a trendy new place, having been in business for 66 years. We've been using Quality Cleaners on East Lincoln in Royal Oak since moving to the area and can vouch for their expertise and customer service. Started in October, 1947, the Broaddus family has run this small independent cleaner through the good times and bad in the Detroit inner-ring suburb of Royal Oak. Over the years, the husband and wife team of Harvey and Lucille Broaddus served the community by providing the excellent cleaning and pressing service that their son Bill passed down to his sons Matt and Jeff, who continue to run the business to this day.

In addition to their usual good job at cleaning and pressing, Quality Cleaners offers free minor repairs when you get something dry cleaned there. It's a small thing fixing loose buttons or re-sewing a seam, but their customers have grown to appreciate it. I was surprised when they recently pointed out a tightened button that they had noticed was loose. Intrigued, I asked them if they wanted some new business, as my growing piles of patches were no closer in getting sewed on my jackets than they were last month.

They sew patches for $1-3 each, a bit more if they have to rip a seam to get to the back of the fabric (to avoid sewing through the lining, unless you want that.) They also tackle alterations and are no stranger to off-beat requests. Like these:

• Minor repairs to a very fragile M-51 jacket that I wanted slightly altered without losing that 1950s patina

• Designing and installing some external loops for my Aerostitch "cinch straps" designed to make my eBay $25 Hein Gericke jacket a little more usable with elbow armor. Once the straps were run through the loops, the tightness of the elbow armor could be easily adjusted to help keep the armor in a better position in case of an "off."

• "Field repair" stitching to my father's original 1944 U.S. Army-issue duffle bag. It had been lost to the family for a while and I recently found it in dad's storage area. I cleaned it, but noticed that it was hole-y in several areas. Quality Cleaners fixed it up with some period field repairs (basically some tight zig-zag stitches across the face of the hole, with a little patch to back them up.) The result? A new life for a fantastic piece of family history (the bag saw his basic training, the ship over and a little party called the Battle of the Bulge over the winter of 1944-45.) Thanks for your service, dad!

Quality Cleaners is not only capable enough to clean and press your best Mod suit and shirts, but are willing to listen to what you need done to your vintage finds and of course, patches on your scootering gear. What are you waiting for?

The fly in the ointment? Quality Cleaners can't do leather - patches onto leather or leather repairs. But they did tell me who does - Clawson Shoe Repair. On their recommendation I took an old leather jacket over with a giant scooter club patch. Two days later, I got it back, perfectly done. On a scooter it's all about the style, and with places like Quality Cleaners and Clawson Shoe Repair, style is within reach.

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