Custom tailoring is the process of making clothing to fit an individual and differs considerably from alterations made to a ready-made piece of clothing.
Custom tailors, also known as bespoke, or made-to-order tailors or dressmakers, are highly knowledgeable about how to get a good fit, and about sewing and clothing construction methods. They often work in specialty clothing boutiques and family-owned businesses, or as independent tailors.
Costs depend on the type of item, type of fabric and embellishments, amount of detail requested and prices of the specific tailor. Shirts generally cost at least $100, pants cost at least $250 and the jackets are at least $350.
Custom tailoring takes between one to six months, depending on the amount of detail and garment type.
Tips for finding a tailor:
Research and get recommendations
In addition to consulting Angie’s List, ask friends and family for recommendations for dressmakers or tailors. Ask your favorite dry cleaners if they have an alternation or tailoring staff or could make recommendations since they often work with expensive, custom-made clothing.
Ask whether a sewing professional has to experience creating the kind of garment you want. Ask to see photos or examples of the dressmaker’s or tailor’s work.
Ask for quotes
As noted above, custom-made clothing can be very expensive. However, the price depends on several things, including the type of garment you want, the complexity of the pattern, whether you need a pattern made for you, and the fabric used. If you have to undergo numerous fittings, that will increase the cost. Ask for an estimate before commissioning any work.
You’ll be called in at least once or twice for fittings. Fittings take time, so you may want to look for a seamstress or tailor who works close to where you live or work.
Cost-saving tip: If you can’t afford custom-made clothing, having store bought-clothes professionally altered can be a good compromise. The secret of many well-dressed people is that they take their moderately priced clothing into a dry cleaner, seamstress or tailor for alterations for a close to custom fit.