Let's face it there is no shortage of clothing accessibility, with the explosion of social media you can literally scroll through your feed and purchase the latest trends. Seems as if the art of custom clothing is left to the men in bespoke suits or persnickety brides trying to top all of their friends.
The truth is the need for a decent seamstress/clothing designer has actually grown just as quickly as the manufacturing of mass produced clothing aka "fast fashion".
Fast doesn't exactly mean the fit or even the quality are considered, leaving a lot of consumers running back to the rack more often then they used to ( but I'm sure that is no accident on the manufacturing end, if the clothes last too long then when will you come back?)
Many consumers are either tired of clothes that last for only a little while, constantly being in a shopping mall, or ordering online hoping what they ordered is what they get. Seems like the most obvious solution is buying clothing made just for you, with great fit, exceptional quality and most of all originality. Unfortunately theres many misconceptions about custom clothing, so I'm here to dispel a myth or two:
1. Long Appointments
There is a misconception that it's an all day process. However, by creating a "by appointment only" schedule it allows the seamstress to set up everything for speedy processing for those who need it. A lot of times, I know exactly what and why the customer is there, as well I try to ask for as much information as I can ahead of time. Printing out all contracts and paperwork before hand. That way clients often just come in for measurements and a general overview, 30 minutes to an hour (if the client has additional questions).
2, Items have to be ordered a year in advance
Part truth, part myth. I can tell you that during wedding and prom season starting around april-october it gets pretty hectic for any one in the apparel business. So it really depends on the complexity of the dress, but of course for a simple design it certainly would take as long, I'd say ask your seamstress, I recently had a women email me in April stating that she needed 16 bridesmaid dresses by June! I'm talking tulle, handcrafted flowers the works! I had to decline, as much as I would have love to help, certain things are just not feasible.
3.Buying a pre-made dress online saves you money
If you don't try on a dress before you purchase it, then you could spend tons of money on alterations and adjustments, I often hear there is just a lot less headache involved if you are able to just go in and get exactly what you want in your size, your ideal color and comfort.
4. Custom Clothes are too expensive
Anything handmade is going to be a bit pricier than a manufactured item, what you should consider is a few things; quality , longevity, & comfort. Men especially seem to have no problem going to tailor and purchasing a custom suit or even shirt & paying $200-$1500, many often say they see the expense as an investment. However, women who shop the most are often sold the idea that "trendy", and "sale" are the only things that matter, with all our curves and contours I think its more important not to just focus on "who made it" but "how was it made?", "do I feel comfortable?" "Is this representing my personal style?" "How long will this last? When we start to see our clothing as an investment instead of the "look of the day" then we will begin to see what we wear as an extension of who we are.
5. There is no difference between a seamstress , custom clothing designer or tailor.
Maybe not major differences, but there are differences where it counts and how you want the job executed. I can tell you that just because some one can sew does not mean they can sew all things, some have expertise in a particular material, gender and aesthetic. I can not tell you how many times someone has ask me to make curtains, fix car seat or hem a goat saddle (you get the point lol) Do your research make sure you know who you are going to, before you request the service. Custom clothing designer's have a little more insight into garment construction, design and areas that maybe unfamiliar to someone who just does alterations.
6. If I lose weight after my intial fitting they can just keep altering it until, it fits for my event.
Yea that's a big ol' nope. If the seamstress is smart she'll probably charge you extra for that, if the weight loss or gain is substantial, you might just have limitations in how many times she willing to take it in or out. It may sound harsh but its all for you and the quality of that garment, taking in & out seams can effect the finish product, if the fabric's integrity is begin compromised due to frequent adjustments.
7.I can just ramble off to the seamstress what want and they can quote me fixed price
Uhm.... Estimates ladies, only estimates (no they shouldn't just sprout some random price), but we can only give an estimate based on what you have describe to us or shown us a picture of. The actual cost can really only be determined when we've had time to "in person" access the request. Although even in that situation the price shouldn't differ dramatically when you meet in person be careful of that as well.
8.I saw a dress on a couture runway and I want you to make it for less....
Big Myth, there is reason those dresses cost so much the materials used to produce them are in its self very expensive not to mention the man hours for hand beading. Any seamstress with integrity should politely state they can make a similar version but there is no guarantee the dress would cost less.
9.I'll be charged based on how much I paid for the item I want altered.
If you bought an item that is under $20 and you what it altered, depending on what you want done, I'd implore you to just buy another. Seamstress charge for the work requested it could Forever21 or Dolce & Gabbana.
10.You only need a seamstress for special occasions.....
Truthfully you should probably have the phone number or a good seamstress, clothing designer or some one who just does alterations at your disposal, you never know when you'll need it. Think about it like that plumbers card you keep in your wallet, its like a maintenance service for your wardrobe ;-)
Thanks so much for reading! Stay tune for next time when I dish on some hilarious request & stories I've encountered in my work.
Until next time!