Cheap, good dressmakers in London?
July 14, 2009 6:25 AM   Subscribe

I have a dress that I love. I want more dresses just like the dress that I love. Help me find someone in London who will make me cute dresses!

I bought a dress last year from a high street retailer, and I absolutely adore it. It's a perfect cut for me, I look damn cute in it (if I may say so myself), it works for work and play, winter and summer. But it's only the one dress. I'd love to have it reverse engineered and several copies made of it in different fabrics. Short of rustling myself up a crafty friend with a sewing machine, how do I do this in a vaguely affordable way?

A search for tailors or dressmakers in London just brings up endless bespoke Saville row tailors and high end dressmakers (all far, far out of my budget), and I'm having trouble searching for the right thing. Any recommendations for tailors/dressmakers/seamstresses(seampersons?) in London who could do this kind of thing would be much appreciated.
posted by shewhoeats to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (6 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
No clue, but perhaps etsy has people you could come to arrangements with who are local to you? Many etsy crafters will take custom orders. You want one that has a good track record for this. It will be spendy but not Savile spendy.
posted by By The Grace of God at 6:29 AM on July 14, 2009

Rachel Matthews at Prick Your Finger might have some contacts. Her shop is based in Bethnal Green, it's focussed around woolcraft but there might be some overlap with tailoring, and she's big on the crafting scene in London.

Other than that you could ask at your local dry cleaners, they often outsource alterations and might be able to assess how feasible your project would be, or pass you on to a local tailor.

If you find someone let us know, I have a dress I'd love to replicate!
posted by freya_lamb at 6:45 AM on July 14, 2009

I'd do a local search for some of the 'ethnic' boroughs - Wembley and Southhall come to mind as they have a high south asian population, but am sure you can think of others. Often have tailors who do ethnic clothing , but can copy a design also. You can always order one copy and see how it turns out
posted by darsh at 7:31 AM on July 14, 2009

There are alot of capable seamstresses who could do this if they were at liberty to take apart the original dress and use it as a pattern. The difference between them and Saville Row is that the tailors are experts at sizing someone up and coming up with a pattern from scratch. Most seamstresses are not expert pattern makers, which is an entirely different skill than sewing.
You might have luck if you can browse online or in a craft store for a pattern that looks like your dress, and then working with that as a base, have a seamstress modify the pattern until it approximates the dress as best it can.
posted by slow graffiti at 8:22 AM on July 14, 2009

Seconding Etsy - Here's the Alchemy page - it's a great way to get things custom made.
posted by hibbersk at 10:20 AM on July 14, 2009

Maybe try putting up a notice at a fashion school? Might be better than Etsy because you'd be in the same city as the person doing the work, so you could do fittings. It would be a good idea to check out their portfolio or examples of their work beforehand, but as mentioned above, this would not be a technically difficult project.
posted by Fifi Firefox at 11:45 AM on July 14, 2009

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