Copy my work shirts, one piece of material at a time!
February 4, 2010 11:12 AM   Subscribe

Copy my dress shirts - Is there a tailor who can make exact replica's of my best fitting button down dress shirt?

I have difficulty finding clothes that fit me. I finally found a shirt that fits me perfectly, and the company that made it no longer makes this style (J. Crew from business formal/casual dress shirts collection fall of 2008).

Can I send the shirt to a tailor, have them unsew the shirt at the seams, trace the material/pieces of the shirt onto new material and re-sew into multiple copies of the same shirt (I'd like a dozen if that matters!)

This seems simple in theory - copying a shirt - but I'm not sure where to look, what tailor/business to call, if there's a name for this process, how much it would cost, or if I could do this myself!

Please only respond if you can speak directly to this request! I've priced custom tailored shirts before and they were a little too expensive. I'd like to use this process to subsize the cost if possible.

Thanks in advance!
posted by thankyoumuchly to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (9 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Your location will help very much if you're looking for a recommendations on a tailor. In my experience, you shouldn't need to "send away" for this. Any moderately-skilled seamstress/tailor should be able to copy a shirt in a similar material.
posted by muddgirl at 11:18 AM on February 4, 2010

Where are you located? Custom shirt- and suitmaking can be prohibitively expensive, but there are companies like Raja Fashions that beam your measurements to tailors in Asia to deliver the goods (in this case, to UK customers) at a considerable discount. They'd probably be happy to take your shirt and make some copies.

Copying a shirt needn't necessarily be prohibitively expensive if you're somewhere where tailoring isn't just for the wealthy. A friend of mine in Dubai gets most of her clothes made that way -- £15 for a shirt and ready next day. They most likely won't need to tear it apart, either -- only bumbling amateurs like me need to do that.
posted by stuck on an island at 11:24 AM on February 4, 2010

What you're describing is custom-tailored shirts. Unfortunately, I don't think that copying a shirt rather than taking your measurements would reduce the price. (And btw I don't think they would have to take your current shirt apart to copy it.)

However, a dozen shirts is a decent sized order. I'd call the cheaper custom shirt places in your city, which will probably be the ones that have the work done in Hong Kong or Thailand, and see if they'll give you any kind of bulk discount. Muddgirl is right that you don't HAVE to send away, but an online-only Asian tailor (like where you can just mail the garment, might be your cheapest option anyway.
posted by pete_22 at 11:24 AM on February 4, 2010

You could also try putting an Alchemy request on Etsy.
posted by kataclysm at 11:32 AM on February 4, 2010

There are loads of these companies on the internet:, Alexander West, Executives Closet all come up in google, for instance. Basically, anyone who does custom shirts will take a shirt in lieu of measurements. I recall seeing one years ago that specialized in this service, but can't find it now.

I've never used any of these internet services, but I'd be super surprised if they actually disassemble your favorite shirt.

I HAVE however gone to a couple tailors and said, "how about this, copy this shirt for me and we'll see how it comes out." It was terrible every time. There is a wide range of what it means to "copy" a shirt:
- use it as a template for basic design (e.g. what kind of yoke does it have?)
- use it as a template for measurements on a given design (how long are the sleeves, etc.)
- copy the collar, cuffs, buttons, etc.
- copy the fabric.

There is essentially no way anyone is going to be able to make the shirt out of the same fabric that your shirt is. Right there, that's going to change the way it drapes a lot. Second, the cuff/collar issue is huge. It's a big part of the way the shirt looks, and it seems that the tailors have a set range of styles they do these in, so they don't really copy them, they might go for a similar look. Or, if you use some of the tailors I used, they might just choose something randomly. Hell, they might skip attaching the cuff buttons entirely, and not even cut button holes for them, so you have to wear the shirt with the sleeves rolled up all the time (this actually happened to my friend, it was in another country and didn't notice till we got home. Hilarious).

Also, when I've gotten shirts copied by tailors it was like...a trivial amount cheaper. Whatever the labor cost of doing the measurements was. So I'd be surprised if you find a shirt xeroxer that's materially cheaper than a custom shirtmaker. That said, you should be able to find reasonable custom-made shirts for less than a new J. Crew dress shirt. What do they run? $100, $120? I'm looking at their website now. Jeez, button-downs are $125. They don't seem to have any formal shirts on here besides tux shirts though. Super-nice custom shirting is way more than this, but perfectly reasonable shirts can be gotten for around this price or less.

Anyway, I'd say find a less-expensive shirt maker who'll take your shirt as a template, but I'd also send in my real measurements, and just use the shirt as a guide to fit and style (cuffs, collar, etc.) and also, I wouldn't get my hopes up too much.
posted by jeb at 11:47 AM on February 4, 2010

Jantzen will copy a shirt for you. They run about $40 each, with shipping. Photos of you wearing the shirt help as well, because it allows them to see how it fits. I've gotten made-to-measure shirts from them and have been pretty pleased with the results.
posted by electroboy at 12:25 PM on February 4, 2010

My husband's dress shirts are custom and I just recently ordered three more for him. He was measured while in Hong Kong by the tailor and now they can look up the sizes for me and then I send him a photo of the colour/style that I want. I know that they also can "copy" shirts although I have not had that done. I think that I pay about $50-$60 per shirt delivered.

The company is Remy Fashions (but not the one that comes up first on google - I'm pretty sure that they don't have a website) memail me if you want the email address.

They are fast, friendly and I've been VERY happy with the result.
posted by saradarlin at 3:20 PM on February 4, 2010

Where are you located? If you are anywhere in the DC / Mid-Atlantic US region, I can strongly recommend The Tailored Man in Alexandria, VA. In addition to their storefront, they also go around the US and Canada to various cities and take clients' measurements. I think there is a schedule on their website of when they're going to be where.

I am certain they could also "copy" a shirt if you wanted to send it to them for measurement, rather than having them measure you directly.

They are essentially the "front-end" of an operation with a factory in Hong Kong. They take your measurements and send them to the factory, factory makes the shirts to spec, factory FedExes the shirts either to them or direct to you. (If they go to them, you have the opportunity to try one on and make sure it's perfect before you take final delivery.)

Prices are around $75/ea., which IMO is a fair price for the product. Goes up from there depending on what material you want them made out of.
posted by Kadin2048 at 6:24 PM on February 4, 2010

In case the maker you settle on will prefer to work from a pattern you supply, or you decide you don't want to mail your shirt off to a stranger half-way around the world, copying the shirt yourself isn't too challenging; it doesn't have to be taken apart.
posted by dpcoffin at 8:54 AM on February 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

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