How can I get a wedding dress custom-made in China?
April 25, 2012 3:20 PM   Subscribe

How can I get a wedding dress custom-made in either Beijing or Quinhuangdao, China? I'll be there for a few weeks and I have a few questions about how this might be possible.

I am traveling to China. I will be in Quinhuangdao for two weeks and Beijing for a week.

I'd like to have a wedding dress made while I am there and am looking for some advice on this, having never been there before or had things custom-made. Here are some questions I had, but any general or specific help you can give is greatly appreciated!

- Shall I bring pictures or do I need to bring a pattern as well?
- Does the pattern have to be my size? (I am looking at vintage patterns online and they are not all my size.)
- Do I purchase the material myself ahead of time or does the dressmaker do this there?
- Can anyone recommend a good dressmaker in either Beijing or Quinhuangdao?
- Does anyone know how long it takes to have a wedding dress made?
- Can it be done the week that I am in Beijing or do I need to get it done over the two weeks that I am in Quinhuangdao?
- Any other advice or things I haven't thought of?

Thank you!
posted by andreapandrea to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (3 answers total)
I've never done this myself, but I went with a friend to help her get her dress picked out while I was in China. This was 7 years ago now so this might be a little dated (though I doubt the process itself has changed much).

If you have a specific dress design / pattern in mind, I would definitely bring it. It would save the time and trouble of picking something out while you're there. If not, they should have albums of pictures of wedding dress for you to choose from, as well as dresses on racks already made and ready to be purchased.

As to material, again, if you have something specific in mind that you want them to use, bring it. Can't speak for wedding dress shops, but I had something tailor-made myself while there and they had books and books of material for me to choose from. I imagine that would be the same with any clothing shops over there. But if you've got a material in mind, bring it just in case there's nothing like it over there.

My friend eventually got her dress in her home country, so don't know about time. But the suit I had tailor made for me took exactly a week. I imagine a wedding dress might take a little more than that, so it'd be best to get yours done in Qinhuangdao to make sure there's enough time.

One more thing: bring somebody to translate for you. Things can get difficult very easily when there's a language barrier.

Hope this helps!
posted by ditto75 at 6:55 PM on April 25, 2012

I don't know about dresses, but I had a suit made in Beijing at the Pearl Market. It was at a smaller joint that only made suits, but there were dressmakers on the same floor. You could check out expat forums for recommendations.

Bring photos, and a pattern if you like, but that's probably not necessary if you only have photos- they wear western-style wedding gowns all the time in China, so they know what they're doing. The dress shops I saw had tons of fabrics, but you could bring your own if you liked.

My suit was done in a week, but then I had to have it altered, so that took another week. A wedding dress might take longer. You could always take the finished-but-not-altered dress back with you and have it altered in the US if there's not any time in China.
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:10 PM on April 25, 2012

This etsy owner is in China (sorry, I don't know where) - she might be worth making contact with? Most of the dresses look lovely.
posted by superfish at 11:34 AM on April 26, 2012

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