snowflake skirt needed
November 21, 2013 11:28 AM   Subscribe

I would like to find a seamstress or tailor to make a custom pencil skirt for me that I can wear to work (so, stuffy business fabric). My attempts to google a solution have not been successful. I either find places that want to charge me $300 or more (nope!), places that do alterations (I need it made from scratch), or places that make custom clothing for men but not women, or brides but not non-brides. I am located in lower Manhattan but have a subway card and am willing to use it. Can anyone suggest where I can go to have a nice suit-like pencil skirt created for me?
posted by prefpara to Shopping (7 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I have no specifics, but how about getting together with a theater costumer? That's how I got my first wedding dress made from my own design.
posted by Madamina at 11:41 AM on November 21, 2013

I bookmarked this etsy shop a million years ago. She makes custom pencil skirts for $66 and all sorts of other retro-ish things.
posted by jabes at 11:43 AM on November 21, 2013 [7 favorites]

You may want to consider going down to the garment district to look at fabric. If you find the stuffy business fabric you want, ask them for a tailor recommendation. I'm sure the folks who sell delicious soft woolen suiting fabric will know who can make you a skirt! You can check out the list of fabric stores on the Shop the Garment District blog.

Also, if you go into the kiosk under the big button, they'll print you a list of stores that sell a particular item (suiting or spandex or lace or ....)
posted by vespabelle at 11:59 AM on November 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

(I used to both sew myself and have custom clothes made for me).

You are in luck: pencil skirts are ideal candidates for alterations. (Buying a pre-made skirt is quite a bit cheaper than quality fabric, especially if you shop discount designer such as Century 21 or Loehmann's). I would recommend buying a skirt that's slightly too large and having it altered. Make sure it's close to the body yet loose enough to sit down, pencil skirts need that extra inch to avoid wrinkling and pulling when you sit down.

Fabric-wise "tropical wool" is best; in general, you want something with a light stretch but not too stretchy. Light heather gray goes with everything and will take you from winter into the summer better than black.

For tailoring, I recommend Hong Kong Tailor Jack in West Village. Reasonable price, good quality. It's a real tailor - they have fabrics in-store and can make custom if you absolutely must have custom but as I mentioned above, ready-made skirt + alterations is cheaper than fully custom. I suspect that a length and waist adjustment should run you about $80.
posted by rada at 11:59 AM on November 21, 2013 [2 favorites]

I think in your price range your best bet is looking for a seamstress on Craigslist to do this, keeping in mind that you may have to go with a student (Parsons/FIT) or less experienced person to stay cheap.

$300 sounds like a reasonable price range for design, quality fabric, labor, and alterations in Manhattan. Even a Brooks Brothers off the rack pencil skirt in the most basic wool starts $168, and that's pre-fab w/ no alterations; after darting and hemming you're looking at about $200. A bespoke mens suit goes for about $3-5K, and bespoke mens shirts go for about $200.
posted by melissasaurus at 11:59 AM on November 21, 2013 [2 favorites]

I'd head over to Mood, and ask them for a recommendation. You can buy the fabric there. You may even run into a student from Parsons who might be glad of the commission.

Pencil skirts are SUPER easy to make. I'm very small in the waist and large in the hips and booty and I used to make my own for a great fit. It's a project that takes a seasoned seamstress or seamster about 3 hours tops.

Hey! Check this out. They have a "find a designer" page.

If you go, give Swatch a scritch behind the ears for me!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:46 PM on November 21, 2013

You could post a job to


I love thrift stores, and have bought some very nice fabric in the form of perviously-worn clothing. Men's pants, if sufficiently large, might be able to be scavenged for very business-appropriate fabric.

Students at Pratt or another fashion school might want to earn money.
posted by theora55 at 2:14 PM on November 21, 2013

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