How to get an article of clothing copied
February 28, 2015 10:15 PM   Subscribe

I have a merino cardigan (sewn from very fine merino knit cloth). Actually I have had four of these cardigans, this is the last one and it's wearing out. The original company doesn't make them anymore. I LOVE this piece of clothing and I have worn it to death 3.95 times over the last seven years. I don't know how to replace it.

But it occurs to me that there must be people capable of finding similar fabric, creating a pattern from the original garment and making a copy, right? Who are these people, by what generic term are they known and does anyone know of one of them in the Bay Area? I'm desperate. After this one goes I have NOTHING. I bow to your collective wisdom and magnanimity. Please help me!
posted by yogalemon to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Just to note, I have found a few tailoring/alterations services, but they don't do this kind of work. I'm looking for someone other than a tailor/seamstress unless you have personal recommendation. Thanks!
posted by yogalemon at 10:28 PM on February 28, 2015

I am not a sewer but I saw a merino sheep once.
Google 'pattern maker' in your local area.
posted by Kerasia at 10:42 PM on February 28, 2015

(Not quite what you asked, but:)
Have you checked eBay/Etsy to see if another is available for sale?

(eBay currently has "4,576 results for 'merino cardigan' ".)
posted by AsYouKnow Bob at 10:49 PM on February 28, 2015

I apologize that I'm not answering your question. Could you take photos of the cardigan, give us the label name, and share what about the style/fit that you love so much (along with the fine merino wool)? It may be easier to quiz the hive mind and find a suitable replacement.
posted by maya at 10:52 PM on February 28, 2015 [3 favorites]

I'd try looking around Etsy for a reputable tailor/seamstress who does custom orders, and take lots and lots of good photos of the cardigan meanwhile.
posted by Ky at 11:30 PM on February 28, 2015

Yes. You go to a dressmaker, this is what they do (along with custom designs and alterations). There are super high end ones who operate more like couturiers, and everyday ones. Hopefully you can find someone who does lots of cut and sew knits and has the equipment to finish them well. You can find working dressmakers through the American Sewing Guild, or you could try calling Apparel Arts in Oakland and see if they can recommend anyone.

But a wool cardigan is probably going to be much easier and cheaper to buy readymade - fabrics made for the garment industry are quite hard for non-manufacturers to get, and even through a jobber any high-quality wool knit is going to be expensive for the fabric alone (and forget matched ribbings and trims, which won't be available at all). Seconding brainstorming replacements as a backup plan!
posted by peachfuzz at 3:44 AM on March 1, 2015 [2 favorites]

Uniqlo makes fine merino cardigans. Are you near a Uniqlo store? They're great quality, I'm totally in love with mine as well.
posted by fraula at 4:19 AM on March 1, 2015 [2 favorites]

AsYouKnow Bob: "(eBay currently has "4,576 results for 'merino cardigan' "

When we moved, my son's plush toy turtle ("Soup") was left behind. He was heartbroken. I had no idea what brand it was and couldn't remember where I bought it. eBay had about 13,000 results for "toy turtle". It took two weekends of my wife and I looking through thousands of listings, but we finally found it. Even though looking through 4.5K listings of sweaters would be tedious, it might be cheaper and easier than having one custom-made.
posted by double block and bleed at 4:26 AM on March 1, 2015 [1 favorite]

Can you post photos of the sweaters with a close up of the knit and a close up photos of the seams? Ideally with a penny or something for scale?

Is the sweater actually made out of cut knit cloth or was each individual piece knit to size/shape?

(I am 100% in sympathy with you... I left a beautiful red merino cardigan in a cab two years ago and I am totally not over it. I will defend its blue sister cardigan with my life. I do have a couple of the Uniqlo cardigans though and they are very nice.)
posted by mskyle at 6:52 AM on March 1, 2015

There are some high end knitters on Etsy who may be able to recreate your sweater. I'd search by sweater and sort by price and then find the shops with the highest prices and read about their experience and methods. Someone like MountainMasche might be able to do it.
posted by congen at 7:20 AM on March 1, 2015

You could try posting a picture of it here and seeing if anyone could recommend one that's similar/identical.
posted by amtho at 7:40 AM on March 1, 2015

As a sewer and someone who has done extensive fabric searching, I can tell you that it is nigh near impossible to find find the perfect fabric to recreate that perfect garment, especially when it comes to wool; you are looking at all kinds of variations of weight and stretch which dramatically affect size, fit and style. In short, it takes an awful of work to get a fabric and pattern to play nicely together, and cardigans add an extra level of challenge due to the way they are constructed. (As a long-time sewer, I would never attempt or bother making a cardigan).
posted by nanook at 8:08 AM on March 1, 2015 [2 favorites]

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