I want to copy my dress.
May 4, 2015 7:52 AM   Subscribe

Can you recommend a tailor/seamstress/dressmaker in New York who can make an exact copy of a beloved, though not at all high-fashion, dress that has seen better days?

I have this dress. It's one of those rare fashion items that winds up being a surprising favorite out of nowhere. Really: I bought it at an Urban Outfitters in Philadelphia in 2010, probably for under 60 dollars. It's merely a plain, black, a-line, sleeveless, v-neck jersey dress that just so happens to fit better on me, and be more flattering on me, than any other article of clothing I've ever worn. I love it I love it I loveitohgod. Unfortunately, it is dying. I've sewed holes in two seams, and the fabric itself is starting to wear away. I cannot go back to those days in which my closet did not harbor this dress. Those days were terrible.

I have tried other similarly-styled dresses to no avail, so that is not what this question is about: this dress has something special about it and thus I want an EXACT REPLICA. Maybe in every color. Maybe I never want to wear anything else ever again.

Where can I go, in New York, to have this happen? I know there are places that will make you a custom dress, but they seem to focus more on the high-end or bridal, and not on copying a five-year-old falling-apart mass-produced jersey dress. I am 100% ok with giving a tailor the dress and letting him or her take it apart to make a pattern, as long as said tailor is very good and can actually make a true facsimile of the item. That is why I need your personal recommendation, o people of metafilter who have had your clothing replicated. Help??

(I also know there are people in China who will do this; I do not want to mail my favorite dress to China, and since this has to be an exact replica because that's the entire point here, a picture shall not suffice)
posted by millipede to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (7 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
I can't answer your question, but have successfully managed to search out "new" versions of my worn-out favorites on e-bay sometimes, so try that too.
posted by metasarah at 8:06 AM on May 4, 2015

millipede: "v-neck jersey dress "

The problem is going to be finding the exact right jersey material. You might want to reach out to the manufacturer to see if they can give you a lead on the fabric (or to see if they have any deadstock of that specific dress -- 2010 wasn't that long ago).
posted by Rock Steady at 8:17 AM on May 4, 2015 [8 favorites]

I was just typing up an answer similar to Rock Steady's. I've had this done but not in New York, so I can't specifically recommend a place, unfortunately, Also, I'm not at all an experienced tailor/seamstress but I have successfully copied 2, 3, 4 seam dresses without trouble. It's something any sewist who takes in piecework can likely do easily, but success from your perspective is going to depend heavily on the fabric used to make the finished dress. You'll want to find that first and it's going to be hard and it may be quite expensive.

Luckily, you're in New York. You can go to Mood, B&J and a bunch of other places to check out.
posted by crush-onastick at 8:22 AM on May 4, 2015 [4 favorites]

Definitely hit up a fabric store with your dress. They'll be able to direct you to similar fabrics and probably hook you up with a seamstress who could do this. (Don't be swayed by seamstresses who show higher-end stuff, some will also happily sew regular dresses.)

It would be helpful if you had a picture, too, because sleeveless V-neck A-line dresses can be pretty easy finds as preexisting sewing patterns, and would also give you sleeve and length options. With a pic, those of us who know patterns (I like to browse...) might be able to find you a match online. Then you could give the pattern to a seamstress. I too am betting your dress is awesome mainly because of its fabric and construction though. Merely the way fabric is cut can make a huge difference in how any item of clothing drapes on your figure.
posted by fraula at 8:38 AM on May 4, 2015 [2 favorites]

I don't have NYC specific advice, but this is how I found my tailor, who has done both work for me and my wife:

Find a reputable vintage shop that specializes in suits and formal-ish wear (this is easier than finding an actual tailor…). Old vintage suits and dresses don't fit modern Americans very well, and these places almost always have a tailor that does most or all of their work, and its usually contracted out. This is who you really want to connect with. These people ARE GODS. Mine has her own studio that she works out of, but gets the bulk of her work from a single, tiny vintage shop. She's there one day a week to measure and take orders, then works out of her studio for the rest of the week. Here's the thing though; she also does tons of wedding dresses and custom work….but she also hems pants. It's all the same work for her, she just doesn't show off hem-lines of pants on her website.

My wife has had a couple dresses and skirts replicated and once it's done, its really, really cheap to have it re-done once the pattern is set. She's even had a couple dresses and shirts done up in nicer materials than the original garments she's had replicated. The seamstress/tailor sources all the materials for the projects (when needed) so you don't have to go fabric shopping if you don't want to.
posted by furnace.heart at 8:42 AM on May 4, 2015 [7 favorites]

I think your best bet will be to find the fabric yourself and then bring it to a place like Stanton tailor shop (I love them) to have it replicated.
Take your dress to a fabric store in the garment district like Mood or B+J fabrics which has cool jersey prints and ask the salespeople to help you find a similar weight fabric. That is going to be the key to the dress hanging right and feeling the same as your old one.
Keep in mind that if your old one is kind of threadbare, the new version will be a little stiffer no matter what.
posted by rmless at 12:51 PM on May 4, 2015

I just did this last month with my favorite shirt. Went to Mood fabrics to buy some fabric, then took the fabric and shirt to Dynasty on West 38th. It was not cheap, but the copy is perfect and the quality of the shirt is incredible. Oh, and they didn't have to take apart the original shirt to make the pattern from it.
posted by minervous at 7:51 PM on May 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

« Older What's a relaxing way to the Dales, and what do I...   |   Because COCKTAILS!! Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.