Custom tailoring in Vietnam
November 15, 2017 11:19 AM   Subscribe

I'm headed to Southeast Asia in March with some friends, and one of our stops is in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). We'd love to engage the services of a custom tailor (suits and shirts for the gents, dresses and perhaps corsets for the ladies). I'd love any and all tips on how best to do this, including links to online resources. Thanks!
posted by DavidNYC to Travel & Transportation around Vietnam (3 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I did this in Vietnam last year, albeit in Hoi An, where tailoring for tourists is a big industry. We did this in a large, famous shop, which worked well for us as there was a big selection of fabrics, lots of tailors, and the staff's English was excellent, making it easy for us to explain what we wanted.

If you have only a short time in the city, consider visiting the tailor as soon as possible. You will need at least 2 visits on consecutive days. On the first visit, you'll pick what you want and be measured, and on the second visit, you'll try the clothes on and the tailor will make alterations, which will be needed. Both visits can be lengthy, especially the second, particularly if lots of alterations are needed.

The shop will probably have catalogues to show the various options you have, but you can also bring your own pictures of styles that you want.
posted by burden at 5:35 PM on November 15, 2017

My SO and I did this in Hué simply based on Yelp reviews. There are fewer tailors in Hué than HCMC, but I'd start with Yelp, then narrow it down to the shops that have fabric that appeals to you. You'll likely be given a time within 24-48 hours to return for a fitting, then do another on the spot as they fine tune.

Now that I think about it, the fitting for me (a woman's fitted dress) was much more difficult than my SO's suit. This wasn't a surprise since I also sew and know women's clothes are just more finicky to fit well, but it meant that I had to return for an additional fitting after my SO's entire suit was complete. So make sure you ask how long you'll need to allow for 2-3 fittings for women's clothes and build in enough time amid your sight-seeing. Maybe filter the Yelp review for those that do women's clothes well, since men's are more straightforward.

Beyond that, we did our homework in advance about what cuts and fabrics we wanted. For the suit this meant down to vent style, lapels, and buttons; fabric weights and colors; and lining choices. This really helped because there wasn't a lot of hand holding in that regard from the tailor. The fabrics were jam packed on shelves without rhyme or reason. The tailor was absolutely unprecious about the materials and process, and moved very quickly, so it was up to us to have opinions. When I thought 'bespoke,' I brought a very western attitude about luxury and formality. But it wasn't 'bespoke' in that it was a luxury process for the tailor; it was bespoke in that she made clothes that fit us very, very well.
posted by cocoagirl at 6:17 PM on November 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

Every westerner I knew got their suits made at Dung Tailors on De Tham, but this was a couple years ago.
posted by ohkay at 9:38 PM on November 15, 2017

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