Fashion Filter: Clone this blouse
September 22, 2018 1:29 PM   Subscribe

Fashionistas/sewing experts of Metafilter: Can any competent dressmaker/tailor replicate a blouse I love? And how do I go about commissioning it? Snowflake details below the fold.

At the beginning of the summer, I scored this blouse. I love it. It is comfortable, was cool for summer over a cami, fit perfectly and flatters my shape, and I got crazy compliments on it. On the strength of it, I bought a similar blouse from the same source. The fit was a little different/tighter, but I still love it second only to the first blouse. But here it seems to end. Northstyle doesn't currently have any more like it, and I can't seem to find anything close to it elsewhere.

Is this something that a competent tailor/seamstress could replicate?

I've done some searching for local seamstresses and a few advertise that they can make wedding dresses, but most seem to focus on altering existing clothes, not custom creation. Ideally I'd like to be able to go to a fabric store and select fabrics I like (with the guidance of a professional as to what types of materials are feasible to use for this design), and have them create several. For example, something in a heavier fabric more suitable for winter, or with a more subdued pattern. Am I hoping for too much here?

Any guidance on how to find an appropriate professional and what words to use would be helpful. I'm in southeast Michigan, Detroit to Ann Arbor area, if anyone has specific referrals.
posted by Preserver to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
This shouldn’t be hard for someone to do, but I cannot find the tailor in Ann Arbor that I liked. It was a French name, and the person was downtown.

I have had a few bad experiences with tailors in Ann Arbor, but I’m reluctant to name them here. I’ll memail you people I’d recommend avoiding.
posted by FencingGal at 2:13 PM on September 22, 2018

It was Nonpareil, and she’s closed her shop. Darn.
posted by FencingGal at 2:27 PM on September 22, 2018

Call the people advertising that they do wedding dresses. Some of them will do garments as well, and a garment like that ticks a lot of the same boxes as wedding dresses (hard to handle fabric, ruffles, fitting, etc). And if they don't, they may know someone who does.

Ask at an independent fabric store for referrals -- you're going to have to get your fabric there anyway (not a lot of fabric like that at JoAnn). Unfortunately, there aren't many of them in the area. Haberman's (used to be in Royal Oak) just moved to Clawson, Field's Fabrics (a small chain) is in the Kalamazoo/GR area. I don't think there's anything in the western suburbs (it's been 15 years since I've gone anywhere but Haberman's or Field's ), but there might be some in the northern 'burbs. You might be able to get a contact/referral at a sewing machine store. I've had bad luck getting any useful information about seamstresses/tailors from most of the clerks at the JoAnn stores -- they don't have any, not that what they have is bad.
posted by jlkr at 2:35 PM on September 22, 2018 [1 favorite]

Heather in Ann Arbor has stellar reviews. I've never used her, but have friends who have raved. I know her slightly - super nice person. She's a dressmaker and this should be easily within her purview.
posted by leslies at 7:08 PM on September 22, 2018

That's definitely something any competent tailor/dressmaker could replicate. I'm pretty sure I could replicate it, and I'm a couple decades rusty and never did much with pattern-based clothes. (I made a lot of renfaire clothes.) (I am not offering, and you don't want me to make it; I'm very rusty, don't have supplies or space, and on the wrong coast. Just pointing out that it's not a complex pattern, and the sewing skills should be within the range of any good professional.)

There are no special words you should use, but knowing exactly why you like this one best and the other one second-best could help. When you get in touch with someone, ask if they have experience replicating existing clothing. It's a different skillset from working from patterns or original designs, although it's all similar enough that the skills transfer a lot. It's less about finding someone who can make it "exactly like this" - almost anyone who does professional seamstress work should be able to - than finding someone who won't add a "personal touch" or other changes to the shirt.

If the original is dying, definitely let them take it apart and use it as a pattern; it's much easier to do that, than build from measurements. But even building from measurements shouldn't be hard; it's just likely to take a couple of mock-ups in cheap fabric to test the fit.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 11:00 PM on September 22, 2018 [1 favorite]

This is a relatively simple garment to make. I suggest you browse the pattern books at a fabric store and you will probably find something similar, if not the same. A competent seamstress should be able to alter a pattern (if necessary) to fit you just right.

It's a great blouse. Good luck!
posted by Dolley at 9:32 AM on September 23, 2018

I love this blouse!
posted by twin_A at 1:26 PM on September 24, 2018

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