How do I get my skirt replicated?
August 23, 2007 2:39 PM   Subscribe

How does one go about getting a tailor to clone one's favorite item of clothing?

I sew, but not very well. I have an absolutely amazing skirt made by Illig several years ago, and every time I wear it I get tons of compliments. I want another one, before this one wears out (although it is rather tough).

It is a thick, stretchy plaid material. It is extremely long (hits my toes and I'm 5'10"). It has interesting details like cargo pockets and weird cinching ties and grommets down the side.

Due to these details, I think it might be decently hard to have someone make an exact replica. I also have no clue where to find this kind of fabric (it doesn't need to be the same plaid) because I've never found something this thick and this stretchy. Also, tailors do that?

So, on to the questions:
1. Can I just hand the skirt over to a tailor and say, "Make me one of these, please"? How much might it cost?
2. Do I have to provide the material, or can the tailor sort it out? I have no clue how many yards I would need, although I'll venture 4 or 5.
3. Are there good alternatives to tailors to do this? Like some clothing-copiers online that would do it for me?
4. Will my skirt be safe? I'm almost too worried about losing it to give it to someone for a while, especially if I have to send it. However, I'm not sure pictures would do it justice.

TIA, and if anyone has any Philadelphia-centric recommendations, I would appreciate them greatly. I will be following this post closely, so please feel free to ask for clarifications.
posted by nursegracer to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (7 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
You might do better with a professional costume maker for theatre or movies. They're more used to doing all the details, as well as copying items. Example: all the suits that Richard Gere wore in Chicago were copied from an actual vintage suit that fit him like a glove.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 2:41 PM on August 23, 2007 [1 favorite]

You could also look on ebay for the same skirt.
posted by theora55 at 3:05 PM on August 23, 2007

1. There are dressmakers who specialize in copying designs based on photos. They often work on kids prom dresses and bridesmaids dresses and the like so you might try wedding shows to find them. Some of them are very good and some of them are very bad -- get photos of what they were copying and what the final product turned out like, in addition to references.

Cost depends a lot on how complicated a job it actually is. My guess would be more than $50 and less than $500 unless it's very complicated.

2. Either or, depending. Given your constraints, you'll probably want to supply it yourself, though the tailor may have suggestions on where to look for it. 4 or 5 would be a lot of yardage for a skirt, but if there's significant pattern matching to be done across the plaid, it might get close to that. 3 should really be enough, but again, something the tailor could probably help you decide on. In any case, buy more rather than less unless it's incredibly expensive fabric because running out sucks.

4. It's slightly easier to create a new pattern by taking apart the old garment but isn't really necessary especially for a skirt. As long as you're very clear that you want it back intact, it should be fine.
posted by jacquilynne at 3:12 PM on August 23, 2007

The one time I have needed a really good tailor, I went to the fancy department store (in my case Nordstrom), to the higher-end women's businesswear department, and asked them if they could recommend one.
posted by LobsterMitten at 4:58 PM on August 23, 2007


I had a purse with a fabulous pattern that I desperately wanted to replicate in a skirt. I uploaded pictures into Etsy, and within a day I had several people vying for the opportunity to create my dream skirt. You can check out their other creations to see if they are good enough, and away you go.

P.S. The skirt turned out perfect, by the way.
posted by pigwidgeon at 5:01 PM on August 23, 2007

These folks clone jeans and shirts. Maybe worth a note to ask about skirts?
posted by yoga at 5:42 PM on August 23, 2007

A dressmaker/seamstress/costumemaker might be more appropriate than a tailor. Grommets won't be a problem, they are readily availible. I think tailors tend to specialize in suits, so probably not a good choice for dealing with stretchy fabric and details like this.

1. Yes, if you can find the right person. Better if they are local, and make sure they know how to sew stretch fabrics. Ask to see some things they have done.

2. No idea. Fabrics are made for a time and then go out of production just like clothes, so if you see the fabric you want for this, buy it. If you can take care of hunting down the fabric and buying, this will help cut down the cost (v.s. paying someone else to look for it)

3. In person is better. Alternatives -- learn to sew, and to make patterns from clothing you already have. I don't find copying patterns to be all that difficult, but everyone that sews who I've mentioned this to thinks I'm nuts.
posted by yohko at 7:17 PM on August 23, 2007

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