Off-the-Rack clothing has been popular and readily available since the mid-19th century, with designers using standard sizing to produce clothing that consumers can buy and wear without major alterations. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case – If you are outside of a label’s size range, or if you aren’t a ‘conventional’ body type, buying ready-made clothing can be super tricky, and often requires major alterations to get the fit bang on. So, when you’re spending money on clothing, and then having to spend even more on alterations, why wouldn’t you instead invest in custom made garments from the beginning?
I am a huge fan of custom-made clothing (for obvious reasons) so today I’m talking through some myths about made-to-measure, as well as my top tips for getting exactly what you want!
The most common misconception about made-to-measure clothing is that it’s really expensive! Don’t get me wrong – it can be pricey, but, say you spent $150 on a dress, and then $50 to get it altered, chances are there will be a local designer out there who, for that $200, could make you something spectacular and unique to you that fits perfectly! The only way to figure out if something is going to be within your budget is to ask, so do not hesitate to approach a designer to ask about the cost of getting something made. Just remember that if you decide their quote is out of your price range then be polite about it – Saying outright that it’s too expensive implies that you don’t value their skills, and just not responding after a quote is an asshole move. If you have a budget in mind, let them know from the start and they will often be able to tell you what that money will get you.
The best thing about having things made for you is knowing that they will fit you just right, and the best way to make that to happen is to have your measurements taken by somebody else – If the person making your new threads is in a different city, then consider asking a friend to take your measurements, or go to a local alterations place and ask them to take them. Provide as many measurements as you can – You might buy clothes online based on Bust – Waist – Hip, but when you’re getting things custom made you want to get the best fit possible, so make sure that you’re giving the designer as much info to work with as possible! Also, I know this should be common sense, but please make sure you give the right measurements – If you add or take away an inch for whatever reason, expect that the fit of your garment isn’t going to be right.
If you are looking for something in particular, consider your options carefully and approach someone who works in that style – You might have a friend who makes kids clothing, but if you’re after a wedding dress then they might not be the one for the job! Going with someone who has experience in wedding dresses might be more expensive, but you will absolutely be paying for a stress-free experience and that is well worth the extra cash.
If you have a dream dress in mind, provide a range of reference pictures and be specific – “I want the skirt like this one, and the top like this one, but in this fabric” – but if you are more open to ideas then discuss that with the designer. They will likely have a whole swag of ideas waiting for the perfect customer to come along, and you’ve picked them because you like what they make, so you should be able to throw around some ideas together and come up with something perfect!
The skirt and bolero in this post were made for me recently by Fran from Cry Cry Cry Clothing, who totally and completely nailed my aesthetic! I told her I like wrap skirts and tropical prints, and she came back to me with a few different fabric options that she thought might work, as well as the idea for adding a coordinating bolero to mix and match. She showed me photos of a wrap skirt she had made previously which I loved – I did ask if it could be a little longer though, which was no problem – and then she went to work crafting the perfect two piece! Because she is in a different city we couldn’t do fittings, so I tried everything on when it arrived and sent her a photo of how it looked – She would have been able to make tweaks if it hadn’t been quite right, but thankfully it was bang on!
This is why communicating with your designer is so so so important though – if something arrives and is not quite right, you need to tell them. Be polite, obviously, and remember that they don’t want you to be unhappy, so give them the opportunity to make the necessary adjustments. They wouldn’t want to have made something for it to just languish in your closet unworn, all because you were too scared to tell them it didn’t fit right.
So there we go – the most important things to remember when getting clothing custom made, featuring some cute snaps from Elizabeth J Photography!
Is there something you’ve been dying to get made, or a favourite custom piece in your wardrobe? Who are your favourite designers to work with?
Until next time,