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How to find a good tailor


Familiar Face
I have been to four tailors so far for various things and my clothes have turned out okay but I am looking for an old school tailor one that is consistent with their work. I think I found a guy whom does custom clothing and has been in the business 25 years and schedules one on one appointments. I am going to make an appointment but I was wondering what things should I look for when I go? What questions should I ask? How much should I pay for his services? Such as a going rate?



I'll Lock Up
Melbourne, Australia
You really should try and clarify what you mean by 'tailor' here.

Some 'tailors' just do alterations and reductions. Taking in waistlines, shortening hems, cuffs, etc.

Then you have REAL tailors. By that I mean, bespoke tailors, seamstresses and dressmakers who can literally make you something FROM SCRATCH.

My grandmother was such a tailor. And was for thirty years. It takes many years of daily practice to get that good.

I think the best way to pick out a good tailor is to see what things they've made already, and to go by word-of-mouth/recommendation of others.

You shouldn't just take a guy/girl's word for it that they can make you a suit/jacket/waistcoat/pair of trousers.

Yeah. They can. But is it any good? That's something you can only find out by examining things they've already done, or by speaking to people who've used their services.

A real tailor will have real tailor's tools. The huge, solid steel dressmaking shears that could chop through a phonebook (my grandmother had just such a pair), thimbles, tracing-paper, tailor's chalk, measuring-tape, etc. They should be competent in taking all kinds of measurements, and taking all the measurements that are necessary (and there's a LOT of them!).

The reason why I say to look for proper tailor's tools is because unlike almost anything else made today...a suit, or a garment of quality...REAL quality...is something that still has to be made by hand. And if it's going to be made by hand, then the hands that make it have to have all the best, and right tools for the job. If they don't, I'd approach with caution.

A real tailor with plenty of experience should know what to do. How to take measurements, what cloth to pick, how to put it together. You should ask things like how long it would take. What exactly it is that he/she does when they make your garment. What their background is. What their experience is.

The only thing I can't talk about is payment. Every person is different. But in my experience of alterations alone, it won't be cheap.

And if you end up having a particular tailor as your "go-to" guy, you might be lucky enough that he keeps your template on-file. By that I mean, he keeps all the paper cutouts of the clothes that you wear in his back room. That way, the next time you want another jacket, trousers, waistcoat, shirt etc, he has your measurements already, and can work off of what he has on-stock.

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