Friday, October 12, 2007

Having clothing custom made...

Since I get a steady stream of questions on the "Find a Dressmaker" site, I'm thinking that maybe there are many more people out there with similar ones. Perhaps this is a good time to post what I've been asked lately...

The most common question is...

What does it cost to have something custom made?

Here's the only complete answer I can give... Every custom project is unique. A dressmaker may quote a price range, based on her/his experience making similar items in the same category. Before determining your unique and specific price quote, fabric choices, design details, fitting time, layers of fabric, and structural elements are all considered. Price alone will neither guarantee quality, nor disqualify any dressmaker as incompetent. As a ballpark, expect to pay double or triple the item's retail equivalent (if something similar can also be bought). Remember, there really isn't any exact copy of your dream garment to compare it to, since factory processes are always different than the dressmaker's.

Custom makes sense for many categories of garments. Brides are the most common, but proms, debutantes, award ceremonies and special occasions run a close second. After that, you have people with unique requirements due to body shape, size, medical apparatus, prosthetics, or other physical challenges. In my experience, professional women who are extremely petite, and want to dress like grown-ups have a particularly hard time finding appropriate clothing. The very tall professional woman also has a hard time finding clothing.

The toughest conditions to work around are post weight-reduction surgery, recent breast augmentation or mastectomy, and maternity. Fitting a moving target is always difficult. If it is a loose item, it won't matter, but if needs to fit closely, and it can wait, you'll likely be happier if you do.

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