I was keen to experience tailor-made clothing after the Northerner had much success with his Bangkok tailors (read here for more). Unfortunately, the tailors in Bangkok I looked up didn’t have the fabric I wanted, nor the time to knock up my creation in the time we had. Slightly disappointed, I left Bangkok with no bespoke clothing. But then we went to Hoi An, Vietnam.
So many tailors, so little time
Choosing a tailor in Hoi An can be overwhelming when there is one at every other door. Hoi An was once a port on the silk route and so the high concentration of tailors originates from this. It is important to research your tailor. Upon checking into our hotel, we were recommended to go to Peace Tailors. Since our visit to Hoi An was not for the purpose of visiting the tailors, I didn’t take much notice. Despite this, I researched the tailors suggested on Tripadvisor. They were ranked 7th for best shop and had nothing but 5 star reviews ( see reviews here). So when we walked along Le Loi street and recognised the name, the Northerner suggested we go in.
I’ll admit, I was reluctant as I didn’t want to spend hours in the tailors. I wanted to see Hoi An. But, you can’t go to Hoi An and not step inside a tailors.
And so I went in. Here’s what happened.
Stepping into the shop was a relief from the heat. A lady approached us and asked if she could help. I said I was looking to have a dress made. She asked me to sit down and brought me a whole bunch of catalogues, including a portfolio of photos from previous customers at their final fitting. She also very kindly brought us two cold water bottles. Very welcomed given the heat in Hoi An. I was surprised that a ‘Next’ catalogue was included in the pile. It made me realise that the possibilities to my order were endless. I was beginning to get a little excited.
Do your Research before!
As I mentioned in the Bangkok tailor guide, doing your research beforehand is wise. Not just for tailors but also for what you want made. Being petite, top heavy and curvy, getting the right cut of a dress was extremely important. I had thoroughly researched what type of dress would suit my figure and saved a few images on my Pinterest before heading to Bangkok. Personally, a wrap dress or a fit and flare type dress would suit me. Showing your tailor a picture is really helpful.
I knew what I wanted for the wrap dress and showed the lady my picture. She looked at it and then asked me to send it the shops email which I did using their WiFi. For the second dress, I looked around the shop and saw on one of the mannequins something that resembled a fit and flare. However I also saw a fit and flare type dress in the customer portfolio book. I liked the neckline of the dress in the customer portfolio book and the skirt of the mannequin dress so went for a combo of the two, requesting less pleats as I knew that pleats don’t work with me.
Sizing me up
I stood there as the tailor called out my measurements to another assistant in Vietnamese. The measurements were taken so quickly, it was over before I knew it. At this point she asked me about the length of the dress and I pointed to where above the knee I wanted the dresses to sit.
Choosing your fabric
Next I had the task of choosing my materials. For the wrap dress, this was simple enough. I just wanted a black jersey. I was shown the fabric that would be used and was thrilled. It wasn’t a thin, flimsy jersey but a nice solid, durable jersey. For the fit and flare dress, I figured I would just go with a plain colour as well. But I didn’t know what to pick. There was so much choice and I needed to think about what would suit me from head to toe. I was still thinking of plain colours when the tailor showed me a navy and white polka dot material. Of course! I had completely forgotten that I love that pattern. I was sold.
We were told to return the next day in the morning after 11 am. The whole process took less than an hour, for two dresses! We had the rest of the day to enjoy Hoi An.
Collection: Take 1
We went back at 11 am and the dresses were ready. I tried on the black dress first. It fit like a glove and was very flattering. The tailor had even added a modesty button at the V-neck point of the dress, so that I could go from work to the bar! I loved it so much, when the tailor suggested I get another dress made with that cut I was very tempted. Next, I tried on the fit and flare. The dress was exactly what I wanted, however there were a few minor changes I wanted made. The neckline was a little too high so I requested this change. I also walked around in the dress and sat down in a chair to see where and how it would sit. Then I decided that I wanted to shorten the length just a little. The tailor made note of all these changes.
Adding to the order
One question was still left unanswered. Did I want another dress made? The answer to that was obviously yes! I wanted to go back with hundreds of beautiful dresses made just for me! So I sat down with the jersey samples and had a look at the colours. Again I had to think of what suited me. In the end, I decided to make another wrap dress, this time in a Merlot red. I’ll admit I was slightly unsure about this colour, but wanting to broaden my colour palette and having success in the past, I went with this colour. The tailor used my measurements from before. Slightly anxious about the decision I had made, we left the tailor shops. This whole process took no more than 30 mins as the tailor used my measurements from before.
Collection: Take 2
We collected the dresses in the evening before close as I didn’t want to carry the dresses around all day. I tried on the ‘fit and flare’ dress and all adjustments had been made to perfection. Thrilled, I went on to try the Merlot red wrap dress. This, too, came complete with a modesty button and I was pleased with the result. I was very happy with the final results of all three dresses.
How much did it cost?
The grand total for all three dresses was $150 USD. We paid in cash. It is possible to negotiate a deal when you add to your order and the tailor did adjust the price as I bought 3 dresses.
Unlike the Bangkok tailors, I won’t be able to ask for more orders from across the world. But I’ll be sure to go back to Vietnam, with more photos saved and an empty suitcase!
Have you been to a tailor in Vietnam?
Don’t forget to pin it for later!