Once you find the right combination, having clothes tailor-made in Beijing can be a wonderful experience. Not all fashion is created equal so why settle for a finished product that is lacking your style or needs to be altered to fit your frame when you can create your own wardrobe for a fraction of the price? Luckily Beijing has a comprehensive selection of materials and many fantastic tailors but in a city of its size, trial and error could cost you time, money and heartache; therefore we have taken the liberty of doing the homework in order to give you the perfect tips of how to get clothes tailor-made in Beijing.
What kind of clothes do you want?
Knowing what you want seems simple enough but this can often prove to be rather difficult. The easy part is picture what your perfect outfit should look like, but the challenging task is getting the tailor to visualize your thoughts. What you need is something concrete to show the tailor. Look through magazines, take pictures of an outfit in the clothing store and if you still can’t quite find what you’re looking for, get out the pencil and paper and draw it. You don’t need a fashion design degree to sketch your visual vogue; it doesn’t need to be perfect, it simply needs to help you communicate your idea to the tailor. There are a few tailors with great design skills but if you show up empty handed expecting the tailor to read your mind, you might get some funky clothes; play it safe, carry some pictures. Once you know what you want, it’s time to choose your fabric and materials.
Most tailors will have at least a small collection of fabric or fabric books in store but for all you creative geniuses that aspire to be the master of your own wardrobe, Beijing has some incredible fabric markets with everything you need to design the picture perfect outfit (addresses of fabric markets below). The markets are lined with booths of cotton, cashmere, linen, wool, silk and numerous synthetic fabrics as well as lining, zippers, buttons, ribbon, lace and all the extra goodies to decorate your garments. Choosing quality raw fabric can be more ambiguous than buying a finished product from your favorite boutique.
Some of the materials you will be able to examine and decide its quality for yourself while with others, looks can be deceiving. The vendor’s are usually happy to show the fabric tag or information and though their English isn’t fluent, they usually know enough to assist with these details.
Silk tends to be a fabric than can easily fool the untrained eye so a good test to make sure you aren’t being scammed is to take a loose thread and light it. If it’s real, it will turn to ash and smell similar to burning hair; if it’s fake, it will simply melt.
What to pay
It’s time to negotiate. Speaking Chinese is always better but at the very least, act like you know what you are doing, otherwise you are going to pay high tourist prices. For good quality fabrics you shouldn’t pay more than the following: cotton, 8-25 RMB per meter; 100% linen, 30-70 RMB per meter; linen and silk mix, 40-130 RMB per meter; linen mixed with less expensive fabrics can be as cheap as 15-25 RMB per meter; silk, 30-100 RMB per meter. If you manage to haggle for an even better price then you earn the right to boast fantastic negotiating skills.
How much fabric to buy
Amounts of fabric will vary per individual based on several factors; while the fabric store or your tailor will give you more exact measurements, here are some approximations to get you started.
For women: Long silk dress 3-3.5 meters, short silk dress 2.5-3 meters; casual or summer dress, 2.5 meters in silk, 1.5 meters in cotton or linen; skirt, 1.5 meters in silk and 1 meter in cotton; shirt, 1-2 meters.
For men: Long sleeve shirts, 2-2.5 meters; jacket, 2.5 meters; trousers, 2.5 meters; shorts 1.5 meters
Choosing the tailor
The best way to find a good tailor is by word of mouth so definitely ask around. Otherwise a good place to start is the fabric markets. Most of the fabric vendors in the markets make garments but before you commit, be sure to inspect the demo pieces hanging in the shop. The same goes for outside tailors as there are hundreds of tailor shops in Beijing at varying quality and price.
You may actually have one tailor for making business wear and another for party wear while yet another is perfect for alterations. The general consensus for tailors in Beijing is that they each have their forte and you should probably stick to that area. This is not to say that you won’t find a tailor to suit all your needs, but be open to using more than one.
Most tourists end up getting their clothes tailor-made at markets like Yashow in Sanlitun (top floor), Silk Market or at Ruifu Xiang Silk Store in Dazhalan, just off Qianmen. While these places are generally reliable and used to dealing with foreigners, it may be more difficult to bargain down a good price.
What else to expect
Now that you have found a tailor, expect to pay a deposit of up to 50% (price may vary from place to place) when you place your custom order. Most tailors in Beijing require 2-7 days to complete a fashion-forward outfit and this typically includes one or two fittings. When you go to pick up your garments be sure to try them on once more before you leave. Do not assume that because your last fitting seemed near perfect that the final product will fit flawlessly. It isn’t considered rude if you want to give the garments a good check over to make sure all the seams, buttons and zips are snug and as they should be. Also, if you chose a material directly from the tailor’s shop, check to make sure it is in fact the same material you originally selected. On the rare occasion a tailor might run out of the fabric you chose and use one that is similar without mentioning it to you.
Muxiyuan Fabric Market 木樨园纺织品市场View In Map
Add: Haihutun Area, South of Muxiyuan Qiao on Nansanhuan Lu, Fengtai District, Beijing
Opening hours: daily 08:00-17:00
Daxin Textiles Co. 大新纺织View In Map
Add: Northeast corner of Dongsi, Dongcheng District, Beijing
Opening hours: daily, 09:00-20:00
Yashow Market 雅秀服装市场 View In Map
Add: 58 Gongti Beilu, Chaoyang District, Beijing
Tel: 010 6415 1726
Opening hours: daily, 09:30-21:00
Silk Market 秀水市场 View In Map
Add: 8 Silk Street, Chaoyang District, Beijing
Opening hours: 9:30－ 21:00
Ruifuxiang Silk Store 瑞蚨祥绸布店 View In Map
Add: 190 Wangfujing Dajie, Beijing
Tel: 010 6525 0764
Opening hours: daily, 09:00-20:30
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Keywords: tailor made clothes Beijing fabric markets Beijing tailors Beijing custom made clothes Beijing
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