Visiting the tailors in Hoi An can be a daunting prospect if you are not prepared for it. To be honest I found it daunting even after my prep. Here is some of the tips I picked up along the way.
- There are so many tailors to chose from so my first tip is to do your research. Trip Advisor is great for this. Read the reviews left by fellow travellers. This will give you an idea of how expensive a particular tailor might be and the quality of the items. After much research myself and my partner chose Kimmy’s. It’s priced towards the higher end of the scale but quality is assured. They even help you post your items home which is great for backpackers only part way into their trip. I have also heard Bi Bi’s is great for women looking for silk dresses.
- Think about what you want to have made? Is it suits, dresses or in my case a coat? It’s best to go into the tailors with some sort of idea in place as well as a maximum you wish to spend. It’s very easy to get carried away in there. In Kimmy’s for example the sales people were very skilled at encouraging you to part with your money. They made you fell welcome and when you came in for your first fitting acted like you were an old friend coming to visit. It’s hard not to get swept up in it. Having your own clothes tailored is immensely fun so it’s easy to buy more than originally planned.
- Make sure you have a clear understanding of the costs of the entire piece before the tailors start work. For example for my partners 2nd suit he was quoted a price. He was then asked to choose his silk in lay. When we were given the invoice it turned out the price was higher as he had chosen a more expensive fabric. There was not indication of this in the fabric swatch book though so I recommend once you have chosen your fabrics ask them to confirm the total cost again.
- Make sure you stay 3 to 4 days in Hoi An and have a relatively free schedule to allow for multiple fittings. A good tailors should fit you at least 3 times for a suit to ensure its correct. We had 3 fittings at Kimmy’s the first one was the day after we first went in there, chose what we wanted and got measured. We had a further two fittings the following day. One at 13:30 and the next at 17:00. It’s amazing the speed in which they can produce a garment from nothing.
- Be out spoken with your tailor and remember to point out anything you are not happy with during the fittings. You will be paying good money for these items and it might be a once in a lifetime opertunity so you want it to be perfect.
I urge you to go out and have a custom piece made. I can’t wait to be home in England to wear my coat. It’s so very me and so unique because I got to chose my own fabrics and buttons. Although I have not fully tested my piece yet the quality when I was trying it on was high. I paid £85 for my knee length trench coat. In the UK I would probably pay that for piece that was at custom made. By the end of it we came away with two thee piece suits and a coat and could not be happier with the fit and quality of our garments.
Here are some photos from our first fitting.