How To Have Clothes Made in Bali

Posted by Kate Sutton on

OK, I'll admit it - I am a frustrated fashion designer living in a jewellery designers body.

From the age of 5 I hand sewed my own skirts until mum taught me (and let me use) her sewing machine. My mum and Nan taught me how to sew a simple skirt and thread elastic and so I had all the tools needed to create my tragic Punky Brewster style fashion. (remember her? The TV character who tied a scarf around her knee and made it her own?)

I am lucky enough to spend time in Bali each year as I can always manage to find another excuse to go. I feel like it wouldn’t matter how many times I go, there is always something new to discover about this beautiful island.

For years I have been taking fabric and having missing pieces of my wardrobe whipped up by local tailors. In fact you’ve all been asking me for tips to a successful make so here they are.

1.     Take beautiful fabric with you as you might be disappointed with what the tailors have on offer. (you don’t need to take your own leather, they have amazing leather and it’s much cheaper than buying in Australia)

2.     Draw a sketch of what you are hoping to have made and discuss details like lining / buttons / belts / top stitching when you get your quote. A drawing with details as simple as this one will help you get what your heart desires

3.     Allow half a day to find a tailor. Yep, you need to shlep yourself around to three different shopfronts and get THREE quotes for the work you want done.

4.     Choose a tailor based on gut instinct. I have to be honest and say that I use someone different almost every time I go, because the first make is always the best! (I have had average results from the same tailor after going back the following year... weird I know, but that’s my experience!)

5.     Allow a week to have something made. Actually tell your tailor that you are leaving the country three days before you actually are. The reason for this is they will often try and deliver at the last minute, which means there is no recourse and no ability to change or alter anything that doesn’t fit properly.

6.     Don’t be afraid to ask for alterations after they deliver or you pick up your goods. Check seams, check your lining, check for lumps and bumps and if something isn’t quite right, you can and should ask for alterations if you need them.

7.     Get a leather jacket made! I have several in my wardrobe now and I am still in love with each and every one of them. I wear them all the time and this year I took it a step further and had a leather tunic made. I wanted something that was trans seasonal that I could wear in summer and then take through to winter by adding a shirt, blazer and boots. (this tunic even looks good with jeans underneath!) 

8.     Enjoy the process as much as the outcome. I get butterflies in my stomach every time I get something made.

Rock one of your new outfits on your last night of your holiday! I was so happy with how this silk dress turned out... I couldn't resist giving it a night out of it's own and I’m already planning my next trip... 

Bali Fashion Style Travel

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