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Good tailor in Vancouver?

post #1 of 508
Thread Starter 
Anyone know a good tailor in Vancouver? Preferably someone who recognizes the modern slim fits these days as I would like to update the fit of my suits.

Thanks.
post #2 of 508
Try Tony Arletto at European Tailors on Thurlow. Tony does all the work himself by hand. I had a suit made there last year and am quite pleased with it. He does full custom as well as alterations.

European Tailors
842 Thurlow Street @ Robson
604-684-877
post #3 of 508
Hey Cap'n, I've had Tony do a lot of alteration work for me too, and have been happy with it. I've wondered how he'd do on an MTM suit or jacket and am glad to hear your experience has been good.

Another tailor I've used is Frank at Paul Minichiello's shop in North Vancouver:

127 West Esplanade
North Vancouver
604-985-9222

Like Tony, Frank is middle-aged and was trained in Italy. He too makes MTM suits, jackets, and trousers.

My experience with tailors (at least in Vancouver) is that they know the detail work of tailoring--the cutting, stitching, fitting, etc.--but tend not to be very knowledgeable about styles or top makers. Most of them were trained in a certain style and tend to produce garments in that style. They are not designers and tend not to think much about line, cut, and silhouette.

Edit: One thing, Cap'n: I don't think you'd say that Tony (or most tailors) actually does most of the work by hand. Although some things are done by hand (Tony may make buttonholes by hand, for example), as far as I've been able to tell, most of the work is done on a sewing maching. One other thing: I don't think that we can regard their work as bespoke either (you didn't use this term), as I believe that they measure and fit themselves, but then use their own patterns. I'm indebted to Tattersall for making this distinction clear to me vis-a-vis West Coast tailors.
post #4 of 508
What Tony Arletto's prices like?
post #5 of 508
Quote:
Originally Posted by clownmitts
What Tony Arletto's prices like?
For what kind of work? In general, Tony has struck me as fairly reasonable wrt prices, but the work he has done for me has been specifically wrt to certain alterations, and I don't have much to compare the prices with. CaptChaos, on the other hand, would know Tony's prices for suits. When I was there, I seem to recall prices like $1000 or thereabouts for suits, and $700, maybe, for jackets, but this is from memory and the Capt could correct this if wrong.
post #6 of 508
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger
My experience with tailors (at least in Vancouver) is that they know the detail work of tailoring--the cutting, stitching, fitting, etc.--but tend not to be very knowledgeable about styles or top makers. Most of them were trained in a certain style and tend to produce garments in that style. They are not designers and tend not to think much about line, cut, and silhouette.

I agree with this. You have to tell the tailor exactly what you want. Tony wasn't much for suggesting features or styles.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger
Edit: One thing, Cap'n: I don't think you'd say that Tony (or most tailors) actually does most of the work by hand. Although some things are done by hand (Tony may make buttonholes by hand, for example), as far as I've been able to tell, most of the work is done on a sewing maching. One other thing: I don't think that we can regard their work as bespoke either (you didn't use this term), as I believe that they measure and fit themselves, but then use their own patterns. I'm indebted to Tattersall for making this distinction clear to me vis-a-vis West Coast tailors.

I don't doubt some of the work is done on a sewing machine but almost all of the exterior stitching on my suit appears to be done by hand. The lapels, collar, pockets, front edge and all the buttonholes show the slightly irregular pattern of hand stitching. He did show me a jacket that was partially completed and the canvas was all hand stitched as well.

Given the lack of selection in good men's clothes in Vancouver, I think Tony is probably at or near the top in terms of providing quality tailored clothing. I went to a number of other so called 'tailors' in town and to say they were lacking is an understatement.

Thanks for the tip about Frank in North Vancouver. Have you just used him for alterations or has he made you something?
post #7 of 508
Quote:
Originally Posted by clownmitts
What Tony Arletto's prices like?

Suits start at $1200, jackets at about $900 and pants at $300. Prices go up from there depending on the cloth and style selected. For my two piece single breasted suit, I chose a mid-range British worsted and it came in at $1600. All prices in Canadian dollars.

His selection of cloth is adequate but he does not carry any of the high end names that are mentioned on this board (H&S, Lesser, Minis, etc). He does seem to favour Italian cloths (perhaps because he is Italian) with Zegna on the higher end.
post #8 of 508
Cap'n, that's very useful information. Geez, you'd think that in a city the size of Vancouver, there'd be a couple of great tailors, wouldn't you. Maybe the laid-back, slob sartorial mentality here keeps them away. Anyway, my experience with Frank is recent. I haven't had him make me anything. I had him shorten the sleeves of a Kiton sports jacket and make functioning sleeve buttons. The work was good. Just today, as a matter of fact, I was over there with a new suit to have slightly altered. He's going to do the same with the jacket--shorten the sleeves and make functioning sleeve buttons--and is doing the cuffing, etc., of the trousers. Frank is more dogmatic than Tony. He absolutely refused to have the sleeve buttons closer to the cuff than 1 1/4" (outside edge of last button). Refused. He also refused to consider slightly widening the leg, although there wasn't much fabric to work with. It's an Isaia suit, and the trousers are quite slim--about 17.75" at the cuff. I figured he could probably have got me another 1/2", but he refused, saying that it wasn't worth it. Frank can get excited about these things, I've discovered. I think he's probably a good tailor (I'll know more in a couple of weeks), but he lacks Tony's calmness.

Have you found any other tailor in Vancouver who is any good?

With respect to cloth, you can get your own through sellers like Lesser or Werner Topel at Beazley's Fine Cloth at H&S (Holland and Sherry wools). Werner is a great guy, and his prices are very reasonable. I just picked up some H&S flannel (from their Viceroy book) for trousers from him for 70 GBP per meter and very reasonable shipping. For a little more, Baron Lee (Lee clothiers in the Bentall Centre) will bring in Scabal or H&S cloths at still pretty reasonable prices.

Cheers.
post #9 of 508
Hey Roger, what did Frank charge for doing hand sewn button holes?

I like Tony's work a lot, although I've only had him do alterations so far. I think that most people bring him pretty cheap stuff to work on, so he seems to appreciate it if you appear with something nice. I brought in a Barbera I picked up off of eBay and he was really liked it a lot. He spotted the button holes the moment he came around the corner.

He always has a jacket or two on display that he's working on, and they do look very good.
post #10 of 508
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger
Have you found any other tailor in Vancouver who is any good?

Nobody except Tony so far. I've heard that Angelo's on Commercial in Little Italy is decent but I have not yet visited. Has anyone been to Angelo's?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger
With respect to cloth, you can get your own through sellers like Lesser or Werner Topel at Beazley's Fine Cloth at H&S (Holland and Sherry wools). Werner is a great guy, and his prices are very reasonable. I just picked up some H&S flannel (from their Viceroy book) for trousers from him for 70 GBP per meter and very reasonable shipping. For a little more, Baron Lee (Lee clothiers in the Bentall Centre) will bring in Scabal or H&S cloths at still pretty reasonable prices.

That's an interesting idea. I usually like to see the cloth in person before selecting something. I found Beazley's contact info on the H&S web page. Where can I find Lesser? Are these sellers willing to send out sample swatches?

I also took a quick look through the CBSA tariff schedule and it appears one can import most wool cloth with no customs duty. This is sounding like a viable option.
post #11 of 508
Ksm:
I can't remember exactly what the price was on the sleeve buttons because he did some other work for me too that was included in the bill, like the sleeve shortening. My recollection is that it was very inexpensive--maybe $100 for everything on that jacket. After yesterday's visit with Frank, I've learned that the buttonhole work is done in a shop in Burnaby that Minichiello must share with a few other tailors. Evidently, there is one buttonhole-making machine (they're not done by hand) operated by one guy, who does all this kind of work for everyone. This might explain the lower price. I was very pleased with the buttonholes, but they are, in the final analysis, machine-made. Tony Arletto, on the other hand, may, if I remember correctly, do his buttonholes by hand. At this point, I'm not sure whether there is a strong reason to have them done by hand, but I guess it's personal preference.

CaptChaos:
I've been to Angelo's shop. It's a hole in the wall on Commercial Drive. It's an unimpressive shop, and Angelo is an unimpressive guy at a personal level. Still, he might do decent work. I was there to look into having some shirts made. He does shirts, and his prices are rock-bottom, but I just didn't get a positive vibe there. I could be overlooking a diamond in the rough in Angelo, so you should go over and check him out for yourself.

As for Lesser wools, I went directly to Lesser in London at: info@hlesser.co.uk. They sent small swatches right away. I almost went with their "Lumbs Golden Bale" flannels (at 78 GBP per metre), a superb flannel, but, in the end went with the H&S. This might have been a mistake, as Lesser is generally regarded as the best of the best, I've discovered. Our (super-knowledgeable) compatriot in Victoria, and fellow forumer, Tattersall put me on to some of these leads. With the Holland & Sherry, Werner Topel sent some nice samples very promptly. Other places you could look are:

Hield, at: info@hield.co.uk. They too sent some nice, and large, samples. Samer Chamsi-Pasha is your contact there.

Hwa Seng Textiles. Website: http://www.hst.com.sg/acatalog/Pure_Wool_Fabric.html. They're an online fabric (cotton and wool) supplier operating in Singapore. They can supply Hield and Dormeuil wools, along with several other, less-known brands. Goh is the contact there, and they can also supply H&S, although their prices on H&S are not as good as those at Beazley's. Incidentally, they also have a pretty large supply of shirting cottons, including a few from Alumo, lots from Acorn, and tons from several Italian suppliers, including Albini. I buy my cotton this way (directly, rather than from the shirtmaker)--although mainly directly from Alumo--when having shirts made. I'm not sure that Hwa Seng's prices are the best, and I haven't bought fabrics from them, although I did buy some of their sumptuous MOP buttons (the "Queen of Mother of Pearl", at about 3.5 mm. thickness) for some shirt projects.

I also tried Fox Flannels, which is extremely highly regarded, but did not get a response from them.

I think you're right about duties on wool. With Beazley's, my total bill for 3 metres of flannel (2 cuttings, each 1.5 m.) was the 70 GBP X 3, plus 18 GBP for shipping. The total came to $456 Cdn. delivered to my door. This was enough for two pairs of trousers. The making will cost me about $195 at Minichiello, so that the final price will be about $435 a pair, including GST on the making part. Not cheap, but made to measure with super-fine wool, so not too bad. It's equivalent to buying a pair of trousers at a store for $385 and paying the PST and GST.
post #12 of 508
Have any of you tried May Sun Shirts on Main St. for shirts? They seem to have a lot of customers.
post #13 of 508
Quote:
Originally Posted by clownmitts
Have any of you tried May Sun Shirts on Main St. for shirts? They seem to have a lot of customers.
No. Have you? I've been looking for decent shirtmakers in the Vancouver area. My best experience so far has been with Minichiello in North Van. Their price for making is $155 if you supply the fabric. If you get the cotton from them, the prices generally start around $230 for 100s and go up from there. They have a number of fabric books, including the Thomas Mason Silver and Gold.
post #14 of 508
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger
No. Have you? I've been looking for decent shirtmakers in the Vancouver area. My best experience so far has been with Minichiello in North Van. Their price for making is $155 if you supply the fabric. If you get the cotton from them, the prices generally start around $230 for 100s and go up from there. They have a number of fabric books, including the Thomas Mason Silver and Gold.


I've only ever walked by May Sun. Thanks for the tip on Minichiello.
post #15 of 508
Quote:
Originally Posted by clownmitts
Have any of you tried May Sun Shirts on Main St. for shirts? They seem to have a lot of customers.

I have; they have a variety of fabrics, the low end ones run around $80 a shirt, the high-end ones around $150.

I think every judge in town goes there.

As for quality of construction - nothing to write home about, but not horrible. cheap buttons etc. I have two shirts from them and don't plan on getting another, a lot of that is based on finding that I fit the Harvey & Hudson RTW shape almost perfectly though.
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