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How to tell a good tailor from a bad one?

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
So I'm looking to get another suit custom-made here in Korea. How do you tell a good tailor from a bad one? I've been to several and seen their handiwork and working premises, and about the only constant relationship between quality and price is that the less expensive you get, the more machines involved. Fabric's practically the same, and everyone says they're the best in the area. I'm wondering, if I got a decent suit for a certain price, and someone else asks for a couple of hundred dollars more than that price, where my money's going to go.
post #2 of 4
your best bet is to be referred by a long time customer (who is well-dressed). construction is very important, but not as important as fit and style. if you're happy with the way your other suits look on you, and you know that at the very least there is a handsewn canvas chest piece, stick with the guy you've been going to. that is, unless, you get a strong recommendation from someone else. you are correct in that higher price generally means more handwork, but not always. the other guys may just be jacking up the price of the fabric. also, notice how many measurements they take. a good tailor should take at least 20-30. for example, if he measures your waist and hips, but not your thighs, i'd ask him why. he should ask you lots of questions, and you should get the impression that he really wants to give you what you want, rather than what he thinks you should have. good luck, and be sure to discuss every detail with him, down to the number of buttons on the sleeves, if not, it's not truely custom.
post #3 of 4
I would look at the other work in the store -- the tailor's show models, the work being done for other customers. Given the myriad posts on this site you should have some idea what is good or bad (handwork, high quality materials, etc.) Use that knowledge and then look at what's being done. Does is it look good? Do you like it? If it doesn't look good on a mannequin, how do you think it'd look on a person?
post #4 of 4
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the advice, guys. I'll be sure to tell the salesman measuring my body all the details. I know he's a salesman because he told me the tailor was busy working upstairs. I saw the drafting board that they presumably use for making my individual pattern, so there's a good chance that they aren't simply made-to-measure. I sat down with the salesman and discussed things like material, buttons, and stitching. The example he showed me was a pretty nice two-piece two-button suit made of navy blue worsted wool (with pinstripes.) The lapels were stitched and seemed to roll very nicely. The detailing, on the other hand, left something to be considered, and I have a feeling that the example he showed me was for a client that was willing to pay a bargain price and no higher. He did have real horn buttons, and that's a big plus. This one other tailor I went to said that it was very hard to find horn buttons here in Seoul. I guess he wasn't looking hard enough, or in the right places. He's also able to make suits out of Loro Piana and the like, but I'm opting for far less expensive, and quite nice in their own right, domestic wools. I went through two tailors before him. One doesn't do buttonholes very nicely, and the other did some fusing I didn't appreciate (the dual-vented jacket's vents; this causes them to curl outwards with wear.) I'm going to hit the department stores to see if I can't find something off the rack that offers the style and cut I'm looking for. Things should be relatively cheap now, with the seasonal sale going on (and the fact that the economy here is going south makes things all the cheaper.)
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