Made-to-measure or bespoke clothes fit you perfectly. That’s why bespoke tailoring, or a seamstress who does clothing alterations can take your fashon style to the next level.
Basically, bespoke tailoring refers to clothing made specific to your measurements by a tailor. Fashion experts love to argue about everything, from this season’s best colour to the most stylish handbag. But they all agree about the importance of fit. A great fit is instantly makes your clothes look more expensive and more “designer.”
Bespoke tailoring in Singapore ranges from tailors who can make you entire suits and matching shirts, through to seamstresses in Singapore who specialise in clothing alterations and mending. As well as doing smaller clothing alterations like fixing hems and making jackets smaller or larger, these clever tailors can totally update an old item of clothing you already own. You get a fresh new style that’s recycled, eco-friendly and incredibly flattering to your individual figure.
So you can step out in style, we’ve listed a few of Singapore’s favourite bespoke tailors and supr-seamstresses, who can make your garments look as though they were sewn especially for you.
1. Gee’s Creation
Situated in the heart of Orchard Road, Gee’s Creation is the place to visit if you’re in need of bespoke alterations right after you’ve hit the shops. Tailors here are renowned for being meticulous when it comes to measurements, so this is one for that luxury or designer piece in your closet.
The owner of the 40-year-old tailoring business, who modestly just calls herself Gee Gee, says there’s nothing she and her team can’t alter. “We are experts in tailoring, going beyond simple jobs like shortening hems. If something doesn’t fit right, we are able to overhaul an entire piece until it fits the client perfectly,” she says. “We once had a customer who had lost 20kg and brought in his old jeans to get them altered to his current size.” She adds that “many boutiques around Orchard Road know of our services and send customers over to get their clothes altered”.
Address: 304 Orchard Rd., #03-53, Lucky Plaza, 238863
Tel: 6738 8443
Opening hours: 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. (Mon. to Sat.); Closed on Sun.
2. Meng Yee Express Alteration
Another bespoke alteration service that’s located in the main shopping district is Meng Yee Express Alteration, where you can find experienced seamstresses armed with conscientious sewing skills. The good people at Meng Yee charge an extremely affordable rate of $8 for a simple hem shortening service.
The current lady boss running Ming Yee Express Alteration, Chen Yan Ying, has been working here for 1o years and she has many devoted clients. Ms Chen studied fashion design and tailoring in China, and says the shop sees plenty of requests that involve detailed clothing alteration work for evening and wedding gowns. “These are the types of jobs that I find most satisfying,” she says, adding that she relishes challenging tailoring and clothing alterations. “Sometimes, a client’s request actually affects the structure of the garment. For example, we had a customer who wanted to overhaul a dress entirely, changing its former flared shape to a mermaid silhouette. Challenging. But her happiness mattered most. We made the changes and she was pleased with the outcome.”
Meng Yee Express Alteration
Address: 14 Scotts Rd., #04-104, Far East Plaza, 228213
Tel: 6738 1764
Opening hours: 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. (Mon. to Sat.); 12 to 6 p.m. (Sun.)
3. Haute Alteration Initiative
If you need tailors near you in Singapore, with lots of experience with couture pieces, Haute Alteration Initiative is the place to go. Prices start from $20 for a basic clothering alteration task such as shortening a hem. This might seem pricey, but this tailor shop in the pretty Tiong Bahru area of Singapore often handles garments with tricky embellishment details like beading, or delicate materials like organza. The best part? As the retail face for social enterprise, A-Changin’ Ltd, the company employs single mothers and people with disabilities.
Josephine Ng, the head of Haute Alteration Initiative, explains how it works. “We help single mothers, out-of-work women and older woman who are already seamstresses. We train them and upgrade their skills to equip them with finer sewing and tailoring abilities so that they are able to do difficult alterations,” she says.
She cites designer wedding gowns from Jenny Packham, Vera Wang and Oscar de la Renta as successful bespoke tailoring projects taken on by her expert alterations staff. “We have specialists in different bespoke tailoring services — for example, for jacket alterations, we have someone who works on nothing but those,” she adds.
Haute Alteration Initiative
Address: Tiong Poh Rd., Haute Alteration Initiative, 160075
Tel: 8228 0020
Opening hours: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Mon. to Sat.); 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Sun.)
Jeans can be hard to buy off-the-rack. Either the waitband is too large, or the legs are too long… there’s always something that needs altering. And once you find a pair that really does fit, you want to wear them to death.
Denim connoisseur, Jeansfix, will come to the rescue. Whether it’s adjusting a waistband or fixing rips in your favourite denim jeans, Jeansfix is able to alter your jeans to perfection.
The founder of Jeansfix, Yong Tyng Yee, explains how she was frustrated with seeing badly-patched jeans. “I sat down with my tailoring team to work out a way to restore jeans. We want to give due respect to each pair of jeans and its owner,” she says. “We adopted a ‘do it right, do it well’ attitude, and after much trial and error, we developed our own in-house method. For example, if you want rips fixed, we painstakingly match the colour tone of your jeans with the threads we use to restore the rips. The patches in your jeans are virtually unnoticeable.”
Address: 1 Raffles Link, #B1-06, City Link Mall, 039393 / 105 Cecil St., #06-02G, The Octagon, 069534
Tel: 6534 4843
Opening hours: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Mon. to Fri.); 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Sat. + Sun.) / 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Mon. to Fri.); Closed on Sat. + Sun.
5. Clancy Boutique Alteration Centre
For over 22 years, Clancy Boutique Alteration Centre has been the go-to shop for bespoke tailoring services in Singapore, among fashion insiders like stylists and fashionistas. From suits, dresses and even wedding gowns, clothing alterations are done expertly and, for those in a pinch, quickly as well.
Co-owner Cindy Ler is confident she can handle clothing alterations on anything. “From scaling down the body length of neoprene scuba suits to adjusting the knee pads in leather motorcycle race suits, we have done it all,” she says.
Clancy Boutique Alteration Centre
Address: 14 Scotts Rd., #04-89, Far East Plaza, 228213
Tel: 6738 6971
Opening hours: 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. (Mon. to Sat.); 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. (Sun.)
6. May Tailor & Laundry
With nine different branches across the nation — including at premier locations like Marina Bay Sands and ION Orchard — May Tailor has garnered a large pool of regular customers who love the intricate, precise work her staff put into measurements, bespoke tailoring and alterations.
“I was a tailor at Hugo Boss suits before I opened May Tailor & Laundry,” says founder Bai Hong Mei. “I was born into a family of bespoke tailors. One night, I had a dream where my ancestors reprimanded me for leaving the family business. When I woke up, I realized that they were telling me to open a tailoring business of my own and carry on the family legacy of fine tailoring services in Singapore.”
May Tailor & Laundry
Address: Multiple locations
Tel: See website
Opening hours: See website
7. Alteration of Unisex Clothing
Alteration of Unisex Clothing is the place to go for those who live in the west of Singapore. The name isn’t snazzy, but don’t let their humble storefront fool you — west-siders who don’t want to make the trek to town head here when it comes altering everything from dress shirts to skirts. The store is run by Mdm Tan Kha Choo. She discovered her interest for sewing during Primary 1, after attending sewing classes in school. She’s now been in the alteration industry for over 40 years.
“Communication is very important to me,” says Mdm Tan, when she’s asked how she’s built her client pool. She’s a careful listener and works on all clothing, from children wear to men’s and women’s garments. Her price points are kept affordable as well, with rates starting at $6 for a zip replacement.
Alteration of Unisex Clothing
Address: 375 Bukit Batok West Ave. 5, #01-144, Bukit Gombak Neighbourhood Centre, 650375
Tel: 9037 1195
Opening hours: 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. (Tue. to Sat.); Closed on Mon. + Sun.
By Sean Tham, September 2018 / Last updated by Sabrina Ng