Vintage Pattern Resizing Issue – Forquet 1473

Anna who made up another rather vibrant coat for me, produced this one too. The pattern needed to be re-sized, and Anna unfortunately didn’t manage this too well. That’s why I’m looking a bit down in the photos. I’m disappointed as the style is cool. Oh well, it’s all a learning process.

The design itself is loose and unfitted, but the coat has ended up far too large, and this is after it’s been altered. It would have had to have been taken apart and remade if it was going to be saved, and unfortunately I just didn’t have the time. I think I’ll take it back up to Shenzhen next time I go and see if she’ll try again.

I used a cream bouclé wool and it’s been lined with a thin fleece material to make it warmer. I’m wondering whether that’s had an impact on the overall success of the coat. I took Anna’s word for it that it would work, but I think that having a thick lining has added to the woes of the coat. I paid RMB680 (US$110) for the coat, so I’d like to get it right if possible.

A Hong Kong tailor would alter with no charge and no question, and my gut feeling is that Anna will too. Let’s see…

Tailor: Anna, Shop 5070, 5th Floor, LoHu Commercial Centre, Shenzhen. Tel: +86 13510848192

forquet - CandyCanDream
Vogue_1549 - CandyCanDream

Vogue 1549 – Michael of London

I had this coat made up in Shenzhen by Anna. I rather like Anna, even though she decided to put a leopard print lining in this coat, and struggles with resizing patterns.

I think for copying clothes she would be brilliant, it’s just maybe a tad unfair asking her to follow a pattern written in English when she can’t read it. In fact, she did a bloody good job when you consider that factor. We ended up slimming the coat down by a good deal and changing the arm lengths because the original design was even more voluminous. It just swamped me.

I rather like the boxy-ness of this coat, it’s based on Vogue 1549, a Michael of London pattern. I just wish I’d had it made in a different material.

I chose a teal bouclé fabric that under bright light, looks like a Christmas tree. It’s shot through with sparkly plastic, of all things, that was rather more tinsel-like than I could see in the rather dim lighting of the dressmakers (rooky error).

People have variously told me that it reminds them of their Granny’s lounge carpet “In a good way,” (?!@*), Joseph’s Technicolour Dreamcoat, and “laughably ridiculous” (by my husband). Oh, the plastic scratches like hell too.

The material plus labour cost RMB680 (US$110). Unfortunately I needed this as a rush job, so I paid more than I wanted.

1549 CandyCanDreamSo. Good pattern – I really like the style and how it turned out, but mad bad material, so not an unqualified success.

Anna Tailor Shop 5070 Lowu CCTailor:  You’ll find Anna in her shop outside the Fabric Market on the 5th Floor of LoWu Commercial Centre. She doesn’t really speak English, but she is very lovely and is really chilled out (very unusual for LWCC.)

So far, she is the tailor I’ve liked the most in Shenzhen, and would recommend her. I like the quality of her work, and she tries hard to get things right (although do specify your lining requirements). Not her fault she can’t read English.

Shop 5070, 5th Floor. Tel +86 135 1084 8192

Ralph Lauren Homage-CandyCanDream

The Ralph Lauren project has reached an interim conclusion

So, after a wait of pretty much six months, I finally got the ultrasuede dress based on a Ralph Lauren piece.

I’d say that I’m 90% happy with it.  I’m going to take it back to have it fitted a bit further, but I think my dressmaker and I were both just determined to see this particular project over with.

You can see the comparison of the dresses below.  I want my version to fit a bit more snugly and the shoulder/neckline needs a touch less material.  Small things that should be easily fixed.

All in it cost me about US$300, but the ultrasuede is almost indistinguishable from the real thing and the original cost US$5000, so I’m pretty happy (apart from the wait!)

Ralph Lauren homage CandyCanDream



Jaycow: Hong Kong’s lovely bespoke milliner

I met Jay Cheung at Hong Kong Fashion Week last month and what a lovely lady she is!

I’ve come across her hats before in Hatwoman in Central when I was looking for something for a wedding last year, but there was nothing in the right colour and the sales assistant didn’t make clear that I could have something made bespoke. So annoying. I ended up with some hideous feathered monstrosity hired in the UK which I abhorred.

Anyway. Jay makes really cool hats and if I ever need one for another occasion I’ll be beating a path to her Chai Wan studio directly.

Take a look at her website at www.jaycow.com or shop online at www.hatwoman.hk


Nancy and Cindy’s version of McCalls 6215

McCalls 6215

Following my rant about the Nancy and Cindy in the Lo Wu Commercial Centre in Shenzhen I thought I should at least let you see what they did to the dress.

Bear in mind this is after I’ve hacked the bodice lining out and ripped the bows off the shoulders (see the laughable bow in the top picture? How is that Donald Tsang style bow-tie anywhere close to the demure little ties in the pattern?). No wonder the lady is looking down her nose and smirking at this elasticated sack.

The fabric cost RMB60 (US$9.62) and the work cost RMB150 (US$24), so at least it was a cheap disaster, but you can get good quality tailoring for that price in Shenzhen (or you used to certainly) so I’m still rather peeved.


The Cute Laroche Dress


I picked up a dress in Shenzhen a few days ago. It was the end result of trialling another tailor on the 5th floor of the Lowu Commercial Centre, and compared to Nancy and Cindy, this tailor was better. I’m not hugely overwhelmed, but the tailor did quite a nice job, and the quality of her work is good.

The Tailor

You can find Dong Hong Tailor at 5116A outside the fabric market, but be aware that she doesn’t speak English. Her “brother” helped translate, so between his English and my Chinese we communicated well enough. The thing that annoyed me was that this brother was very pushy. Didn’t want to follow the vintage pattern I’d brought but tweak it how he wanted it to be. I pushed back and the end result was closer to my wishes rather than his.

I had to have two fittings for this dress before I was ready to pay, but I will still need it to be altered some more by my dressmaker here in HK as it’s too big on the hips. I just couldn’t bear having to make yet another trip to Shenzhen.

The Opinion

Would I go back? At a push.

What is starting to become clear about Shenzhen is that I’m going to be needing at least two fittings if I’m having clothes made from scratch and not simply copied, which can mean up to four trips to the city just for one item of clothing. It starts to make financial sense to use a tailor in Hong Kong given this quantity of trips.

This lady does have good attention to detail and her workmanship is good. So I can recommend her for these attributes.


The inside of the dress is pretty nicely finished.


The fabric was some really beautiful double width silk from Japan bought in Western Market. Funnily enough, I’ve seen cheap rip-offs of this very fabric in the LWCC fabric market and up in Shanghai. The fabric was expensive, I paid HK$300 (US$39) a yard for it and needed two (although I ended up with quite a lot left over), and the tailor was more expensive than Nancy and Cindy at RMB350 (US$56) for the work, lining and notions. It’s going to cost me another HK$160 (US$21)  to have the hips altered, so all in all the dress has cost me HK$1,195 (US$154).

In retrospect buying this fabric was an indulgence, but once the hips are fixed, this dress will be eminently wearable, and I think rather pretty. I don’t want to spend this amount of money on a dress as a matter of course, but when all is said and done, I have a Laroche vintage design dress in a beautiful fabric for US$150.


You can find this tailor at shop 5116A on the 5th floor of LWCC, here’s her business card below:









Let’s hope she sews better than she takes photos…

Hilarious – in this photo it looks like I’m wearing a cunningly draped potato sack, but in real life the dress is shaping up well.

I went to my dressmaker in HK today to see the progress on my Ralph Lauren inspired faux suede number.  Hopefully this will be the final fitting and I can pick it up next Thursday…She didn’t really manage to take a decent snapshot, so let’s hope that her hands aren’t this shaky when she’s sewing!

I’m so torn over this dressmaker.  She has taken a ludicrous amount of time to make the dress and it’s really pissing me off. However, the workmanship is really good and I can’t fault her on the dresses she’s made for me.  So after my disappointments in Shenzhen I am feeling more love for Kit this week. Maybe more than she deserves!