Custom made and perfect

Good day to you all.

This entry is all about custom/handmade/one of a kind clothing. I’ll be suggesting some extremely talented ladies to look at and also giving you a few pros and cons about ordering one of a kind. Though to be honest, it is, as our friends in America would say, a ‘no-brainer’. Beautiful clothing made just for you? Where’s the downside?

I am in a wonderful mood today. Last night I spent a long time wandering round I found some really, really exciting possibilities too. And since I’m such a lovely woman, I’m going to share them with you.

My Black Dress : This is a beautiful selection of elegant dresses. I fell in love about five times when I was looking through her selection. They look well made, and she also does custom sizing for an extra fee. I haven’t decided which one I’m going to get yet, but I have a feeling that it’s going to be this bad boy:

Lara Dress

Lara custom made dress by My Black Dress

Prototype Design: Cheap! I don’t understand! This girl has pretty much nailed the type of skirt I’ve been trying to find in shops for ages. Plus she has a lovely selection of retro/vintage inspired prints. OWLS!

Design Prototype Owl Skirt

Owl Skirt by Design Prototype

Miss Brache: She has a great selection of vintage style prom and wiggle dresses. Interestingly, she also does swimming costumes which was not something I was expecting to see. Plus she seems really approachable and nice. Reason enough, no? I’m loving this piece which she calls a Jumper Skirt. Awesome.

Jumper Skirt by Miss Brache

Jumper Skirt by Miss Brache

Ananya : Another professional looking set up. She makes beautiful dresses and skirts in bright, bold statement colours and prints. I love the pockets in her clothes, mainly because I never know what to do with my hands and I usually end up putting them in my pockets, which is pretty hard to do if there are none. Look at this summery beauty.

Yellow Dress by Ananya

Yellow Dress with round ruffle neckline by Ananya

Hissyfit: Let me just say that I love this woman. I loved her the minute I read the strapline to her Etsy shop “‘Cus it’s not your body, it’s your clothes that suck”. Amazing. Can I marry her now please? Thank you. Now, on to the clothes. The nice thing about this shop is that she uses larger size girls to model her dresses, which really gives you an idea what they will look like on. Another wonderful thing about her is her very open-minded attitude towards fabric choices. As a woman who owns a custom made (by my Mum) homo-erotic-half-naked-cowboy dress, I fully support the directional use of bold patterns. Now, I’m not a WWF fan, but this dress is phenomenal. What a great design.

WWF Dress by Hissy Fit

Radical WWF Dress by Hissy Fit

J Rose Atelier This designer/dressmaker favours the simple and elegant and it’s difficult to disagree. I’m aching to order, belt and shoe these graceful jersey pieces. They manage to look delicate and robust at the same time. There is an extra charge for larger sizes with this seller.

Cowl neck dress by J Rose Atelier

Cowl neck dress by J Rose Atelier

Xiaolizi: Some lovely shapes and really interesting fabrics from this dressmaker/designer. The descriptions are pretty, but entirely nonsensical.

Peacock dress by Xiaolizi

Peacock dress by Xiaolizi

A few things to consider when buying handmade/custom pieces:


  • Most of these talented dressmaker/designers will do custom work, which ensures the clothes fit you perfectly.
  • You get more choice with regards to  colours and patterns, fit and cut.
  • It’s ethically sound because the money goes directly to the dressmaker. I love this part.
  • It’s your own dress! If it isn’t a one of a kind, then it’s one of a really limited run.
  • Your supporting a small business.
  • It feels way more special than buying mass-produced tat off the high street.


  • These pieces are made for you, so you can’t just send them back and get a different size. Check the shop’s refund policy for more details. Most of them are pretty flexible.
  • It’s not often a quick turn around, but the clothing is being handmade, so it’s understandable.
  • A beautiful handmade dress is not cheap, but that is balanced by the fact that you’re getting a one of a kind (or a limited run). I don’t know about you, but I’d prefer to spend a bit extra on getting exactly what I want.

Enjoy! Please let me know if you buy off any of these, or any other Etsy sellers. I’d love to know the results.


  • 1
    September 25, 2010 - 4:15 pm | Permalink

    Such a great review of shopping for made-to-order clothing online! Still a new concept, but is quickly catching on with all of the great designers on sites like Etsy!

    Thank you so much for including JRoseAtelier!

  • 2
    September 25, 2010 - 6:44 pm | Permalink

    Oooh, great ideas there, I am already drooling over a couple of these frocks. Have you seen Get Cutie frocks? Here is their website:
    I love them, I went to the shop in Brighton and bought a fab dress made out of Batman material. It cost quite a bit but is amazing, beautifully made and lined and totally unique.

  • 3
    September 26, 2010 - 2:12 am | Permalink

    I do enjoy Get Cutie, but the price has always put me off… hmm.

  • 4
    September 27, 2010 - 12:08 pm | Permalink

    Ros, some of these are fab. I want to know where they buy this great fabric? (like etsy, but British) has a clothing section with quite a lot of custom made stuff. They’re all quite pricey and there is some tat on there, but it’s worth noting that they have some made to fit woollen coats which look like good quality. I’m quite excited by the printed tights too which they sell in all the sizes.

    Beware of sellers attaching new buttons to old high street cardigans and hawking them as ‘cute vintage’. A primark cardigan will not wash well over time, no matter what fabulous trinkets are attached to it.

  • 5
    Van Hammersley
    October 3, 2010 - 5:34 pm | Permalink

    I really ought to look for custom-made shirts, but according to my friend who makes her own dresses, they’re way more fiddly to make and are more expensive, or something.

    By the way, pro wrestling dress = severe awesomeness.

  • 6
    October 5, 2010 - 1:35 pm | Permalink

    Some wonderful ideas here for me. I have just started dressmaking as a direct result of never seeing anything I like in plus-size high street shops. The whole point of this I feel is that the design ethic employed by ALL high street stores is fundamentally wrong.
    Many places will design the garment for a size 8 model then just make that design larger for plus size. Wrong. A design for a size 8 cannot possibly compliment a size 20 figure. Other places (especially Evans) assume over size 16 designs have to be voluminous, multi-layered and tragically old fashioned. Wrong. I have always found fitted much more flattering if done right.
    Seeing these websites has definitely given me hope that there are many people who are actually designing specifically for figures like mine. It is most unfair that good design cannot be bought on high street but am really looking forward to making some killer dresses in MY SIZE EXACTLY!

    • 7
      October 6, 2010 - 9:57 am | Permalink

      Derry you have quite literally taken the words out of my mouth re the size 8 clothes are just made bigger with no account for shape. Im a size 12-14 on top and 14-16 on bottom and I have fairly big bust, I have been in tears in shops before now because despite a dress being in my size the cut is so bad I feel awful in them, nearly all of topshop’s clothes make me look like a street walker!!

      Ros I must try and find the essay I wrote about female body shape and the media, there is a lot of feminist theory about how women are actually sold the idea of the male form (lean, slim, straight up and down) as the ideal rather than female form (boobs, wider hips, bums, more body fat then men etc).

      I would love to buy everything custom made, I simple dont have the money!!

  • 8
    November 3, 2010 - 11:33 am | Permalink

    Ah I loved looking at your photos

  • 9
    November 13, 2010 - 11:59 am | Permalink

    That is some inspirational stuff. Never knew that opinions could be this varied. Kudos for all the enthusiasm to offer such handy information here. Best wishes, Monika.

  • 10
    March 16, 2011 - 11:47 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the tips!! Funny, I saw that owl skirt on Etsy today, and instantly fell in love with it! Wish me luck, I hope I’ll be able to have something custom made! :D


  • Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>