When kath is blogging

Get your dress tailor-made in Hong Kong

Posted in Fashion by Katharine on December 27, 2013

I am a fashion design graduate from the Parsons School of Design in New York. I have over 5 years of experience working for designer bridal and evening wear labels. I work with clients on an exclusive one on one basis. Currently, I’m looking into starting up my own made-to-order business. However, before I get my business up and running, I need to expand my portfolio. You get a quality made custom dress at an affordable price, in return I get experience and put my first step out in building up my business.

Here is what I am offering:

If you have a special design of a dress in mind, I can work with you personally and discuss about the design, fabrication and any concerns you might have. I can source the fabric option for you, or you can provide fabric for me. Then I’ll draft the pattern of your dress tailored to your measurement and needs. Before sewing your dress in real fabric of your choice, we will have 2 mock up fittings to check the fit and proportion. Then when the dress is being cut and sewn in your selected fabric, we’ll have 1 to 3 fittings at this work in progress stage. Everything will be made in Hong Kong by me, and fittings will be held at the comfort of your home. The whole process takes about 2 to 3 months at the minimum. Please note that since I do everything on my own, there is only so much I can do within the time period. So during busy seasons, more time will be needed.

What is special about my service?

I understand that it is not easy to find a unique dress off the rack, so I am willing to explore wild design details with you. You will be on a special journey to see your dress comes together. You get up close and personal with the process of creating your dress, and make decision on every details on it. I charge significantly lower than any other designer label you can find in Hong Kong, simply because I want to start my business somewhere. On the other hand, my service is much more personal than giving your drawing to a tailor across the boarder and hope for the best. You don’t have to worry that I’d cut corners and compromise the design, proportion and fabrication for convenience. This is not cookie cutter fast fashion, so please allow roughly 2 month time (but we can definitely work something out if you don’t have that much time.)

What I am charging: 

Starting at $4,800 HKD + Material cost (on your finished dress).

(This post was first published in 2013, please email me for a current cost estimation)

 Why am I charging that?

For a proper evening gown that fits like a glove, it requires roughly 60 hours of my time to make the pattern, do the fittings and sew the dress. To cut the cost down for you, you will be responsible for the cost of the material (fashion fabric, lace, trimming, beads used on the finished garment) and I won’t profit from it. I can source the material and let you make the decision.

Fabric cost reference: Simple drapery floor length dress with silk on the outside and lining would cost you somewhere around $1500 HKD. So if you want to go with polyester or cotton, your fabric cost would be lower.

me draping a chiffon gown. Please contact me for more of my previous work samples.

This is me draping a chiffon gown. Contact me for more of my previous work samples.

If you are interested in creating that special dress in your mind that fits perfectly, please email me at: kathereal@gmail.com . It would be great if you have some image reference for the design, and let me know when you need the dress by. Since I do run around town a lot, it may takes me a few days to get back to you. However if you haven’t heard from me in a week, please send me another email as it may have been lost in my spam folder.

As long as this blog is still up, I’m still taking on new orders.

Thank you 🙂



Any independent fashion designers or fresh graduates out there?

Posted in Fashion by Katharine on June 11, 2010

After a 5-weeks trip in Europ with my family, stomping across the Netherlands, Italy , Switzerland and France… I’m now back home in Hong Kong. and after such a long break away from home, I felt motivated to get back on track with my career.

Honestly, I had been very lazy with work. I have never tried hard to apply for job, instead I always thought I could sew up some samples and start my own line. Which I think is still doable, but I had been really lazy with it. You know… sometimes when you are working alone without someone else’s deadline, you start to wonder why the rush and why all the hard work. Then everything seems to be meaningless.

Anyway, that was a month back then. Now I want to get back on track. So I’m starting to cut and sew tomorrow. and I’m really wondering if there are any independent designers or fresh design graduates struggling to start their own line. I’d really love to make your acquaintance, no matter where you are living on earth. I just want to know someone who is going through the same, and perhaps share some experience.

Please drop me a line, as long as this post exists.

Sewing Material in Hong Kong

Posted in Uncategorized by Katharine on May 29, 2009

First of all, if you are looking for a cocktail or evening dress custom made for you in Hong Kong, please check out >this post<

Updated: JAN 10, 2011

When I first came back to Hong Kong and started to sew, I had no idea where to buy all the supplies I needed in this city. I thought I could get my answer easily by googling “sewing supplies in Hong Kong”. I was wrong. After days of researching in Chinese, Cantonese and English, in different vocabularies combination and phrases. I still couldn’t have a precise idea of where exactly to get all the stuff. Apparently there is a lack of information about where to buy sewing supplies in Hong Kong. So after a few trips, wondering around the Sham Shui Po area, I decided to write down all the stores I know in my blog to help out whoever is looking for the same thing in Hong Kong.

(AUG 2011: Thanks for all the wonderful response since 2009! I didn’t expect this post would benefit so many of you! If you are looking for something that’s not covered in this post, feel free to ask and don’t forget to do a quick keyword search on this page. Someone might have provide some useful information already. Again, thank you all for commenting and contributing!)

(mostly in ShamShuiPo district)

Sewing Machine
Besides the typical department stores as most people have suggested (like UNY, Yue-Wah, and the little Singer Store in Mongkok), you may try walking along Lai Chi Kok Road between Nam Cheong Street and Poplar Street . There are lots of stores along this street that sell both home and industrial sewing machine and iron. Less expensive than in department stores. I bought mine at Hoi Fung Sewing Machine Co. Ltd. [@ 127 Lai Chi Kok Road]

Dress form / Mannequin
Cheung Sha Wan Road between Wong Chuk Street and Poplar Street. There are a couple of stores on this block selling dress forms, mannequin and hangers. Different types of dress forms are available for purchase on the spot. I bought mine at Man Sang Company [@ 28 Cheung Sha Wan Road]. The old man and lady are so friendly compared to the other stores on the block. My dress form does not have collapsible shoulder, but has the measurement I wanted. Cost only HK$650. You can also order a dress form custom made to any measurement you provide, expect about HK$2500, and 2 weeks for production. Note: Cash only.

Walk along Yu Chau street, Ki Lung Street and Tai Nan street between Nam Cheong Street and Popular Street. In this area, you will definitely find something you want. A few stores might be for wholesale only (they will have a little note sticking at the store front: 不設零售 No retail, wholesale only/ 謝絕學生 No Students), but most will accept small order, meaning 3 yards minimum.

You’re welcomed to pick up all those swatches hanging inside and outside the stores, don’t be shy. Some might have indicated the price on the swatch card, if there’s only one price on, usually that’s the wholesale price (they call it 大貨價: price for bulk order). For retail price(零售價/散剪價), you might need to walk in and ask them for it. Most stores simply add on HK$5 to HK$8 per yard on top of the wholesale price, but I’ve seen a store stated on their swatch card that the retail price is the double of the wholesale price. Check with them before ordering.

For retail order, most stores only accept payment in cash. So have your cash ready at the time or ordering. Some stores might let you put down deposit instead of full payment, especially if the amount is higher. I ordered something at HK$3000, they let me put down half for deposit. But in another stores, I paid in full for an order at HK$1000. You may also call in to order, or fax in your order, and pay full at the time of pick up. But check with the stores. Depending on the availability of the fabric, sometimes you may be able to pick up the same day to 3 or 4 days later. I got most of my purchase the day after.

Trims, Ribbon, Styling Tape (Herringbone Twill tape), buttons
From Nam Cheong Street to Kweilin Street, between Cheong Sha Wan Road and Lai Chi Kok Road You will find a bunch of trim/ button stores around. I bought my 1/4” styling tape at Flying Dragon [@92 Nam Cheong] for HK$2 per yard.

Sam Hing Ho Haberdashery Co. Ltd [@ 80 Nam Cheong Street]. They sold both nylon boning (whale bone) and Rigiline boning (imported from UK, 8mm cost at HK$5 per yard) in different width., comes in black or white. I’m not sure if they sell the metal one or not, but the rigiline is good enough for me.

Zippers , Hook & Eyes tape, snaps, (Cottom stuff from quilting?)
You should be able to find these in the trim area above especially on Nam Cheong Street. Sam Hing Ho also sell Hook & Eyes tapes. On the same block, Hing Mee Sip-Fastener [@86 Nam Cheong] is selling tons of zippers in huge variety of color. Check that store out for zipper. 22″ invisible zipper cost from KCC brand HK$3 each, and YKK cost $5 each. Short regular zipper at HK$1.

Muslin, Thread and Shoulder Pad
On Ki Lung Street between Shek Kip Mei Street and Wong Chuk Street, you will find a bunch of stall in the middle of the road .
Muslin: closer to Shek Kip Mei Street (around HK$10/yard depends on weight, and you can bargain a bit)
Thread: in the middle among all those stalls. A new spool of thread cost HK$4. You can also find Zippers there, probably cheaper than in stores.
Shoulder Pad & Interfacing: First stall from Wong Chuk Street, if you must interfacing in a store, you may try Cheung Hing on the same street [@128 Kilung Street]. The guy there said you can purchase any amount…but generally expect HK$15/yard. great variety for swatches though. (I’m also guessing you can find pads along Nam Cheong Street)
Fusible At the beginning and the end of those stalls. Also walk up to the corner of Ki Lung St/Shek Kip Mei St, there’s one stalls selling fusible and pads right across a food stall. They sell medium weight fusible at about HK$8 per yard, light weight fusible at HK$7 per yard.

Tissue Paper
Li Ko Stationary 利高文具包裝 [@10 Sheik Kit Mei St] I might have missed the English name of this store. You have to walk in and ask them about paper, as they have all of their paper selection in a folder (I saw some brown paper too). But they do carry tissue paper at HK$60 for a pack with 480 sheets (about 41″x22″).This is better than nothing and cheaper than cutting with pattern paper. I remember they also carry pattern paper, but it’s in a 9″ roll for a couple of hundred dollars.

You will also have some luck looking with tissue paper in certain old, run-down looking stationary store in some industrial areas. Cause most of those factory nearby needs packaging supplies.
Here are some stores you might want to check out:
Norray Enterprise (HK) Limited
[@ 7/F, European Asian Bank Building, 749 Nathan Road, Mongkok]
This is a one stop store that sell lots of tools. Including dress form, drafting rulers, curves, chalk wheel, tracing wheel, scissors, pattern hooks, hole puncher, notcher, pins … and pattern paper! This is the only retail store I’m able to find that sell pattern paper. However it’s just some plain white paper, and the quality is a bit flimsy. If anyone who knows where else to buy pattern paper with a better quality PLEASE LET ME KNOW!.
Tung Shing Sewing Machine. co. Ltd
[@ corner of Nam Cheong Street and Lai Chi Kok Road.]
This store have a wider selection of scissors, notches, and rulers. So far it’s the only place I found that sell metal curves imported from the United States. They also sell sewing machines.
Wan Sheung Co.
[@93 Austin Road, Jordan]
I have been told that this is a great place to get good quality threads in different color. Also thanks to Alison for giving the information as I have never been there personally. “They’ve got zippers, embroidery and regular thread, shoulder pads, boning, lace & other trims, good quality scissors (including left handed ones), cross stitch supplies, elastics, sequins & spangles, all sorts of pins & needles, and who knows what else.”
Magnetic Pin Holder @ United Pattern Design
[Rm 33, 5/F Cosmopolitan Centre, 760 Nathan Road, Prince Edward]
This is a necessity for me. I first got mine at Spotlight which is now closed. Ever since then I’ve been looking around in ShamShuiPo with no luck at all. Finally I discovered the United Pattern Design nearby the Norray. They actually have some pattern making classes going on, and selling certain garment making tools. Please check them out for paper weight, tracing paper, PATTERN PAPER. About the pin holder, I believe it costs around HK$35.
Others location:
I’ve heard about the Bowring Street in Jordan. I went there, but didn’t find helpful. I guess most of the sewing supplies store there were closed down…besides a yarn store I walked pass by Pilkem Street between Bowring Street and Austin Road.

Central, Sheung Wan
Also heard about the Pottinger Street in Central and Western Market in Sheung Wan. When you walk uphill at Pottinger Street, there should be a lady on your right selling some needles buttons and zippers. However I’ve never been to the Western Market.

Kwun Tong
Thanks to Roy for the following information:
“in the street market in Kwun Tong there is a little booth with two old ladies. they sell all kind of buttoms, chalks, needles and so on. ”

Please leave me a message, if you have any recommendation for buy sewing supplies or just to let me know that this information is helpful for your search of sewing supplies in Hong Kong. I’d love to know that I didn’t write all this in vain. Happy sewing 🙂

The Tram, from Chinese to French

Posted in Uncategorized by Katharine on April 7, 2009

Before I moved to the United States, I was living on the Hong Kong Island side. One of the most convenient transportation was the tram. It was old, it was cheap (about US$0.25). I grew up with it. One of the most relaxing thing to do was after a dinner at a restaurant, in a breezy summer night, our whole family took the tram home. It was slow, and it was just perfect for a little nap with natural wind. It had this repeating mechanical sound went along with the ride, it was some what soothing.

Tram had this unique retro look to it. It was delighted to see a few new tram design came out, running on the street with air conditioning. However, I was glad that the old ones were not eliminated, yet. Of course I wished the old style will never be replaced.

Today the news said that a French company bought the Tram company. I think it’s a good thing that I believe the foreign company will know the importance to preserve something so unique to the culture. It is also interesting to know that now a French company runs it, maybe later on, we might even see French on the tram. However it is also ironic that it wasn’t a Chinese company which would like to invest and preserve a Chinese culture.

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