(Updated March 2023)
Hoi An tailors are famous throughout Vietnam. However, if you are rushing to this tailoring capital of cloth, expecting to get a Savile Row experience, think again. Tailors in Hoi An do not have the qualifications and experience of a highly trained London garment maker – but they are still pretty good – if you choose the right one.
Though really, whether you end up with a men’s suit that bedazzles or a men’s suit with flies so high it’s impossible to pee, what the heck? Getting an outfit tailor-made in Hoi An is not only cheap, it is one of the best things you can do. It’s something we recommend. Where else in the world can you get a bespoke suit in beautiful fabric for 100 USD or a custom-made fitted dress for 35 USD?
- How Did Hoi An Tailors Become Famous?
- How Do You Choose a Tailor in Hoi An?
- Can you Negotiate with Hoi An Tailors?
- Hoi An Tailoring Prices: Skirts to Shirts to Suits
- The Best Tailors in Hoi An
- Tailoring in Hoi An – Tips to Know Before You Go
- A Step by Step Guide to the Tailoring Process
- Hoi An Tailoring Scams
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Tailor Reviews
How Did Hoi An Tailors Become Famous?
The Hoi An tailoring industry has its origins in the Silk Road of the 16th and 17th centuries. Back then, Hoi An was a thriving river port. Considered one of the best destinations for trading in Southeast Asia, the town, a conduit between Europe and Asia attracted merchants from all over the world.
One of the major commodities traded was silk. After time, many of these merchants settled in Hoi An. Silk was made into garments. Tailoring knowledge was passed down through the generations and the Hoi An tailor of today emerged.
How Do You Choose a Tailor in Hoi An?
With over 650 tailors in Hoi An, it’s daunting to decide upon the right one. Cost, customer service, dress-making expertise, fabric variety and design advice are all valuable factors – yet ultimately subjective! One individual’s ‘wonderful tailor experience’ could certainly be someone else’s lamentable encounter.
And then you have Trip Advisor reviews. Sadly, this once wonderful site is no longer the king of recommendations it once was. Whether it be false reviews, coerced reviews or simply off their head reviews, nowadays, Trip Advisor’s online reviews don’t necessarily point you in the right direction.
So how do you choose?
Do you stop in the middle of the street, close your eyes, turn around and point at the nearest shop (because it’s sure to be a tailor shop) or do you look for independent unbiased advice (hello, that’s us).
Whichever method you choose, you should be knowledgeable about what’s out there.
There are three types of tailoring shops in Hoi An.
Luxury Bespoke Hoi An Tailors
The higher priced, Hoi An tailor shops are your Yaly Couture, Bebe Tailor, Kimmy Tailor, A Dong Silk and Thu Thuy Silk. They are all big, beautiful and successful (each with several shops around town).
Staff speak English, have knowledge of fabric and look ultra-chic in their traditional Ao Dai. These shops with their high prices, sprawling premises onsite tailors and promise of a refund if things don’t work out, offer security, reliability and quality.
It’s a great marketing ploy. But, as a manager once confided, ‘the tailoring is all the same, we just look better. We often outsource our garments anyway because we get so much demand’.
So, should you bother getting tailored clothes in one of these expensive, opulent, luxury tailors?
Absolutely, you should! Few tailoring in Hoi An experiences will match these luxurious shops. Their choice of fabric is huge. And whilst dress-making may be the same as other tailor shops, they can often master more difficult clothes patterns (where all others have failed), due to their sophisticated sewing machinery.
These are the tailoring shops for your ball gowns and new fashion trends.
Prices in the expensive tailor shops are fixed – mostly. You can barter but on the whole, the price quoted for the garment is what you’ll pay.
(Tip Alert: the bespoke luxury tailors often have a lot of fittings. This can seriously can eat into your holiday time, so make it clear if you are in a hurry.)
Mid-Price Range Tailoring Shops
Here is where you will often come across tailoring gems. Whilst their prices are not as cheap as those in the Hoi An Cloth Market, they are still pretty good. These local tailors outnumber all the others and for that reason, competition is fierce and trip advisor reviews are king. This is good because the threat of a bad Trip Advisor review keeps many of them in check. But not always, be sure to read Hoi An Tailoring Scams.
Whilst their fabric choice isn’t on par with the expensive custom tailoring shops, it can still be quite good and all will have thousands of fabric swatches to help you choose.
Girls in these shops frequently speak fair to good English and you can barter – even if, at first, it seems you can’t. Prices are not set. This type of tailor shop usually requires one fitting which is really all you need (from experience) – unless they’ve stuffed it up and if they’ve stuffed it up, you might as well forget it.
If you choose a mid-priced tailor located in Hoi An Old Town, you may find yourself paying a little bit more than at others further out. Rents in Hoi An Old Town are very high and high overheads of course inflate prices.
Cheap Hoi An Cloth Market Tailors
Many Hoi An expats swear by tailors in Hoi An Cloth Market. Not only do you have the numerous bolts of fabric at your disposal, you often have very experienced tailors who have been in the tailoring business for years. Indeed, many of the most successful and affluent tailors in Hoi An like Ms Quyen, owner of Yaly Couture, started out in the Hoi An Cloth Market.
The tailors in the cloth market are often full of personality as is evident when they tout for business. You can negotiate with them but watch out, they know how to bargain and they know how to get a sale.
Can you Negotiate with Hoi An Tailors?
Absolutely! In fact…
Negotiating the cost of something is a way of life in Vietnam. In fact, some tailors like those in the Hoi An Cloth Market think you’re odd if you don’t try and negotiate the price.
Read our Hoi An Now bartering process for some tips on bargaining for the most affordable prices.
Hoi An Tailoring Prices: Skirts to Shirts to Suits
Tailor prices are dependent on fabric choice, pattern and which tailor you choose. Following is a ‘rough guide’ for the cheap Cloth Market & mid-priced, tailors in Hoi An. The luxury tailors like Be Be Tailor, Kimmy’s and Yaly Couture will charge more eg up to 700 USD for men’s suits.
- Men’s Suit: 80 – 250 USD
- Skirts: 15 – 35 USD
- Trousers (Male & Female): 15 – 40 USD
- Dresses: 18 – 65 USD
- Shirts (Male & Female): 15 – 35 USD
- Shorts: 15 – 30 USD
The Best Tailors in Hoi An
When someone says, ‘this is the best tailor in Hoi An’, be cautious. There is no such thing as a ‘best tailor’ in Hoi An. We know. For over six years and many garments later, we have chased ‘best tailor’ recommendations. We have never found a 100% reliable tailor – but we have found some very good ones.
So, from a wide range of tailors across all price points, below is our ‘Best’ tailoring in Hoi An recommendations. They are a mix of high, mid-range and tailors in the Cloth Market. They are all good.
(We recommend, high-end tailors like Yaly Couture for elaborate tailoring such as wedding dresses, complicated patterns and formal wear. The Cloth Market for straightforward copies and the mid-range tailor shops for all the rest.)
- Yaly Couture $$$
The Tailory Hoi An (mid-range)
The Tailory’s high Trip Advisor rating is well deserved. Overall this tailor gets close to ticking all our tailoring in Hoi An boxes.
The shop owner, Thao, worked at A Dong Silk for many years before opening her own shop. Her understanding that good customer service, guaranteed quality and reasonable prices is vitally important shows. Her staff are friendly but not pushy and go out of their way to make most customers feel at ease.
Fabric choice at the The Tailory is good. Their selection of cloth is vast and incorporates a lot of newer designs you won’t find in other mid-range tailor shops.
As for their tailoring, there is no difference between the tailoring done at The Tailory versus that at some of Hoi An’s most expensive tailor shops. There is however one big difference: the price.
Price Guide: men’s suits 80 – 180 USD; shirt or skirt 20 – 35 USD; dresses 30+ USD (+ prices may be higher depending on fabric and design)
Bao An Tailor (mid-range)
The quality of tailoring at Bao An Tailor is exceptional. If it wasn’t for limited material choice, Bao An Tailor would be a strong contender for the Number 1 Best Tailor in Hoi An. (Whilst the in-shop material choice is limited, there is a wide selection of fabric swatches).
Bao An is a family business where the skills and traditions of tailoring have been passed down three generations. Hien, the owner who also worked for Kimmy Tailoring, one of Hoi An’s well-known high-end tailors, speaks excellent English and her years of experience dealing with foreigners shows.
Hien’s attention to detail is impressive and the quality of tailoring is so good, the copies we had made were better than the originals.
If you can’t find the fabric you are looking for, buy it elsewhere and come back for the A-Grade tailoring.
Price Guide: men’s suits 80 – 150+ USD; shirt or skirt 20 – 30+ USD; dresses 20 – 50 USD (+ prices may be higher depending on fabric and design)
Sewing Bee (Hoi An Cloth Market)
A favorite of several Hoi An expats, Sewing Bee is one of the many stalls nestled at the Cloth Market. The diminutive owner, Bee, is an absolute delight. It also helps that she speaks good English, goes out of her way to help source the right fabric for you and offers honest pricing. Look for the happy bee sign with the number 11 in red.
Sewing Bee offers an easy, no-frills, tailoring experience for customers on a tighter budget. And whilst the material and pampering at the Cloth Market isn’t as fine as that in the higher priced shops, it’s definitely a lot more fun to get a garment custom-made for next to nothing.
So if you’re unsure about this entire tailoring business, this is probably where I’d head. The tailoring is sound if it’s a simpler garment or straightforward copies.
The turnover of fitting to garment pick up at Sewing Bee is around 5 hours. If you can’t find the material you’re looking for, tell them. They’ll know a stall holder in the Cloth Market who does. In the Cloth Market, sharing is the name of the game. They borrow from each other all the time, so don’t be shy.
Price Guide: men’s suits 90 – 160 USD; shirts & skirts 17 – 25 USD; dresses 18+ USD (+ prices may be higher depending on fabric and design)
Yaly Couture (Higher end)
When we don’t mind paying a little bit more for our custom-made clothes, we head to ‘Yaly’. Why? Because Yaly Couture is a full-on, head to toe, pomp and pampering experience. With its magnificent showrooms, wall to wall fabric and elegantly dressed sales staff, Yaly Couture allows you to experience the world of the rich and famous at an ordinary man’s price (relatively speaking).
We have had many outfits custom-made at Yaly Couture. Not all of them were successful but many exceeded our expectations and on the whole, they have been consistently good.
One of the first English speaking tailors in Hoi An catering to tourists, ‘Yaly’ is renowned for their ability to master elaborate tailoring such as complex embroidery, beadwork and other intricate sewing work. They were the only tailor that could copy the complex stitching required for a pair of cargo pants we wanted tailored.
As for their material choice: if you have a fabric fetish, take a drool bowl. They stock fabulous high-quality patterned, flecked and plain linens, cotton and silk in all colors of the rainbow that you won’t find anywhere else in Hoi An.
They also offer 3D body imaging. This allows them to collect your body measurements so you can use their online tailoring service once you return home (don’t put on weight!).
Yaly Couture is our Number 1 Tailor for difficult patterns, formal wear and special occasion outfits. This is where to get your ballgowns, fancy evening wear and once in a life-time wedding dresses tailor made (maybe get two wedding dresses because, let’s face it, relationships can be complex these days so it’s good to have a wedding dress – or two – up your sleeve!)
Price Guide: men’s suits 115 – 700 USD; shirts & skirts 19 – 115 USD; dresses 30 – 250 USD (depending on fabric and design)
Mr Xe (Mid-Range)
Considered by several expats to be one of the best places for tailoring in Hoi An, Mr Xe’s custom clothing is on par with any of the large operators in Hoi An. The difference? Price. His are a fraction of theirs without any compromise in quality.
Whilst he isn’t on site all the time, try and catch Mr Xe for your initial consultation and measurements. Mr Xe is a tailor. Speaking directly to the ‘source’ rather than a sales assistant, ensures a far better outcome and probably a reduced need for alterations. If that isn’t possible, make sure he is at the fitting. But it’s not just because of his tailoring skills that we urge you to encounter Mr Xe. He is one of Hoi An’s most colourful characters. His infectious jovial nature and flamboyant personality takes your tailoring in Hoi An experience to another level.
Whilst Mr Xe Tailor stocks a good range of suit and shirt fabric, his linen range is limited. However, cotton-wise, the choice is far wider but only for Bengal stripe, patterned and checks.
Hoi An Now staff use Mr Xe often. His attention to detail is impressive. Shirts are always tailored to perfection with precision stitching and finishing.
We particularly recommend Mr Xe for men’s suits and shirts and women’s business suits.
Price Guide: men’s suits 130 – 150 USD; shirts & skirts 25 – 35 USD; dresses 45 – 80 USD (+ prices may be higher depending on fabric and design)
Ta Ta (Hoi An Cloth Market)
The Cloth Market in Hoi An’s Central Market is a maze of tailors and material choice. It can also be somewhat overwhelming. Upon entry, vendors from all directions call out vying for your trade. So, who to choose? Who can you be assured to provide the best tailoring in Hoi An service you need?
We’ve tried many and Ta Ta Tailors is one we recommend. Ta Ta Tailor is not only reasonably priced but consistently good. We haven’t had made-to-measure garments made at Ta Ta Tailor but each of the copied garments were tailored exactly. With other tailors the collar may be bigger or the length slightly out, however this has never been our experience with Ta Ta Tailors. Their stitching and English has also been excellent.
In one particular case, we had the same shirt copied at Ta Ta Tailors and a high-end tailor to see if there was a difference in the tailoring. There was a difference but not in the tailoring. The quality of linen was better at Ta Ta Tailor. The price was also different. Much cheaper. If you don’t find the material you are looking for let them take you around to other stall holders. You’re sure to access the exact fabric you are looking for.
Ta Ta Tailors is also have a quick turnaround from order to pick up. The same day or the next day. One fitting is usually suffice. This means you pick up your clothes the day after ordering (unless in the case of made-to-measure garments there is a need for alterations).
It’s the tailoring equivalent to fast food. This doesn’t mean you get sub-standard clothes.
For the price, attention to detail, fabric choice along with customer service and consistency, Ta Ta Tailor is highly recommended.
Price Guide: men’s suits 70 – 140 USD; shirts & skirts 15 – 25 USD; dresses 15 – 35 USD (depending on fabric and design)
Tailoring in Hoi An – Tips to Know Before You Go
1. There Isn’t a Perfect Tailor in Hoi An
Whilst some tailors in Hoi An are very good, few shops tick all the boxes. But! You probably don’t regularly get tailored clothes made so have fun with it!
2. Beware of Salespeople in Search of Higher Commission
Do not be a victim of sales pressure.
In Hoi An many a tailor shop get their staff work on commission. This can cause salespeople to become overly pushy, often trying to pressure you into buying a fabric option more expensive than you need. (see Hoi An Tailoring Scams).
3. Choose the Right Material For Your Garment
Material choice is one of the main reasons for a tailoring catastrophe. Do your research online and ask your tailor’s advice before you choose. This applies to buttons, liners, leather options, and any other items.
But be careful: they may offer you cheap fabric just so they can give a more affordable price.
We recommend you ask to see their good quality material and opt for this if the price difference is still within your budget. (See Tailoring in Hoi An Scams)
4. Don’t Assume Your Vietnamese Sales Assistant Understands You
Think Chinese whispers. You are communicating a message to a Vietnamese sales assistant who then communicates that message to a tailor. Think how awry Chinese whispers becomes when passing on a simple message – in the same language. Throw in language translation and you get the idea how confused your instructions might become.
In addition, many sales staff may look like they’ve understood. In Vietnam it is common for someone to nod understanding when they actually do not have a clue.
Bring pictures if you have something specific clothing styles in mind. Use check questions and ask for drawings if relevant.
5. Spend Your Time Wisely
Expensive shops often require more fittings. Three fittings over the course of five days is common and the third fitting is usually superfluous unless there was a problem.
It’s likely a show of thoroughness to justify the cost.
Tailoring in Hoi An can be done in just a few hours so make it very clear to them if you’re on a strict timeline. The mid-range and Cloth Shop stalls offer a more express tailoring service.
6. Bring Enough For a Deposit (40-50% of the Final Price)
Depending on the salesperson, you may be able to proceed without a deposit but often a deposit is required.
7. Get it All in Writing and Bring your Receipt when Picking up the Garments
Before any tailoring takes place, make sure you have the agreed price and deposit paid in writing. See Tailoring Scams.
8. Check Buttons, Stitching and Seams
In the excitement of getting a bespoke suit or your custom-made dream outfit, many people overlook the smaller things. Make sure you are not one of them. No matter the price of the tailor, check: buttons are sewn on properly, stitching is finished not lose, seams are straight and hems have binding.
And if your outfit needs buttons, save yourself some tailoring grief: choose them before the garment is made up. If not, you may end up with a beautiful silk shirt set off by the ugliest, cheapest plastic buttons the tailor could find.
What could be worse? A plane to catch and no time to fix it.
9. For Cheaper Prices Choose a Tailor Shop Outside of the Ancient Town
Tailors pay high rents to have a shop in Hoi An Old Town. This expense is often passed down to the customer. There are many good tailors located outside the Old Town. It is often more cost-effective to choose one of these tailors instead (especially if you are on a budget). But remember to barter!
Lastly and above all, check stitching has been secured by backstitch. Otherwise you may bend over, hear a rip and find your backside is unleashed to the rest of the world. Yes, that’s right. This comes from red-faced experience!
A Step by Step Guide to the Tailoring Process
- Discuss the different clothing styles you want with the salesperson. (Make sure they understand what you want, to get the best advice.)
- Choose your material & settle on a price.
- The sales person takes exact measurements & time is set for first fitting.
- Return for first fitting & if alterations are required, another fitting is scheduled.
- Final Fitting: All happy? Perfect! Pay and go on your merry way.
Hoi An Tailoring Scams
Recommendations from Hotels/Homestays
Not all – but most – homestays and hotels get commission for tailor referrals. Whilst you don’t necessarily pay more, you are certainly not getting a recommendation for the ‘best tailor in Hoi An’. Rather you are getting a recommendation for a tailor who lines the hotel/homestays pockets.
Make Sure the Price is Right! Write it All Down
Write down the final price. Write down the process … Write down any assurances that you will get your money back if you are unhappy. Get this ‘agreement’ signed.
Most tailors are really honest. However, we have had occasions where the agreed price is suddenly disputed and inflated, when we arrived to pick up the finished product. Whilst it may be a scam it could also be a genuine misunderstanding. Vietnamese sales staff appear to have excellent English but let us assure you it is often nowhere near as good as you think. So – write it all down.
Ask to See their Expensive Fabric
Tailors, more particularly those in the Cloth Market will show you a cheaper linen or silk to keep prices down and get a sale. Once you get a price on fabric ask if they have a better, more expensive selection. You will usually be better off for paying a little bit more.
Ask to See all their Fabric Range
Sales staff, often work on a commission basis (particularly in the expensive tailor shops). Therefore, the urge to get the customer to pay more (for more commission) can sometimes overtake a sales person’s integrity. We have found ourselves only being shown high-priced fabric racks when there were many other cheaper options. Whilst we have experienced this, we stress it is not a general situation. And it is certainly not condoned by management. If you suspect this is occurring, be polite and ask to see cheaper options.
Frequently Asked Questions
Tailored suits and dresses, shirts and trousers and fancy-dress outfits for that matter, anything – can be made by a Hoi An tailor in a day though if you’ve got more than a day it is advisable to let them know and take more time. You may get a better end result.
In Hoi An you don’t need to wait weeks to have your beautifully stitched tailored suit made. The fastest a suit can be made in Hoi An is one or two days. The more expensive the service, the longer it takes to get a suit made. Expensive tailor shops in Hoi An often insist on copious (and sometimes unnecessary) fittings so you may be looking at three days or more. The cheaper tailor shops can turn a suit around in 24 hours with one or two fittings.
Hoi An Tailors do suits well and another great option for tailored suits is Mr Xe. A tailor himself, with years of experience, Mr Xe’s tailoring is renowned in Hoi An. Not only are his prices reasonable and his attention to detail exemplary, he goes out of his way to ensure you’re happy with the end result.
Tailored suit prices vary depending on what tailor and type of fabric used. For an approximate idea, we are presenting prices from all three types of Hoi An tailor shops: Cloth Market 70 – 130 USD Mid-Range Tailor 80 – 150 USD High-End Tailor 125 – 854 USD
Perhaps this question should be ‘what can’t tailors do with dresses?’ The answer is nothing. Tailors can do anything with dresses. They can work off photographs, from a dress you bring in or they can tailor a dress based on your personal design. If you choose to do the latter, make sure your salesgirl understands your concept clearly. Draw it, write down instructions and get her to repeat them. Do not have unrealistic expectations. Even copied garments have turned out bombs for us (in all types of tailor shops from low to highest priced).
No matter if you use an expensive or cheap tailor shop, you should always ask the tailor to do the silk test. If the tailor does not know what this is walk straight out. Any experienced tailor or salesperson knows this test. It involves burning a piece of the silk with a lighter. If it melts it is not silk, it is synthetic. If it doesn’t burn and smells like paper??, it is silk. Hoi An’s Silk Village has the best range of silks in town.
There are basically three ways that tailors in Hoi An learn the tailoring trade. They study tailoring at a training school in places like Ho Chin Minh, Hanoi or Da Nang. This is the most expensive way to learn the tailoring trade as the course is short (6 months) but the training is very in-depth and highly regarded. They train through a vocational school. This requires study of up to 1½ years and whilst this type of training is far longer than the city training schools, students do not get the exposure to equipment that those in the city training schools do. They learn the tailoring trade through their families.
Tailors in Hoi An make around 218 – 300 USD, depending on their experience and skills. Those who are more skilled (professional tailors) earn good money by Vietnamese standards i.e. 435 – 522 USD per month. You’ll find tailors working in the Cloth Market, in tailor shops like Yaly Couture and Be Be Tailor as well as in workshops.
Tailors in Hoi An (or Vietnam in general) do not expect tips. Tipping is not part of the Vietnamese culture, it was introduced by tourists from Western countries. Tip if you feel like the service was really good but never feel obliged.