When I moved to Europe at the end of 2014, I never imagined my little blog would bring me so many fun and cool opportunities. I’ve already had the chance to meet up with fellow bloggers from the Netherlands, the U.K. and Barcelona, attend a gala dinner for the European meeting of tall people and to discover several awesome tall stores throughout Europe. Just when I thought my experiences couldn’t possibly get any better, I am now the proud owner of a lovely made-to-measure gingham dress from Tina, an amazing tailor and fellow tall lady located in Denmark.
I connected with Tina on Instagram after
drooling over admiring the gorgeous vintage-inspired dresses, skirts and other styles that she had made for herself. I thought I was going to be in Denmark this year and asked Tina if she would consider making me a dress while I was there. She said that she was actually thinking about setting up some type of online shop and asked if I wanted to be her test case. If I sent her some fabric, my measurements and chose a dress from the styles on her Instagram, she would make me a dress in order to see how well it might work to make made-to-measure items from afar. Ummmm…yes please!
I cannot even tell you how elated I was for Tina to so generously offer to make me a dress. It’s certainly a tall girl’s dream to have an item made specific to her measurements, right? Plus, having a tailor make a dress for me fits perfectly with my thoughtful shopping focus! I set off for the fabric store and browsed the beautiful fabrics. Since I’ve wanted something gingham in my closet for ages now, I chose this navy/white checked cotton fabric.
Several weeks later, Tina had magically turned the fabric into this beautiful made-to-measure gingham dress!
I can’t even think of enough dramatic words to describe how I feel about this dress: smitten? elated? obsessed? delighted? Yep! All of those and more! It is really difficult for me to find dresses that fit properly thanks to my size small top and size large bottom, not to mention my height. Having dresses either altered or made to my measurements is my absolute ideal.
Since it is often so difficult for me to find properly fitting dresses, I was quite nervous about whether or not the dress would fit well when it arrived. I picked it up from the post office on the way to work and eagerly tore into the package in the parking lot. The first thing I noticed was the detailing on the sleeves – such nice pleats and gathering! (Forgive my ignorance of sewing lingo. I’m sure I’m not describing it right but you get the idea from the photos).
The other thing that I really loved is that there’s a bit of subtle elastic on either side of the waist. You can kind of see it in the next photo, but the good thing is that you actually don’t really notice it. It causes the dress to nip in perfectly at the waist so that when I tie the sash around my waist, it’s not really the sash’s job to cinch the dress in. It’s the sash’s job to just look like a cute little bow. And similar to the pleating on the sleeves, the pleating at the waist is also very flattering! And speaking of flattering, the collar and neckline are also fantastic.
After I arrived at work, I snuck into the bathroom on my lunch break and tried the dress on! I just couldn’t wait until I got home. I was so happy to find that the dress fit perfectly. Forcing my husband to carefully take my measurements twice and Tina altering the original pattern to fit my measurements definitely paid off!
Now that I’ve gushed on sufficiently about the dress, let’s hear a bit about Tina! She has two focuses as shown on her Instagram accounts – Tilu Couture and Tailor’s Tale. Tilu Couture focuses on tailor-made wedding dresses and suits for customers in Tina’s local area. These items are typically made in silk, lace and wool. Hold on…I’m about to ask the husband if we can get married again so that I can live in Denmark for a few months and have Tina make me a wedding dress. Just kidding (sort of).
Tina has a Bachelors Degree in human nutrition, but always wanted to become a tailor. After she finished her degree, she started as a tailor apprentice in 1996. She trained with several designers in Denmark and also trained in South Africa. After she finished her apprenticeship in 2000, she lived in several different countries, had two children and she and her kids settled in a tiny apartment in Aarhus Denmark. The apartment didn’t afford much room for sewing, so she put put her sewing on hold and utilized her nutrition degree by running the school lunch for 9 years. After several years, she moved to a bigger house with a big sewing room and she decided it was time to try out her dream of tailoring, sewing, designing etc.
Knowing that she might have some slow periods with Tilu Couture, she started Tailorstale on Instagram to show her creations, and also considered attaching an Etsy shop to it. Whereas Tilu Couture was focused on local clients, the Tailor’s Tale concept seemed like a good option for selling dresses on the Internet during the slow periods for custom-made wedding dresses. Tina liked the idea of selling her own designs made from natural fibers, or at least blends. She figured the two businesses might work well together or one might take off better than the other.
The next step was to find fabrics. According to Tina, it was a big job and proved very difficult to find manufactures where one can buy small amounts of quality fabrics. She found a shop in her local area that, by miracle, had french lace, silks and divine wools. She ended up chatting with the owner, and by the next week, she was working in the shop part time. It was the perfect fit for Tina since she earned a bit of money while setting up her business, was surrounded by gorgeous fabrics, other tailors, and was in contact with many likeminded people.
Because she was a bit busy working at the fabric shop and with her local customers, her plan for a website and the Etsy shop went on standby. She still plans to open the Etsy shop and is still trying to decide wether she will offer ready-to-wear items or made-to-measure items (hence me being a test case for her). Be sure to follow Tina for updates! As she put it, people can “follow my slow progress from ‘kantinelady’ to slowfashion tailor on Instagram”.
Long story short, I would highly recommend that any other ladies with hard to fit body shapes also consider buying some tailor-made items. My husband is so happy with how this dress looks he has encouraged me to buy a couple more from Tina. Yippee! And because I can’t resist, here are a few more photos of this amazing shirtdress.
There is just something so special about having a tailor-made item in one’s closet! If you ever find a tailor to make an item for you, I cannot recommend it enough.
P.S. Big thanks to my friend Debra for taking these fabulous pics!
Have you ever considered buying any custom made items? Do you own any custom made items? Have you ever thought about learning to sew your own clothes?