The good news is that in Guangzhou, it’s very easy to have clothing made. Near the Haiyin Bridge there is a fabric market. First find a tailor and select an item of clothing from their photo catologs. Then they will measure you and tell you how much fabric to purchase, then purchase the fabric. Get a friend to help, especially a friend who can act as translator. And don’t take anything for granted. One of my friends made a big mistake in that she just assumed the tailor would hem her dress the correct length. The dress had been made by a seamstress outside, with finishing to be done by the girl in the shop. But the girl didn’t measure properly and cut so much off the bottom that the dress couldn’t be salvaged. So look carefully at the quality of the work in the shop, the styling, and notice if there seems to be a steady stream of local customers (or not).
Be aware that unless you are a regular customer in the fabric shop, the asking price per meter will probably be about double the price the shopkeeper would charge to a local. It is worthwhile to have a Chinese language speaking friend go with you to negotiate, or at least hold out for a lower price. If in doubt, ask for a swatch of the fabric you are considering, take it to the tailor and ask whether it’s a good choice of fabric and what is a good price. The tailor often will know where to get the best price and may negotiate on your behalf. Shopkeepers give tailors good prices because they know they’ll be back.
Occasionally someone asks me for the name of my tailor. The tailor we use for men’s clothing speaks some English (it’s improving all the time). His name is Leo and his phone number is 135-6022-6068. He prefers not to have the overhead of a shop, he comes to the house. The seamstress I personally use doesn’t speak a word of English, and she’s not the same person I’d use for an evening gown, but her prices are reasonable and she is very helpful. She is in shop E46 in the building closest to the bridge. Her phone number is 3357-4756.
The seamstress I’d recommend for an evening gown is in the second building away from the bridge, on the first floor, near the manicure place and across from the shop that has nice linen. Sorry don’t know the shop number or phone number. They are much more expensive but the quality is far superior for design and quality in women’s clothing. Of course there are many tailors and seamstresses and these are just three. Choose carefully.