Top 10 Recommendations for Success at the Dressmaker for your Jakarta Visitor

batik table runner
‘Pagi-Sore’ batik table runner made by Hanidas Collection

When family and friends come to visit us in Jakarta, I put together a basic itinerary that gives them a rounded Jakarta experience. Of course this often includes having a few garments or soft furnishings made. Undoubtedly, this is one of the perks of living in Jakarta, as this city is filled with skilled artisans who are able to help you realise your creative dreams. However, to maximise the success and minimise the stress of this process, a bit of planning is required.
To help you with this, here are our “Top 10 Recommendations when using a Dressmaker for your Jakarta Visitor”:

  1. Before you do anything else, consider how much time your visitor is staying. A short visit (less than 5 days) means that any project needs to be simple in nature. Some suggestions include:
    * Simple tops, skirts and dresses
    * Cushion covers, doona covers, tablecloths, napkins, table runners and fabric bags (such as drawstring bags or dolly bags)
    * Simple alterations

    batik summer dress
    The design for this simple summer dress made from Javanese batik was copied from an existing dress. Something like this is achievable when a visitor is only in town for a short stay.
    cushion covers
    Soft furnishings such as cushion covers are an easy project, and without the inserts, take up little room in the return luggage of your visitor.

    batik drawstring bags
    Simple drawstring bags like these can be made in a very small amount of time. They are an excellent alternative to gift wrapping. Drawstring bags can also be used as lolly bags and then reused.
  2. If your visitor is staying for an extended period, then more complex projects are possible and/or more pieces can be made. For example, more intricate garments such as evening gowns, business suits and shirts or even fancy dress costumes.

    songket cocktail dress
    More formal apparel such as cocktail dresses or prom dresses are a realistic expectation if your visitor is staying for an extended period of time.


    1. Set your visitor some homework: Ask them to collect images of what they would like made, or encourage them to go through their wardrobe identifying items they would like copied    (- alternatively tell them to raid the wardrobe of their best-dressed friend!) Encourage your visitor to think about colours, fabric types etc. This will speed up the process when your friend arrives in Jakarta. And don’t forget to pack those garments that could do with some alterations, too!
    2. Be realistic – the types of fabrics available in Jakarta tend to be lighter in weight so a winter-style jacket won’t be a great choice to have made in JTown, however, silk, linen and lighter fabrics are available in abundance, as are more indigenous-style fabrics such as batik, songket and ikat. If your visitor has fabric at home and wishes to use the more cost-effective skills of a local tailor/dressmaker, then this may also be an option.
    3. indigo batik
      Indonesia has an abundance of beautiful and original fabrics to choose from.
      batik on beach
      Different motifs signify the origin of fabrics,

      Before your visitor arrives, book an appointment with your chosen dressmaker for early in your visitors’ stay. Ideally this should be for either Day 1 or Day 2, allowing plenty of time for fabric selection and time with the dressmaker for measurements as well as sufficient time for fitting/s.

      Ibu Rofi
      The delightful Ibu Rofi has been sewing beautiful garments in South Jakarta for more than 13 years. She works from her home studio in Kemang, drafting patterns from pictures and existing garments, or even creating a pattern based on the ideas of her client.



      6. Attend your appointment and run any ideas past your dressmaker, seeking an indication of suitable fabric type as well as how much fabric will be required. Schedule your next appointment.

      1. hanidas collection
        Pak Hasan and his wife Ibu Nina of Hanidas Collection are very skilled at creating all things ‘soft furnishing’. Their service is very efficient and their pricing is transparent and always reasonable.
        1. Next, head straight to the fabric shops and make your fabric selections. The fabric shops on Jl. Fatmawati (see below for details) tend to have a good variety, as do the larger shops around Pasar Mayestik. Take your pictures as well as the pieces your visitor wishes to have copied. Take guidance from the sales persons here also. Although they may seem a little over-enthusiastic at times, they definitely know their trade.

          selecting fabric in Jakarta
          Selecting the right fabric is a big part of the fun for your Jakarta visitor!
        2. When selecting the fabric, try to stay focused. It is very easy to get over-excited in these super-large and colourful fabric shops. The possibilities are endless so keep a sense of restraint.  Although your dressmaker will undoubtedly be keen to fulfill all your creative ideas, it is far better that your visitor return home with a few fabulous bespoke items, instead of an abundance of pieces that don’t quite hit the spot.
        3. Return to your dressmaker ASAP to get the making process started. Also at this second appointment, you will need to discuss and agree to a price for each piece; identify your next appointment for fittings and most importantly, ensure the dressmaker is aware of the deadline.

          sarong-style skirt
          A sarong-style skirt like this is a lovely memento of time spent in Jakarta.
        4. Keep in touch with your dressmaker over the next few days, and confirm a day and time to collect your visitor’s items. Ensure the agreed pick up day is at least 24 hours prior to the departure of your guest, allowing time for any last minute alterations.
          Streets of Jakarta
          Down this very narrow lane way is the home and studio of Ibu Rofi, in Jakarta’s South

          Hanidas Collection
          Pak Hasan & Ibu Nina
          Jl. Pelita Abdul Majid No. 5B
          (next door to ‘Excellent Car wash’)
          Phone: 0812 8394 2478

          Ibu Rofi – Dressmaker
          Jl. Kemang Selatan 1, No. 6B
          Phone: 0813 8253 4497

          Best places to buy fabric in Jakarta

          Pasar Mayestik
          Jl. Tebah 3, No. 1Kebayoran Baru,
          South Jakarta

          Alta Moda and Pronto Moda
          Jl. RS Fatmawati No.15, Cilandak and Sector 9 Bintaro

          Do you live in Jakarta and have you had much experience using the services of a dressmaker/tailor? Why not share your advice with us! Please comment below. We always love hearing from you 🙂

          For more reading, here are some related posts:
          Pasar Mayestik
          Pasar Tanah Abang South East Asia’s biggest textile market
          ajb’s 5 Easy Steps to Create your own Batik Bed cover
          10 Minutes with Pak Nana, local tailor
          ajb’s General Guide for Visitors to Jakarta
          Tips of Using a Tailor in Jakarta

          Words: Jo Stevens    Photography: a journey bespoke

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