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Custom show shirts etc

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  • Custom show shirts etc

    I've noticed--through personal experience and reading this board--that it's often difficult to find show clothes Western and English) that fit and look good, especially if you have fitting issues such as broad shoulders, long arms, ample "endowment" etc (that is, you're built like a real person instead of a stick...!) Since I'm an experienced seamstress, I wonder if there could be a business opportunity here--making show stuff for hard-to-fit folks. Any opinions?

  • #2
    What type of shirts would you do for western? Slinky, rail shirt, or jacket?
    We could all take a lesson from crayons some are sharp, some are beautiful, some have weird names, and all are different colors, but they still learn to live in the same box. Unknown.


    • #3
      I show on the breed circuit, and while I've had some success buying from consignment sites, I had to go custom for my showmanship outfits because I'm hard to fit in pants...a 36 inch inseam is hard to find. There's definitely a market out there. Got to the Equine Chronicle website and look at their ads to see the type of show clothes worn on the AQHA and APHA shows. Sites such as Showtime show clothing and Show Me Again can give you an idea on the pricing for the most elaborate outfits. At the local level you'll have less expensive items, sometimes, but there are lots of people who buy custom clothing just because they can.

      If you can talk to a local trainer who shows routinely and maybe show them what you can do you might be able to build a clientele that way. I know in my trainer's barn she will recommend certain seamstresses to her new customers.

      If you can make chaps that fit right you can build quite a business. It really is all about the fit that a custom outfit can provide. And the prices can be pretty amazing, too.

      Look at the Pleasure Horse Journal forum, too. They have a forum devoted to fashion, people buying and selling show clothes, some consigned but a lot are brand new.


      • #4
        Slinky, rail shirt, or jacket?

        Can someone please tell me what each of these mean?


        • #5
          There are many seamstresses that already provide this service. I sewed all of my daughter's show clothes and queen outfits.


          • #6
            Slinky is very stretchy, often turtleneck style worn under a vest or jacket. Sometimes it is of heavier stretch with its own decoration/sparkle. Going out of style in most QH shows - don't know about other breeds.
            Rail shirt is one that is worn in "rail" classes such as Western Pleasure, sometimes Horsemanship. May be short enough to tuck in or, more recently, long enough to wear out at mid-hip. May be plain with scarf at neck or knock-your-eyes-out flashy.
            Jacket is usually longer, often flashier, used for Showmanship class.
            Rough explanation, but hope that helps.
            Never argue with a fool. Noone can tell who is who.


            • #7
              Thanks potteryshop.
              We could all take a lesson from crayons some are sharp, some are beautiful, some have weird names, and all are different colors, but they still learn to live in the same box. Unknown.


              • Original Poster

                Originally posted by sparkette View Post
                What type of shirts would you do for western? Slinky, rail shirt, or jacket?
                I could do any of those, plus other types too--"basic" western shirts, fancier rodeo types, English etc.

                Always open to suggestions.

                Thanks to everyone for the feedback!


                • #9
                  I think there is always a market for custom shirts. Either someone needs something to actually fit properly (this is usually my problem), or someone wants something that no one else has.

                  Suitability has a nice line of patterns for this kind of stuff.
                  "The best hearts are ever the bravest"


                  • Original Poster

                    A little positive feedback from some people, but the general lack of response makes me think that there's not much interest in this idea. Time to re-think...?

                    Thanks again to all who responded!


                    • #11
                      I don't think so. There is always opportunity. It depends on your market. Local shows don't command the high dollar attire but I would say that is a niche that could easily be profitable. I see the same old shirts at every show because in this economy, it is hard to justify hundreds of dollars per shirt.


                      • Original Poster

                        Originally posted by nccatnip View Post
                        I don't think so. There is always opportunity. It depends on your market. Local shows don't command the high dollar attire but I would say that is a niche that could easily be profitable. I see the same old shirts at every show because in this economy, it is hard to justify hundreds of dollars per shirt.
                        So what would be a good marketing strategy for shirts that look good, but don't cost more than the horse? What's a good price range to target? Lots of small local shows in our area, plus a few bigger ones. Ideas?