If you buy fabric you fancy or have a craving for your
own African clothing, it is easy something sewed in
any style you desire, perfectly fitted to your own personal
bod. An amazing service at amazing costs.
There are tailoring shops and stalls virtually everywhere
in the Bakau area, simply look around for signs as you
ply the streets of New Town and Bakau. An inexpensive
option is the tailoring shop at the President’s Award
Scheme (go through the Rhun Palm Restaurant to emerge
in the back of the Scheme; the tailoring shop is in
the long building in front of you on your left, so walk
forward a few steps and turn left to reach the sidewalk
of this building, and the shop is the second door from
the far end).
The process of getting clothes made is simple—buy fabric
at the market and give it to the tailor.
1. Material can be bought at the market, either a craft
market or a regular market (Banjul is highly recommended
for selection; Serrekunda is a bit closer but the shops
farther in between). Fabric is usually sold at a fixed
price, though this is sometimes bargain-able, depending
on how much or what you are buying. The best bet might
be to ask if they can reduce the price for you, and
they will usually be honest if it is a fixed price.
Plain, solid, cotton is roughly $2 per meter. Linen
fabrics are far cheaper than you would pay in the U.S.,
at about $6 per meter. Beware that many fabric shops
sell pre-cut swatches of bright prints—six yards is
standard, enough to make African style garments. If
the fabric you want is flat and folded neatly, it would
be a good idea to ask if they can cut it for you before
you set your heart on it, or else you will have to buy
all six yards.
2. Go to the tailor with your fabric and a clear idea
of what style clothing you want, whether it be a dress,
pants, shirt, skirt, or even suit jacket and pants.
The tailor might sketch what he perceives as your request,
which you can approve or make changes to. By far the
easiest approach is to provide a tangible example from
your existing wardrobe—bring in a pair of pants that
can be a model for the pants to be.
3. The tailor will take your measurements. Agree on
a price for the garment, and a time when you should
4. Return to pick it up with cash in hand. Though it
won't necessarily be ready on the specified day, as
tailors work on Gambian time like everyone else. Try
on the piece of clothing before leaving—the tailor can
make any necessary adjustments for a more suitable size.