Dubai Shopping Tips by Janani

Dubai Shopping: 224 reviews and 496 photos

Bareeze's Embroidered Organza - Dubai

Bareeze's Embroidered Organza

Bareeze: Embroidered Organzas

This is a small shop with relaxed, friendly assistants, where I found it easy to browse, as the assistants seemed to hover less than at some of the other shops I visited.

I spent a lot of time here looking and comparing but actually bought very little as I couldn’t get the colours I wanted in the fabrics I liked and vice versa. I was very pleased with the grey embroidered and beaded organza that I did buy though and was recently delighted to discover that they have a branch in East London too.

What to buy: They have a small selection of very good quality fabrics, mainly machine embroidered silk organza, from Pakistan, some of which is hand beaded. The fabric is rather expensive but generally worth the money. They also had some ready made tunic tops when I visited.

Address: The Mena Bazaar area off Al Fahidi street

Directions: Opposite Rangoli restaurant

Theme: Women's Clothes

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Oct 9, 2006
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Natural Textured Fabric - Dubai

Natural Textured Fabric

Handloom House: Good Quality Natural Fabrics

I'm spoilt for choice here; there are so many different textures and types of silk I don't know where to put my hands or eyes first. There isn't much in the way of the smooth satins and chiffons that are the mainstay of most of the other local fabric shops, having instead a good selection of raw silks and fabrics woven from fibres of varying thickness with gaps in between to give an interesting texture. The emphasis here seems to be on soft natural colours.

Downstairs they sell beautifully embroidered shawls and saris.

What to pay: I found this shop a little more expensive than at other places nearby but many of the fabrics it stocked were quite unusual and I didn't see them available in other shops we visited.

Address: Mina Bazaar, Bur Dubai

Theme: Women's Clothes

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Jan 17, 2006
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They made my work uniforms in just two days - Dubai

They made my work uniforms in just two days

Dream Girl Tailors: A Reliable Ladies' Tailoring Shop

I have visited several tailors in the U.A.E. but only this one had a public shop; the branch I used was in the Meena Bazaar area of Dubai, which has two areas for ladies' tailoring: (Western and Asian) and an area for men's tailoring too (called Hollywood Gents.)

I always had a nice time visiting the shop with my friends; they have a good selection of up-to-date fashion magazines that you can use to decide what you want made and the staff were very flexible too, if I asked for something to be made in a different way to their usual method. They also have an embroiderer but as he was away when we needed some work done, they recommended another independent one.

I haven't used the shop for a while, although I have been fairly recently when friends have been getting things made; in September 2002 I had two outfits made up, according to a picture I brought in, from some cotton twill I brought from London and was charged 40 Dirhams each for two Chinese style tunic tops and 35 Dirhams each for the ankle length skirts with side splits. A tailor named Anwar made the outfits, which after daily wear (they were work uniforms) are still in good condition, whereas my colleagues' ready made ones cost twice as much as mine, fitted poorly and fell apart much sooner.

Address: P.O.Box: 8266, Dubai, U.A.E.

Directions: I used their branch in the Mina Bazaar area but they have branches in Karama and Satwa too.

Other Contact: Fax: 04 3510202

Phone: 04 3526463

Theme: Women's Clothes

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Oct 12, 2005
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A perfect fit! - Dubai

A perfect fit!

Ladies Tailoring

Although I have trained in cutting a pattern for and constructing made to measure ladies’ clothes, I still like to have things made for me by other tailors, partly out of curiosity and sometimes to avoid a boring or complex task. In the U.A.E. there seems to be no shortage of tailors and I always have found the cost there to be less than buying a comparable ready made garment in London and of course the fit is much better too. All of the tailors I have met there have been from India or its neighbouring countries and the techniques they use vary slightly from those used in the West, although they were very accommodating if I asked for any variation to be made.

Firstly Asian tailors take an armhole circumference measurement to fit the sleeve hole accurately, where a western dressmaker may use a standard depth measurement related to the bust measurement. I found this gave a much closer and better fit, which I found comfortable and less likely to strain the cloth when reaching upwards but some people may not like such a close fit, if they are unused to it.

Secondly, they seem, as standard, to make the clothes adjustable by finishing the hems and stitching the linings to the main fabric before stitching the side and underarm seams. This might be handy if your weight fluctuates but I didn’t feel the finished result looks as professional.

What to buy: CHOOSING A STYLE: you can either ask for a garment you have with you to be copied or for a design you have chosen from a magazine to be made up. Also, it is worth asking to look at some of the items they have made that are awaiting collection.

CHOOSING A TAILOR: at the tailoring shop, ask to see something similar your tailor has made recently. Inspect the straightness of the seams and security of the buttons in addition to the overall finish.

THE FITTING: stand up straight but relax; look straight ahead, not at what the tailor is doing; keep your arms loosely at your side, never outstretched like aeroplane wings and wear the bra you intend to wear with the garment.

THE COLLECTION: when fixing a date to collect the garment, allow enough time to leave it with them one more day, in case they need to make any further adjustments. Often this is not necessary but it is better to be safe. Check the garment, laid out flat, for any unevenness and make sure all seams are secure. Then try it on. Test the garment whilst sitting, standing, and waving your arms. Lean forward and twist from the waist before letting the tailor know if the garment restricts any movements or looks ill-fitting after moving. The tailor should check the straightness of the hems when you are wearing the garment.

Theme: Women's Clothes

Review Helpfulness: 4 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Sep 27, 2005
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Lavender silk georgette - Dubai

Lavender silk georgette

Ratti: Special Fabrics

This is a smart, modern shop with a good selection of cloth and helpful staff that can be trusted to give advice to anyone who is not confident about buying fabric.

What to buy: This is the place to buy something special. I saw quite a few fabrics here that I didn't see anywhere else, including silk georgette and some lovely hand embroidered pieces.

It's worth noting that their prices for plain fabrics were a fair bit higher than anywhere else I visited, so once I have chosen what I want, I generally go to one of the nearby matching centres for linings etc.

Address: P.O.Box, 51370, Dubai, UAE

Directions: Meena Bazaar area

Other Contact: ratti@emirates.net.ae

Phone: +971-4-3533099

Theme: Women's Clothes

Review Helpfulness: 4 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Sep 8, 2005
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cream and gold silks - Dubai

cream and gold silks

Shopping for Fabric

Dubai is one of the best places I've ever shopped for fabric. I love all kinds of sewing but especially designing and making eveningwear.

The Mena Bazaar area off Al Fahidi street is awash with shops selling all kinds of cloth, from inexpensive printed poly cottons and synthetic fabrics to stunning hand embroidered silks, embellished with beading and gold work and it is no trouble to find a tailor or embroiderer close by if you want a garment made up:

I know most people in the West are more used to buying ready made clothes and buying fabric is less common, unless you sew yourself. Here are some general notes from my experience of searching Dubai for different types of cloth:

PLAIN SILK: shop around as prices vary a lot from shop to shop. If you want to be sure you are buying the real thing, compare the polyester versions and natural silk versions of chiffon and satin by asking to see both types at once and checking the difference in texture. Natural fabrics usually crease easily if crushed but synthetics don't.

WOOLLEN CLOTH: it is not hard to find shops selling this kind of fabric for men's suits but the colours and styles are limited to what a fairly staid man would wear to the office! I was hoping to get a wine red suit made up in Dubai and left wishing I'd brought fabric with me from home. If you want to be sure your cloth is 100% wool, which is much more comfortable to wear in the heat than a blend of wool and a synthetic fibre, look on the edges of the fabric where many have a woven-in description of the fibre content.

What to buy: EMBROIDERED CLOTH: here you will have a choice between machine and hand embroidery. Machine embroidered cloth is not much more expensive than plain cloth but anything with hand embroidery will be more costly (think of the hours it takes to do!) If you want to check, look at the back of the cloth for things like small handmade knots as a sign.

LINEN: I saw a lot of mixed fibre fabrics being sold as linen in many of the shops and once asked for a roll of fabric labelled pure Irish linen to be opened out, only to see "100% ramie printed on the edge! The fabric looked nice but would not have stood the test of time and, once the starch was washed off, would not have had the same crisp look. I don't think the shop assistant was trying to cheat anyone; I think he genuinely didn't know what it was and he asked me to speak to his boss on the phone and explain.

GENERAL: If you haven't shopped for fabric before, check the prices in your home country before visiting Dubai, so you can see what's cheaper there and what's not much different.

If a tailor is making something up for you, discuss the design of the garment and type of cloth you want to use then check how much cloth he needs before you ask the shop to cut the fabric, otherwise you might have to change your plans!

Ask the shop selling the fabric for laundry instructions, then if it is washable, either run it through a wash before it’s made up or have the tailor cut you a square from the remaining fabric, measure this then put it through the wash, checking afterwards whether it shrank or was damaged. If any problem occurs with the sample piece you won’t have ruined your garment but you must dry clean it instead of washing it.

Address: The Mena Bazaar area off Al Fahidi street

Theme: Other

Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Sep 8, 2005
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royal blue silk chffon (left) and silk satin (righ - Dubai

royal blue silk chffon (left) and silk satin (righ

Shilpi Textiles: Shop for Silks

I found this the best place to shop for plain silks. In particular I liked their standard of service but the prices seem a bit lower too.

On entering the shop I was allocated a helpful salesman, who took me upstairs to the silks and waited patiently, without insisting on showing me things I didn’t want, as I wandered about deciding what I wanted to look at, but as soon as I indicated a roll I wanted to see, it was immediately whisked onto a counter and unrolled for inspection (he even broke a light bulb once, in his enthusiasm!) Again I was able to take my time over this and he never hurried my decision or looked bored.

They also provide a matching service, where you can produce a piece of fancy cloth or a sari and they will find the most suitable fabrics for linings, accessories, underskirts, etc. I gave a difficult piece of embroidered and beaded organza, in an unusual shade of grey, intended for a tunic top and asked for a silk that would be suitable for both lining the top and making a matching skirt. The service was very efficient; he narrowed it down to a choice of two, told me the advantages of both and what type of skirt each one would be suitable for, then gave me time to make up my mind and calculate how much I needed.

I bought quite a lot on one occasion and the price was discounted, even though it was already cheaper than at most of the other shops I'd tried.

What to buy: They have a great variety of colours available as:
Raw Silk,
Silk Satin,
Silk Chiffon,
Other Fabrics

What to pay: Synthetics: extremely cheap.
Silks: I have never paid more than the equivalent of £5 per metre in English money for anything here, although the exchange rate varied quite a bit between my visits. I'm sure I used my credit card here too.

Address: P.O.Box: 4185, Al Fahidi St, Dubai, U.A.E.

Directions: Below Dubai Nova Hotel Building, Near "She" shop.

Other Contact: Fax:3535933

Phone: 3522809

Theme: Women's Clothes

Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Sep 8, 2005
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