Tailor-made in India

Back in the days when I was in high school, my mom used to get most of my outerwear stitched from local boutiques. Not just Indian wear, tops, pants and skirts too. Selecting fabrics, imagining how they will look in a certain silhouette was FUN! Making draw-string sleeves that’s popping up in every second fashion forum these days was a piece of cake for the local tailors in my city even back then. I could never part away from getting clothes tailored for myself and even after settling in Melbourne, I continue to get a lot (in an understatement) of pieces stitched during my trips to India.

Getting things made is always exciting but it gets nerve wrecking when thoughts like ‘Did the tailor exactly get how deep I want the neckline?’ or ‘Would he remember I want pockets in that dress?’. Explaining a tailor about the how you want something to get stitched is one of the most exciting feelings when it comes to bespoke fashion. Both parties are excited to create something new. And that moment of reaching on the same page about measurement, silhouette, seams, etc. is truly fulfilling. After all, “Ho jayega madam (It will be done Madam)!” the tailor says, assuring you that your vision is now his. And you walk out of the boutique feeling like a fashion designer.

Although, my visit to Delhi on New Year’s was for a comparatively short time (the time is never enough).  I estimated that in this two week long holiday, getting 10 clothes made is totally not unreal. Anyways, I could only do four out of those but I am pretty happy with how they all turn out.

I picked two different tailors, bought fabrics in the first two days of my stay and thankfully everthing fell in place. Actually, to be honest, I was under the assumption that the my luggage won’t allow me to pack that many clothes perhaps that’s why I stopped after the 4th one. The last time I had to borrow one luggage from my mom. ;D

Getting something stitched is a dreadful experience to most of us but I always love to take a chance. For every 10 things I got made, two got screwed up by the tailor. But with time I have come to realise that screw-ups are a part and parcel of everything. There are a few things I remember when giving a fabric to the tailor:

Is the fabric length good enough? In fact, call them and find out how much fabric is required to stitch a certain kind of garment. It’s handy when selecting fabrics.

Give your tailor a sample of similar kind of garment that you want to get stitched. For things like, dresses, trousers and shorts, I personally always carry something that fits me well and then ask them to add variations to it. This always keeps the size in place.

Most of the inspiration comes from images I see online. I either carry a print out of that picture for reference or WhatsApp the picture to my tailor. It helps them a lot in understanding the design of the garment to be stitched and decide the cost of stitching it.

Always give them time to alter any last minute changes after you try the garment. Screw ups always happen but patiently make then understand what changes you want and they will happily do it for you.

Here’s what I got made. Except those shorts, all three are winter wear, a season that’s omnipresent in the state of Victoria.

Oh and that’s Ory by the way. He is very close to looking like a giraffe and I love his colour (look at that shade of tangerine, very funky!). The house looks is cheery all the time!