…. who feels that buying fabric off a bale and getting it stitched by a tailor is quite charming and romantic?
For me, there is something quaint and old-fashioned and lovely about going to a fabric shop, getting enchanted by the silk and cotton prints and tulle and organza, dreaming up dresses for yourself and your family, having lengths of fabric cut out and paying for them, and then going to the tailor and explaining what you want, brainstorming with him/her, and then watching the fabric becoming a beautiful dress or frock? It is a process not unlike the making of a beautiful statue from a piece of stone. It takes dreaming to see what a piece of uncut stone will look like when made into a statue, and then going on to convert that dream into reality.
My sister-in-law and brother-in-law’s wife (and so do many of my friends) tell me it has been ages since they went to a tailor. Now, all they do is take their pick from the hundreds of ready-made kurtis available in malls or cloth shops, and mix and match with a pair of leggings. That way, they can have different looks for a single kurti, and can avoid the hassle of visiting the tailor umpteen times and running the risk of the final product turning out to be something totally different from what they had envisioned.
When you use a tailor, yes, those hassles are to be anticipated. I agree. I have had my own set of problems with tailors, but still. There’s something to be said about the joy of wearing a dress exclusively tailored for you, something you envisioned and which the tailor makes exactly the way you wanted it to be (that does happen!). There ‘s something about wearing a dress that wasn’t produced, along with thousands of other dresses, in a factory, not keeping you in mind at all.
Back in Ahmedabad, I have had a few favourite tailors and a whole lot of favourite fabric shops that I would frequent. I have always been on the heavier side, and have always found it difficult to find good ready-made dresses that didn’t cost the moon. Tailors helped me mix and match, made garments for me that fit me perfectly, made me look good and kept me comfortable. There were goof-ups, too, but then that does happen when you are working with people, right? I found a serious lack of good running fabric when I shifted to Bangalore, as well as a dearth of good tailors, and my parents continued to get all my dresses stitched in Ahmedabad and couriered to me, til they moved to Bangalore too. After 7 years of staying in Bangalore, I found a tailor who spoke my language, who understands my needs and stitches the kind of clothes I need. Touchwood. My interactions with her make me happy. I finally have somewhere to take all the bits and pieces of fabric I picked up from here and there. I now have an idea of whom to consult for all the little frocks I have dreamed up for Bubboo, but didn’t have anyone to talk to about. Yay!
That said, it might not be long before this small business establishment, the tailor shop, becomes a relic from the past, like telegrams and landline telephones and STD booths. Well, times change, and the things associated with those times have to change too, I guess. This is not a change I am happy about, though.