My relationship with my tailor is somewhat like the one I share with my mother. It’s a love-hate relationship but a serious, committed one. Even when I was a kid, I’ve often felt that I belonged at the fabric store, more than at the candy store. My mother would mostly get her clothes stitched, so we would go to the fabric store often and with every trip my love for textiles only grew.
And as I grew older, I too started picking out fabrics and wanted to get outfit designs stitched. Sometimes it was a whacky dress and other times a saree with two toned, two textured fabrics. This is when the struggle began. The design I drew on paper wasn’t always as easy to create, and a tailor who was ‘good’ at his craft wasn’t easy to find. And after looking at about a dozen tailors, when I finally found a tailor who I knew could make what I was looking for, it was like finding a diamond after digging in the mine for too long.
But the process was gruelling and didn't seem to end. I'd find a fine tailor, or so I'd think… I'll give him something to stitch and he will f*ck it up. I'll quarrel with him, tell him to fix the damages he'd caused and get him to repair it. This entire process will take another fortnight and the waiting time made it really difficult.
One incident in particular that I remember is when I decided to design a lehenga for myself to wear at my sister's wedding. It was inspired by beautifully curated pinterest boards. I thought, ‘This should be easy!’ Only to realize it wasn't even close to being easy.
It was an emotional roller coaster - through all the period hormones, add to it adrenaline rush, sloppy deadlines, and countless trips to over crowded markets to source the right fabric, the perfect golden border and the most minimal latkans. As if all this wasn't a task, finding a tailor to put these puzzle pieces together in the form of an outfit was a battle that hadn’t even started.
I found my tailor inside one of the houses in a small boutique in Vasant Kunj, he was apparently amazing! I had to wait 15 long days, and he was confident that my lehenga is going to look totally LIT! I believed him and that was my mistake. He called me in the evening and informed me beforehand that this wasn’t the final version, but he’d tweak the waist and the hips after I try it once. I was excited, nervous and thrilled that he was honest about the fitting. I didn’t mind the wait, if what i got was perfect!
I reached the boutique in the evening and tried it on…and I came out with murderous rage! Nothing was done right. The lining of the lehenga was longer than the lehenga itself, the borders were stiff and the fabric had stretched. In short, it was a disaster; there was no way I could wear this. My tailor ruined my lehenga. I came out furious and showed him how he ruined it. He calmed me down and told me to relax and assured me he’d fix everything. I chose to trust him again and he told me about all of the things that could be fixed.
After waiting another week, he finally got it right. The lehenga looked pretty and I got more than a dozen compliments. Of course, the struggle was real, if you know what I mean. I am sure a lot of you have felt this emotion. The unsettling feeling of having a garment stitched and come to life, the way you envisioned it to be. And like they say, behind every pretty lehenga is a skilled tailor - who’s been harrowed, irritated and drilled by a persistent girl!
Published on Apr 02, 2017