Confessions of a Ladies Tailor

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“You might think you [are sorted because you] have your clients’ measurements. But two months later, they are of a different shape and form”

Ladies are sanki (loony). The key is to win their trust and at all times keep your cool. I get all kinds of customers. Some are calm, some hyper, some arrogant, some extremely finicky and some confused. I listen to everything they have to say and do exactly what they want. I keep my opinions to myself, unless asked. I stitch salwar kameezes, blouses, ridas (a Bohra-Muslim attire) and lehengas. I learnt the art from my father. It’s the only thing that I know. 

You might think you have all your clients’ measurements and you’re sorted for the next assignment. But two months down the line, they will be of a different shape and form. If they aren’t busy being pregnant, they are dieting. I have still not figured out how they do it. My client’s brother was getting married and I was stitching her lehenga while she was busy dieting. I altered that lehenga five times in one month. That girl was shrinking.

I didn’t have any formal training in cutting or stitching, but my instincts have always served me right. That’s why tailors insist on taking measurements themselves. A woman might be very conscious about her body otherwise, but you will be surprised at how free women even in burkhas are while giving measurements.

One day, a woman came to me with a demand that I make a really fancy blouse from a magazine, some princess cut. The style she wanted was unflattering and would have made her look flat from the front. She sounded a little arrogant so I refrained from making suggestions and gave her what she asked for. As I had predicted, it didn’t fit her right, but she was too embarrassed to admit it. I suggested that she let me fix it. Left with no choice, she agreed. I made the changes, making her look perfect. She wouldn’t have believed me if I had suggested these changes right at the beginning. But that day my patience gave me a loyal

(He has been a ladies tailor for the past 10 years)

As told to Sharmeen Hakim Indorewala