Wednesday 12 October 2011

Convo with a tailor

I have always loved the Phulkari work of Punjab and what better place to buy a suit of Phulkari than in Punjab? (Note 1: Suit means salwar-kameez out here in Northern India!) More importantly I wanted a typical Amritsari suit with a patiala instead of a salwar. I couldn't find any readymades in the limited shopping time that we had but plenty of unstitched suit material. When the shopowner offered to get it stitched and delivered within 3 hours at our hotel, all at the cost of 200 Rs, I jumped at it. (Note 2: In Gurgaon, stitching charges for blouses are Rs 250 minimum and I was not anxious to find out how much they would charge for a salwar kameez set).
I had an interesting convo with the tailor guy. He took all the measurements, my phone number and address and summarily tried to dismiss me from his presence :)
Me: But what is the design of the suit?
Tailor: Madam, it will be a typical punjabi suit with patiala.
Me: I want to give you the pattern of the sleeve and neck. I would like to have a slit in the side.....
Tailor (interrupting me): Madam, there is a standard design. I will stitch it that way only.
Me: But but but....(aghast at having no say in the matter)
Tailor: Madam, aap kahan se ho?
Me: Gurgaon
Tailor: Pehli baar amritsar aaye ho na?
Me: Haan
Tailor: To phir theek hai. You must wear a typical amritsari suit only. Don't give me any design. I will stitch it the right way for you. You will be very happy.
And I was. The dress fits well, the cut is nothing fancy but I get what he meant - keeping the cut simple keeps the focus on the embroidery work. I thought I'd upload a picture of the outfit here but then remembered that I don't have my camera with me this week.
As an aside, I saw some girls in Amritsar who looked like they had stepped straight out of a Yash Chopra movie - all mirrorwork suits, shimmering fluttering dupattas and all :)

16/10/11 Added the photo! Isn't the chunni lovely?


  1. Now now...its not a good thing to make your readers J over a door-delivered perfect patiala suit for a mere 200 !!!
    can I strike a deal and get some for myself online...?? you may take a commission ;-)

  2. there was a time when full printed patialas with plain kurtis were in fashion - with chiffon dupattas - yes yes la yesh chopra style...owned a few myself too.....i REALLY want to go to Amritsar :(

  3. Now that is a wonderful deal. I know where to go next holidays. Upload pics so we get ideas.

  4. @Uma, I'll post a pic online and then u can tell me if u want parents are going there in a couple of weeks :))

  5. @yuvika, I was actually looking out for those...u mean they are out of fashion? :( I really like those.

  6. @Sumana, yup I'm waiting for my cam to get back to me :)

  7. Oh Aparna, it feels so long since I felt enthusiastic about a salwar-suit !! Been wanting to try out a couple of places, then feel so guilty when I look at my always overflowing cupboard :( It's like an Akshayapatra, even after I keep giving away stuff it always remains full!

    Found some decent readymade patialas at a place in Jayanagar (called Awesome - really!)- far from Amritsari I'm sure.. but decently stitched and fit ok. The cost of stitching anything in Bangalore - don't remind me!

  8. @Aparna: Yup I too feel the same; however I also make it a point to buy something crafty and local wherever we travel - whether its for the house, or clothes. For eg in amritsar, there were a lot of Sikh shops selling the sikh kadas, kirpans etc. We got a shield/sword set as wall decor. This "awesome" place in Jayanagar sounds nice.

  9. Wow! That sounds so wonderful! Delivered to you as well! What more can one ask for :)

    It makes so much more sense to get ethnic wear from the places they originate from. You tend to get the most original creations, don't you?

  10. Sounds 'awesome' (Aparna, the commenter - thanks for that reference)! Son wants to become punjabi for the paneer and really wants 'the bangle'.

    The suit sounds awesome - joining the queue for pictures.

  11. Picture posted! :)
    @sangi: Good reason for son to become a punjabi!! The paneer is awesome in northern india...what is it...just better milk? Even my homemade paneer tastes better here!

  12. Hey, there! Came over from Sangitha's blog. Loving your space. Blogrolling you. Will be back for more!

    I love Phulkari too, and would love to wear proper patiala style salwars too. I haven't tried stitching anything in Bangalore yet... This place in Amritsar sounds wonderful! Time to plan a visit maybe! :)

  13. thegalnxtdoor: Welcome and hello! :) Thanks for the kind words. Amritsar is awesome especially if one enjoys punjabi food (actually, even if one doesn't) and doesn't mind a few clogged arteries :)

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