Saturday, 8 October 2011

Snip snip !

I have grown up wearing exquisitely stitched salwar kameez,frocks ,jumpers,skirts and what not simply because my mom used to stitch my clothes and my sisters'. When i was growing up there were no malls ...there were shops one went to buy the frocks and baba suits for children.Women usually bought material at mill stores -atleast that's what my mom did and gave it for stitching.Darzis were carefully chosen and good ones were stuck to. The quality for darzis were honesty and thriftiness in using the cloth and most women at that time had compulsory 'sewing ' class either at home or at schools.My mother of course went a step ahead primarily because she had 3 daughters to swathe elegantly. i don't ever remember my mom buying"salwar kameez sets". These sets which contain dupattas,kurta and bottom materials were unheard...instead people mix- matched and bought material at the shops and they scoured for matching dupattas .In doing so people usually bought only required material depending on the length and type of kurta or salwar they wanted.
Nowadays, the sets offer huge advantages..first you don't have to scour for matching dupattas.secondly the darzi cannot cheat you and ask for more material incase you are tall.For short people it doesnt matter because darzis have a field day because lot of material is left behind after he stitches and gives you the salwar kameez

Unfortunately nowadays, many women don't have any sense of material,or cloth requirement so they buy whatever the darzi says instead of doing mental calculations of their own. Here is the general rule of the thumb: if you are 5ft to 5.5 ft,wear a salwar of length-40-41" and kurta of 38" or less- you just need 2 mtrs for kurta ,2 mtrs for salwar of panna 42-45" i.e width of the cloth material.

The panna of cloth especially doesn't matter in kurtas because of the styles that are worn these days...sleeveless,halter necks and short sleeves. I'm 5ft 8" tall so i easily stitch  my salwar in 2 mtrs and churidar in 2.25 mtrs, kurtas in 2- 2.25 mtrs depending on length i want 40-43". I have got my salwar kameez stitched from tailors when i didn't know stitching and mom couldn't do it anymore- they never made the length of the kurta more than 43-45" [the time i'm talking about is when long slit kurtas with churidars were in fashion] and made piddly churidars from the sets though the salwars made were good.
Here are few tips i 'd like to share:
1. If you don't know stitching here is important things to look for in a darzi these days: your height has got nothing to do with cloth requirement when you buy standard salwar kameez sets ie. 2.25 -2.5 mtrs top,2-2.25 bottom and dupatta.If you are below 5.5 ft and thin ask your darzi to give you remaining cloth back especially if you have got a plain kurta and salwar stitched. Usually in these sets the panna of cloth is 42-46" ,the whole length wise cloth band remains after stitching if the darzi has folded and cut the kurta properly. Don't expect much from bottom part of the material set. If you have a hobby you can use the cloth and you can also use it to rafu /repair your dress in case they are get torn accidentally.

2.Ask the darzi to keep silai so that you can alter the dress if you put on weight
3. When you are testing a new darzi,check his stitching,salwar and churidar that he makes. A salwar should not ride up your thighs when you walk or sit with folded legs,the paincha [bottom part] of salwar should not be too wide nor too narrow.The fall of the salwar when you wear it should be perfect. Its meant to be loose and flowing and width [gher] as much as possible.
A churidar has to have 'chudis'. the chudidar is cut on diagonal fold of cloth so ideally its going to have joints.A smart darzi will and can add joints so that as much 'chudis' can be made and joints will not be seen too.

4. And most importantly- a good efficient darzi never ever spoils your clothes. If its a fitting problem take it back to the darzi and tell him, he can alter it.If he makes your kurta extremely tight don't go back to him at all with a second order.
5. Nowadays darzis charge price depending on locality they are sitting in and not according to their skill so your job of finding a good and reasonable skillful darzi is even more difficult.

Lastly, i wholly recommend learning basic hand stitching,repairing your clothes .Its one skill which is worth it.You don't depend for alterations on a tailor.It saves your time. Believe me,If there is extra silai on sides of the kurta you can rip it open and make space to accommodate a few extra inches in case you have put on weight or vice versa when you want to wear it . You will not have to wait and make a trip to the tailor for something as small as that. You can handstitch - you may find it difficult to believe in this age of sewing machines but neat handstiching is strong !
So, you cannot excuse yourself from repairing clothes because you do not have a sewing machine !

Sewing came to my rescue. Its destressing ,challenging and its one skill where if you do it again and again you only become better. Its my mom's greatest gift to me.In 3 years i have learnt from books, from mom and my aunt and now i can make salwar kameez, saree blouses, churidars,pillow covers ,curtains. Sometimes, hours pass by while I'm concentrating on a particular pattern making. I have now moved on from basic kurta and now i try to create patterns, piping, necklines and yokes.Sewing is an endless art - your creativity is your limit.


  1. And I just wished I knew how to sew. I want it so bad!!

    1. Its never too late. I started sewing only 3-4 years ago !


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