Dec 5, 2011

Adventure in tailoring

My personal pioneer adventure in tailoring begins with the construction of a sadly looking oriental costume (or so I deem, as I'm lacking an appropriate name for this suit), which was a fruit of labor of a single simplistic trip to a nearby tailor.

It all began with an invitation from an ex-classmate who was getting married in a five-star hotel, and from the looks of it, the reception would going to be a rather glamourous event - stated in the invitation was the dress code revolving around something I recall as "Red Carpet Glam" and "Oriental Chic".
As I stood down reading the golden leaflet, my mind was scrambling for a suitable wardrobe option for the event. I took a glance into my closet and let out a sigh of disappointment. Nothing is fitting enough to be worn at the event, I thought. The most tailored (i.e formal) clothing items that I possessed are a slew of blazers, not suits, mind you - mostly too casual or too ill-fitting for any wedding event. The rest of the cupboard is filled with stacks of worn out denim with heaps of shirts and tee shirts tripling the latter in amount. And lastly, I looked at the rows of shoes underneath my bed, mostly overtly expensive yet minimally worn.

I should have spent a bit more on tailoring, I began blaming myself...

Suddenly I thought of a roll of saree fabric that I acquired from a friend who bought it in India (the prospect of 'authenticity' simply turns me on). I remember the fabric being ink black and shiny with amazingly beautiful golden brocades (although merely machine-made I suspect). Despite the fact that it is a feminine fabric by right, I thought I could have gotten away by making it more 'guy-friendly' by turning it into a costume, which, ultimately could serve as the scapegoat for my wardrobe dilemma...

Consequently, a trip to a tailor could not be more essential that time. Having a limited budget in my pocket (as I'm saving for yet another pair of overpriced shoes) I immediately thought of the local tailor which is less than a kilometre away from my home. What's the name of the tailor's place I hear you ask? It is called Pamili. It's essentially a business run by a team of Indonesian workers (my neighbourhood area is a melting pot of Indonesian immigrants, namely from Minangkabau).

So I brought the 'precious' roll of fabric to the tailor in-charge, and started to explain my vision, what I'd like my suit to look like - basically I requested for:
1)  A mandarin collar with hidden buttons
2) The brocade to be featured at the back and and as the trimmings
3)  The silhouette to be rather slim-fitting
4) The trousers to be of carrot cut shape

Only requests nos. 1 and 2 were diligently fulfilled. But where's the slim fit? Where's my carrot cut trousers?

It all got lost in translation I suppose. Admittedly I had a hard time explaining the terms in Malay and the guy had difficulty in understanding English tailoring terms. Words like 'carrot cut' or 'tapered' or 'slim fit' or even 'mandarin collar' invited a perplexed look from the tailor. This eventually lead to the suit's rather odd and unbalanced silhouette.

But please don't get me wrong. I should not be complaining much when the tailoring costs me a reasonable RM100 (that's less than GBP20)! And then again, it is partially my mistake trying to be extremely ambitious with such a flimsy, billowy fabric and expecting an outstandingly looking costume... Or perhaps I should have requested a lining to balance the diaphanous fabric.

Nevertheless I'm definitely optimistic in Pamili tailor and I'm looking forward for further experimentation in custom made clothing, perhaps in the near future.
I'm smiling on the outside but crying from the inside. The flimsiness of the fabric is evident by the fact that my undershirt is obvious. Further issues that make me feel unhappy about the outcome is the candid shininess which does not sit too well with the silhouette. Furthermore the additional pleating (if you look closely, running from both sides of my torso) only further distorts the fabric.
From the side the whole look is more appealing. Okay, I cheated. I did pull down the shirt a bit and put my hands in the pockets in order to produce a 'snug effect'. I'm replicating the overall sheen with the equally shiny Lanvin clogs (please take note they are part of my exorbitantly priced shoe collection).

The exquisite golden thread brocade up-close (never mind it being machine-made).
Walking towards my limousine ( who am I kidding ha ha!)


notanotherstoryteller said...

The brocade is gorgeous . Mind if I shamelessly copy ur design ? A friend of got me a saree from India n im absolutely clueless what to with it . I was juz planning to make lil pillow cases n throw it around the house .

cinetailoring said...

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