A few years back, one of my friend's 6-year-old daughter had called me "tailor boy". I was thrilled to bits not only because she could recognize me with my love for tailoring but also for calling me a boy instead of a man. I remember feeling young.
I have been involved in making clothes for the last 2 decades and have understood a few things along the way. Considering the firangi-way-of-garment construction itself is new to us, we have passed many significant milestones - an example of adaptability at every opportunity.
Apart from half a dozen books and innumerable visits to the British Library, I have tried understanding pattern making by many of my contemporaries, tailors, masterjis and helpers, of course measuring many body shapes and sizes do give perspective. The learning is still on.
A beautiful looking garment may get recognised for its fabric, print, colour, design or detail but seldom for the skill of cutting, sewing and finishing. Unfortunately, many craft-enablers and craft promoting organizations frown upon anything which goes under sewing machine/tool. It's a different matter that this puristic thought comes while wearing a designer blouse or a bandhgala.
Pattern making and tailoring require an understanding of the fabric and fall, dart manipulation and implementing panel, the importance of quilt, gather, and pin tucking, reason behind shoulder slope and down shoulder, comprehension of design and its fabric consumption, correct armhole shape and size, accommodating cap height and biceps, how to hold and handle scissors, understanding the size and its grading, knowing different kinds of fits and its ease, various ways of finishing and sewing buttons, the significance of ironing and folding, different numbers of stitches per inch, the feeding of the fabric at the desired pace, vigilant of measurements, neat and careful handling of fabric and a whole lot of maths and logic, to name a few.
A trained eye can make out the difference between a fabric which has been affectionately cut and then sewn rhythmically to that of a fabric slaughtered and hung on a hanger.
Apart from having these monologues on social media, I do practise pattern making or cutting every single day. It simply makes me a part of the process and an extension of all the workers behind every product. Also, the use of hands come in handy in simplifying many thoughts.
At a day and age, where everyone is a designer, some of us find solace being a tailor boy.