BootsnAll Travel Network

The Unique Tailor Experience

My only birthday wish is to wear an Indian sari.  I had imagined wearing my favorite colors, a perfect orange or maybe turquoise.  When I shared this image with my friend Gia she said, “I’m sure you’ll find the perfect one” She was right.  Because after hours of sifting through hundreds of silk, cotton, and polyester fabrics and searching for the right combination of material, embroidery color, design and pattern, and border.  Just moments before giving up my search,  I found it.

 My birthday sari was blue! BLUE? Yes, what a surprise because those who know me so well imagine me only in the brightest of hues. Orange, yellow, turquoise, pink!  The skirt area is lavender with gold embroidered ovals.  The part that comes across the chest is also lavender with various colored gemestones in the shape of flowers.  The lavender fades into blue, which is underneath a gold embroidered pattern and small mirrors.  The entire sari is bordered in gold.  I was so excited to wear it but then the gentleman burst my birthday sari bubble when informing me that I needed to have the top tailored (the sari comes with extra fabric at the end for the top) and it would probably be days until the top could be completed, since it was the Buddhist New Year celebration that following day and the tailors were busy with special outfits.

 Everyone always says that birthday wishes come true, so I set out on a mission to make sure that wasn’t just a rumor.

 After many rejections from tailors all over the neighborhood, I decided just to have the extra fabric cut off the end and wear a plan sari top I already had that would match.  I waited for my turn amongst a group of Indian women in a closet sized shop lined floor to ceiling with the dazzling fabrics.  It was my turn

“what you need”

“um, Hi! Can I have the sari top cut off the end of my sari?”

“You want sari top?”

“No, no just…” – “What you want?”

“I just want the fabric cut off”

“No top? Why not! Why no you want top?”

“I am leaving tomorrow for an ashram”

“You pick up when you return”


“No, I need to wear the sari at the ashram.  I want to wear it for my birthday!”

”Ah, when?”


“(clicks the mouth) Ahhh… no time, no time.  New year tomorrow, many things to make”

“But its my birthday wish, all I want to do it wear the sari for my birthday.  I will pay you double to have it done by tomorrow”

-this is where the universe sprinkles some magic birthday glitter onto the tailors head and shoulder and  vuola –

“(mouth click) Ah, no.  I do sari top for you, but only if I can make a dress to.  I have done for you by 4:00 tonight”


Huh? Did that just happen? That doesn’t even make sense ( I remember a fellow traveler in Sri Lanka telling me, “Just remember, it’s India, ANYTHING can happen”)! I oblige and she quickly pulls me behind the counter and drapes her tape measure all over my body, lifting up my shirt, tugging at my pants, and manipulating my arms and shoulders to get the perfect numbers.  Because there are several other woman waiting to be measured for their perfect outfits, I quickly scan the orange section of fabrics and choose a set to be tailored.  For the salwir, the fabric comes in a set of 3 pieces, one piece for the top, one piece for the pants (usually a different color or design than the top) and a piece for the scarf or shawl.  

 I quickly scanned a booklet of examples of various styles of pants or tops she could make.  You can choose the length, cut, style, and even add fringe such as beads, bells, or gemstones. 

 She took clippings of the fabric then tossed it into a pile behind her and measured the next girl.  Quick, precise, yet original.


There was something very intriguing about the tailor experience.  Much of the clothing that woman wear here is designed just for them (and fits like a glove), for pennies!  It was very inspiring to develop a relationship with the person who is making my clothing.  To have a sense of the energy that is going into making my unique one of a kind outfit.  I sincerely respect such originality and creativity, as opposed to purchasing an anonymous overpriced piece of clothing that comes from who-knows-where that was made by who knows who.


Tags: ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *