So, my friend Jennifer rang me up last month with an unusual request. She needed a sari blouse made in a hurry for a wedding, and wanted to know if my mum could do it for her. My mother is good at alterations, but she doesn’t do tailoring. Jen, however, had absolute blind faith in my mother’s abilities so she dropped a metre of gorgeous purple silk off, stood still to be measured, and left us to it.
“It’s just two bits of material sewn together” – or so Jen insisted when my mother said she couldn’t do it. Well yes, technically it is, but she’d forgotten two very prominent things. The blouse would need to be shaped with darts to fit around those two prominent things.
My mother put her foot down and said she couldn’t do it, so I wrangled with her and in the end it was agreed that I would do all the cutting and fitting, and mum would do the sewing. Jen’s faith in our combined abilities is wonderful, but she’d have probably had an easier time just nipping down to Brick Lane and finding someone in a shop there to do it!
Anyway, I had a look online and saw the sort of shape the pattern ought to be, made a toile out of some (frankly hideous) scrap fabric we had stashed away, then got Jen back to try it on so we could tweak the fit. Jen was a little bemused, but did concede that she’d not considered that having to make the blouse fit around the shape of her body was somewhat more involved than she’d first imagined.
The following day the toile was unpicked, and the silk cut. Lots of pinning and sewing went on, Jen was asked to come back for a second fitting, and eventually the blouse was finished.
It’s a very simple item, but my goodness was it difficult to make! Not bad though, considering our total lack of any tailoring experience! We just put hooks and eyes at the back to fasten it, but that wasn’t very efficient (in the end Jen had to employ the use of safety pins to stop it coming undone)… but it all looked great, which is the important thing here.
She looks lovely, doesn’t she? So, that was my brief foray into bespoke tailoring… it was educational, but definitely not my preferred craft!