Sunday, August 26, 2018

Tailoring Baju Kurung, Cheongsam and Sari Blouse








When I started sewing at the age of 11, without my even realizing I was actually using the draping method to sew my own clothes. For those who are new to pattern drafting terms, Fashion draping is an important part of fashion design. Draping for fashion design is the process of positioning and pinning fabric on a dress form (in my case it was my own body using safety pins) to develop the structure of a garment design. After draping, the fabric is removed from the dress form and used to create the sewing pattern for the garment. 
Until I joined a proper fashion degree college I was quite happy and pleased by the results and had actually started considering myself a self –taught- genius- fashion designer! To my surprise and dismay all my beliefs were shaken to the core when I was introduced to the world of systematic and calculative pattern drafting. That’s when I realized that pattern drafting of any product is no joke. It’s a combination of science, math and loads of logics. I soon was humbled enough to adapt this new method and since then I have never taken my patterns lightly no matter how simple the design was. 
Now that I’m a professional dressmaker and a teacher more often than less I am confronted with this question - “how do Tailors make clothes with only few measurements and why does a particular tradition garment (sari blouse, cheongsam, Baju kurungs etc) are cut directly on fabric without having to make patterns!?”

To my understanding a dress maker should be able to make any design irrespective of their cultural background or expertise in a garment belonging to that particular culture. I believe the basics and fundamentals should and will remain the same no matter what. Your method can be different from mine but as long as it gives the same end result it shouldn’t matter. 
To answer this question I selected a sari blouse design and cut the pattern using my professional dress making basics the end result was fantastic but it took me twice as time as any local Tailor would take. So here’s my answer - yes it’s a fact that local Tailors take way too less measurements and often don’t  require to draft their patterns on paper before cutting the fabric but it is also a fact that besides their own traditional garments seldom they can sew any other designs. Try giving your local sari blouse or Punjabi suit tailor a western evening gown or boot cut pants! You’ll know what I mean. No offense to them they are by all means very skilled individuals with years of precious experience but the fact remains the same - their method of learning and practice is restricted to a particular design and is often learnt from a senior master tailor who passes on their own short cuts that they figured out during their own sewing journeys. These methods and tricks are learnt and absorbed without asking the “whys” behind them and hence although they give great results they often fail to display creativity and innovation in designs. 
As a dress maker you yourself will develop many tricks and short cuts of your own but when you teach someone your skill make sure you hand them down the full extensive methods and let them make their own mistakes and find their own tricks :)   



Happy Sewing !