Tailors and fabric shops were abundant in the towns we visited on our recent trip to India. In Agra and Jaipur we took the opportunity to have some traditional Indian clothes made.
Our hotel in Agra was close to the Taj Mahal, in an area known as Taj Ganj. To the south of our hotel there was a small bazaar. The streets were full of small busy shops selling food, household goods, clothing and handicrafts to locals. We found a fabric shop and looked at many bolts of beautiful cloths. We bought fabric for some clothes we wanted to have made: two kurtis and a pyjama for me, and two dress shirts for Arthur. We selected some cotton fabrics but Arthur also got some silk for one of his shirts. The shopkeeper showed us some very outlandish fabrics which we agreed were beautiful but not our style. When we were almost finished an assistant showed me a very flashy dark sari, with lots of metallic stripes and squiggly lines, there may have even been some mirrors and beadwork on it. I could only laugh and say, “I can’t wear that!” The assistant had to agree and we all had a good laugh.
With our cloth in hand, we headed back towards our hotel in search of a tailor. We found a very small shop, called Good Luck, situated close to our hotel. The shop was basically an open concrete walk-in closet with some shelves and a clothes bar in the back, a sewing machine and chair, and a small mobile counter. We asked the tailor if he could make the clothes for us. His knowledge of English was not very extensive but we managed to get our order across with a lot of pointing and gesturing and simple sentences. He took our measurements and Rs 200 as a deposit.
Arthur in one of his shirts
from Good Luck
Pants from Good Luck
and kurti from Raymond
The next evening we returned to the shop to pick up our clothes. We were very impressed that he was able to make four shirts and one pair of pants for us in such a short time. Arthur’s shirts looked great and even included a little GL (Good Luck) tag on the pockets. My kurtis were perfect too. The pyjama pants were made with a drawstring waist so they also fit just fine.
In Jaipur we wanted to have a few more pieces made. I was looking for a lilac-colored blouse to go with my dark purple pyjama pants, and Arthur wanted to get a kurta for himself. We found a shop which sold cloth and also sewed clothes. It was part of a chain, Raymond, that we had seen in other towns earlier on the trip. The shop was large and the clothes were lined up on the walls and very easy to see. The shopkeepers kept taking out bolts and bolts of cloth each time we expressed even a mild interest in one. They must have unrolled 30 bolts while we were there. I was looking at some very expensive embroidered cloth for a long time but finally settled on a more modest style after suffering a bit of sticker shock. The prices for the tailor work were more than we had paid in Agra, but with the more professional set-up of the shop, this was not surprising. The clothes we had made in Jaipur were also ready the day after we ordered them.