As Kenny mentioned, I purchased 3m of Indian silk on MG Road in Bangalore back in December, with the intention of getting a Western-style dress tailored. I ran out of time to get anything made in India, so I carried the fabric in my backpack all around SE Asia, hoping that one of the many tailors here in Chiang Mai could make something for me.
Little did I know then that finding a tailor is actually quite a process. Most of the tailors in town seem to specialize in men’s suits, and few of them actually do any sewing on site – they take your measurements, sell you some fabric, and then send the material out to a sweatshop to do the bulk of the work. So the “tailors” are basically fabric salesmen.
We immediately had a good feeling about the teacher, Krisna, a sweet Thai woman who welcomed us into her shop and offered us water. It seemed like a good omen that an incarnation of Vishnu would be the one to handle my Indian silk. :) She was excited to hear that we were from Seattle, as she had a former student from Seattle who had recently won a fashion design contest in Friday Harbor. I provided a photo of a dress to use as inspiration, and after a quick analysis she described how she would construct the dress – how many pieces of fabric she would use, how she would make the buttons and design the A-line skirt. Then she took a few measurements and told me to come back on Monday, when she would have the lining completed. A few shots from the Monday fitting:
On Thursday evening, we returned to pick up the final product. The dress came out exactly as I had envisioned, and there was even a bit of fabric left that I may use for a small purse.