Thursday, May 23, 2013

Cut 'n Sew: Shoddy Workmanship

His exact words were "Are you ever going to alter these pants again?", innocently, I replied, "No". Unbeknownst to me he was running game on me. My tailor at the time was taking short cuts with my garments. It happened that I went to the tailor with a few pairs of pants to have alterations done at the length and also tapered at the hem. When I think back, I think some of them even had turn-ups that I wanted to be removed. Now, I want to have turn-ups reinserted again. These trousers are a mix of 100% new wool/ poly/ viscose blend. Not the most comfortable but they are wearable. As well as versatile since they work with a variety of jerseys and jackets. So when my tailor at the time asked that question I really didn't think anything beguiling about it.

This light grey, double pleated trouser looks great, right?

Even the stitching of the hem looks pristine. Do you agree?

I think not. You know back in the days when I dabbled in rap music, there's a rhyme I wrote wherein I compared djs and turntablists. I was a purist too, so I considered myself a real hip-hop head. There's a line I came up with which went something like 'turntablists will have your back even if they out of work like unemployed chiropractors'. Get it?

Anyway, this song was a protest, if you will, against the new fad back then of djs starting to mix and scratch with cds as opposed to keeping to the tradition of using vinyls. In my view they were half-stepping.

So when I fetched these trousers from the tailor I didn't suspect a thing because they had come out just the way I had wanted them. No turn-ups and the length adjusted slightly.

Some time after that I decided that I needed the turn-ups reinserted especially because they looked a bit of an anomaly because they were double pleated. At this time I had moved to Soli Omar Tailors. After fitting the trousers again and doing measurements, they told me that the trousers would be altered and tapered accordingly. Then when I was at home I got a call.

Yunus at Soli Omar was calling to inform me that all the trousers couldn't be done because they were not stitched at the hem but glued. I told him I'd be in the following day to check and see what he was talking about.

When I went to check the following day, indeed, his words were confirmed. My previous tailor had been half-stepping with the needle and thread. Instead of hemming my trousers in the right way, he used glue. Which is why he asked me at the time if I'd ever need to have any work done on them.

I took the trousers away because I was told there's nothing that could be done because of the glue. I think it's probably a year now, and next week I am determined to take them back to Soli Omar and see if they can't make a plan. Surely something can be done.

There's all kind of wrong going on here. The charcoal trouser below seems to have first been glued and then stitched.

I might not be able to have turn-ups reinserted but they should try their best to taper and stitch the hem like how I expect them to do. As they have done with all of my previous work. This calls into question the quality of the work done by tailors. Do I always check and see whether the work has been to my satisfaction after a visit to my tailor? No, I don't. I usually check and fit at home and if I'm not happy I just take it back. I'm trying very hard to steer clear of taking this discussion down the road of racial stereotyping where certain business practices are relegated to certain races. But, the thought did cross my mind that if it were a tailor of another race would this low quality of work been done?

I leave it to you to discuss and engage with me. Do you perhaps have any stories of being short-changed by a tailor? Do tell.

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