Blouse Pieces and stitching
Most blouses for sarees are custom stitched. Each woman has her own
tailor whose fitting she trusts and is comfortable with. The fitting
is not only on the torso but also the length and style of the sleeve, the
way the lower edge of the blouse stays in place, how tight it is on the
lower edge, the way the back is stitched.. each aspect is very precise
Blouse pieces - short lengths of fabrics in a different material which
match one of the colors in the saree - are purchased and then given to
the tailor. In larger cities like Bombay, Bangalore, Ahmedabad and
so on, there are specific shops which sell matching blouse pieces.
These shops are characterised by shelves and shelves of cloth rolls each
one, ever so slightly different shade from the next so that an exact match
can be obtained.
When purchasing a blouse piece, do not match the color in the light
inside the shop. Women usually take the blouse piece and the saree
outside the shop into sunlight to match the colors. I have personally
seen how a distinct change in color occurs when viewed in sunlight - so
do not dismiss this as an idiosyncracy - instead use it to ask the sales
person rather disbelievingly as to what such actions will accomplish -
then reluctantly ask to go out into the sun and match it. (For a
crossdresser, this reluctance / embarassment at shopping for women's clothes
is the best camouflage to hide one's crossdressing desires!)
How much cloth would be required?
Again you don't know. So ask the salesman how much would be required.
He will say do you have any measurement details? You say that you
simply know that the person for whom you are making the purchase likes
full sleeves (or sleeveless as the case may be) and that she wears a bra
of size xxX. So if he is experienced, he will say you require
x cms or y inches. Ask him repeatedly whether that will be ok.
He may say take 5 cms more or some such thing. Choose to purchase
more. Like the moron you want appear as, ask him once again just before
he cuts the required length - are you sure it is ok.
Tailors and stitching
Indian women are very shy and conservative and don't like to be actually
measured for their blouses. Most women give another blouse to the
tailor as an example of the best fitting blouse and the tailor stitches
a blouse to the same measurements as the sample. So the crossdresser
is presented with a formidable challenge when she goes for her first blouse.
So what do you do? One alternative which I have not personally used
but would not feel hesitant about using is to find a tailor who would be
willing to stitch a blouse based only on the bra size. Most tailors
are willing to that. You can continue with the story saying that
it is to be a surprise for your wife! How much length below the lower
edge of the bra can be solved by telling the tailor.. the standard length..
if he says he does not know.. act as if you are thinking for a while and
then say..look my wife wears my shirts occasionally so I know that the
measurements would be similar to mine - you know the girth around my arms
and so on... The tailor is rather relieved to have this information.
Anyway after this, he will explain that if the blouse does not fit well,
you can "adjust" it by removing a seam or two to loosen it. This
will also result in his making provisions for "adjusting" the blouse.