Tailoring is an old occupation and a tailor is an indispensable unit of society. Though independent tailoring shops may not he found in all the villages of the district, a group of two or three small villages do have a tailor. A few of the tailors add to their income by selling ready-made clothes while some supplement the same by taking to agriculture. However, a majority of them have to depend upon their main profession for their livelihood. Most of the tailors in the rural areas do not possess the skill of their urban counterparts and are content to stitch ordinary apparel like bodices, pyjamas, etc. They, however, lead a precarious life due to their meagre earnings. On the other hand the position is different in urban areas. With changing fashions and changes in modes of dress, tailors in the urban areas have come to acquire an important position in the social framework. They are generally skilled in stitching shirts, pants, etc., among other garments including ladies' wear. Many a time, they have specialised in stitching clothes of men, women or children.
Figures in table No. 1 show that the occupation attracts a good number of persons. With increasing demand for skilled tailoring services the income of the tailors, at least in the urban areas, has gone up. However, tailors have to adapt themselves to the changing circumstances and to learn new fashions. The tailoring shops were found to be situated mostly in busy and populated localities where they could attract good business.
The accessories that are mainly required for the occupation include thread,
buttons, needles, canvas cloth, marking pencils, etc. The cost of accessories
varies from Rs. 5 to Rs. 50 depending upon the business on hand. Generally these accessories are obtained from the local market.
A sewing machine, a pair of scissors, a stool or a chair, low board (big pat) and a measuring tape are the important items of tools and equipment of a tailoring shop. A small tailoring shop
generally had only one sewing machine. The medium sized tailoring shops have more than one sewing machines besides a
cupboard to keep stitched clothes. There are no big shops any- where in the district. The medium shops had one table for cutting cloth, one or two cupboards for keeping stitched clothes and cloth and a bench or a chair or a stool for customers to sit. Of the tools and equipment a sewing machine costs between Rs. 300 and Rs. 700. The tailors sometimes purchased the machine on instalment basis or got it on hire-purchase. The pair of scissors and a measuring tape cost about Rs. 10.
Generally in rural areas the tailor works single handed and does the job of
cutting and stitching. He goes from house to house and collects orders and
cloth, stitches the clothes accordingly and delivers the stitched clothes to the customers. However the position in this respect is different in urban areas. In urban areas the customers go to the tailors' shops, place their orders and collect the stitched clothes from them on a fixed date of delivery. In a small shop it is the tailor who carries out all the work himself. In medium and big establishments, however, the job of cutting which requires skill, as they generally cater to a special type of the clientele, the proprietor himself under-takes this principal job and leaves the rest to other skilled and semi-skilled paid workers. The servants are generally paid on piece rate basis and in rare cases on salary basis. During the brisk season, that is from October to May, the tailors in these establishments have to work throughout the day. The servants in these shops are paid each about Rs. 75 per month. In rural areas the tailor hardly gets about Rs. 25 to Rs. 30 per month.
Shirts, pants, trousers, bush-shirts, waist-coats, blouses and bodice are the usual items of stitching. The stitching charges differ from item to item and from tailor to tailor depending upon the personal skill and ability of the tailor.
The output of work of a tailor depends upon the situation of a shop, whether in a central place or otherwise and his personal ability to satisfy the customers. In villages, normally, the tailors' output of work is comparatively small, going up, how-ever, during festivals, fairs, holidays and marriage season. The tailor on such occasions earns anywhere between Rs. 4 and Rs. 6 per day. In the urban areas his earnings range between Rs. 8 and Rs. 10 per day. Adjusting his expenditure to the gross income the tailor is generally left with a net income of about Rs. 100 per month. Sometimes a tailor in urban areas was found to add to his income by allotting a small portion of his business establishment for the sale of cloth to his customers.