Fabric issues, tailor issues but heck…atleast Im getting a colored abaya!

sigh…what a crazy evening!

I went down into the ladies suq to purchase crepe for an Iranian chador (a sister ordered one from me) and then to get some colored crepe for a colored abaya and all I have to say is *sighhhhhhhhh…need to breath!*

So first, dunce I am…I forgot MY chador which was insanely stupid of me! Imagine trying to explain how to sew an Iranian chador to a bunch of Saudis and Indians/Pakistanis who spoke almost no English! Um yah, so I thought if I drew a diagram and the length and width that…um, you know…it would be sort of self-explanatory but for *some* reason the chador has this mystic about it and people cant wrap their head around something being just a HUGE semi-circle of fabric. They try to over think it! Imagine it has sleeves or hand holes or is freakin’ stitched up the front.

um, no…it’s just a HUGE semi-circle of fabric. Simple as that.

Okay so I first tried showing them my diagram and well, that did not work! Then I chucked off my overhead abaya (alhamdullah for the long tunic and jeans) and showed them how I’d make a chador if I was stitching one (stand up drape over the body (from left foot, up over side of body then down over other side, then pin at the bottom when you cut it)…well that made NO sense.

Then of course it was maghreb so the shop had to close! *bangs head against wall*, so I sat outside and tried to think up another way I could do this.

Shop reopened and I went in and the owner got this other guy from some other shop to help and he said, ah, yes I know what you mean! He brings a closed front “chador” for salaat. Um, close…kinda

It helped though, i was able to explain the concept but the whole no closure down the front stumped them. Finally I grabbed the measuring tape and scissors and was like, let me cut it out and piece it and you guys stitch it (cuz you know, a girls gotta do things for herself in this world!)

So imagine this…I first measured and then cut the big piece the proper length, then I folded it in half and laid it down on the floor. Trust me, this must not be a normal occurrence in a Saudi abaya shop because everyone working there thought I was mildly insane and gathered around. So then I laid down the smaller piece and had the tailor hold everything down while I chalked a huge half-semi-circle…then I explained how it needed to be cut.

Yah. Meanwhile Saudi customers are coming in and just gawking like what the heck is going on!?! (I can only imagine what could have happened if a mutawwa had decided to stop by at that very moment!)

Of course my husband telling me “ah don’t offer chadors! These people here wont know how to make them!” was ringing in my ears. But I, thought nah, aint nothin’ to it. Um, yah right. I have decided to take the chador option down! Fur gets it! I’m going to Iran over the summer…if anyone wants oen, I’ll have one made then! harumph. (I’m also kicking myself for not bringing my sewing machine along, I could have just stitched it up at home!)

So I *think/hope/pray* they figured it out after close to two hours of getting this hammered out! Then…I was off to get some colored crepe for a plain and simple (but not black!) abaya!

I decided asking them to cop me a Syrian style jilbab would have been too much effort so instead I purchased this nice light crepe and am having them do an abayah but with inset sleeves (instead of the body and sleeves being 1 piece) and a bit shorter than most abayaat, with walking slits…sorta like a hybrid manteau/abaya. Not bad, I think. We’ll see how it turns out!

Oh and dont get me started on the drama involved in the abaya crepe… I was reminded why in Iran most women only own ONE chador at a time and they use it until the sucker rips and is unwearable, then and ONLY then do they repurchase the material and make a new one, because the crepe is INSANELY expensive!

Some of the nicer crepes I saw this evening were 30$ a meter! So now 4 meters for 1 chador plus cost of tailoring…eeks! No wonder the chador-e melli and arabi chador in Iran are so popular…one of those goes for less than $30 while to make a chador will run you $100 or more. Before you say, but Umm Ibrahim your in KSA NOT Iran, the crepe can’t be THAT much in Iran.

Ah, say no more. Last time I was in Iran I considered having a new chador made, in a very thin, almost sheer crepe (as was trendy then) and was rudely awakened to the idea of it costing me almost $120 for 4 meters of cloth! um, yah! heck no!  Even the less expensive, less fine crepe cost almost as much. The expensive price of suitable crepes in Iran is similar to prices here in KSA. I admit,  I did consider for oh, like  a second making a new chador for myself as well…but then I rationalized that for the cost of 2 meters I can get a NICE overhead abaya, and well…since I just got a really nice new one that I adore and wear all the time I passed on the idea.


but hey, at least Im going to have a colored abaya!


I have to do an updated meme…because, since the incident with the Saudi creeper in the abaya shop, Ive drastically changed my dressing style…the whole all-black thing was depressing me as was being mistaken for a Saudi woman (um, I wonder why!), I also stopped wearing niqab (for the most part) so I am most often now going out in either a chador or my big batwing abaya, bright colored shaylah (like yellow, orange, aqua, stripes!), long tunic, jeans, sneakers and a pair of funky colored matching arm covers…seriously, I feel a lot more like myself and less depressed since I switched to more color…more my style. alhamdullah! Its incredible the effect color has on your wellbeing, I was  soooooooo depressed by all the black (and fed up with it and lack of choice in the clothing department)  And  my husband LOVES  the change as he is very ANTI-black and thinks it’s best reserved for funerals. When we married it took several years for him to not ask me to change my hejab when I put on a black scarf! LOL, So yah, en’shallah updated meme soon!  I still sometimes wear a black abaya, but not too much now, I’m trying to look as UN-Saudi as possible (for some reason wearing shaylah, abaya and niqab here makes every guy check you out, some stare at you, trying to “imagine” whats behind the niqab and others do crazier, nastier thing. Seriously niqab makes the men here go bonkers!)

Also, I haven’t gotten any flack about the new dress style, I’ve walked by several mutawween and none batted an eye. I do get some stares but not bad creepy stares, just curious stares and I keep running into Persian Bahrainis and having convos with them.


6 thoughts on “Fabric issues, tailor issues but heck…atleast Im getting a colored abaya!

  1. Yay for color! I love black, but a little touch of color does a lot to cheer things up. I was cracking up at the thought of you chalking out the chador on the ground!
    Its basically the same as a long khimar except it isn’t sewn up the front and is made of crepe. You think it would be easy.

    • YES a bit of color DOES cheer you up! Even though I almost always have an overhead abaya on now, still having my jeans peep out, shoes, usually my arms too (if I wear the overhead “chador” style) and ofcourse the shaylah still shows my style and individuality.

      And yea, yo’ud THINK a simple semi-circle of fabric would be an easy thing to conceive of, but for some reason most people have a hard time imagining it! I’m sure that was the first and hopefully last time they had some crazy lady doing that! And…as much as I am glad that the salaat times are recognized here, times like this its very peeve-some when everything closes because what took 2 hours could have only taken 1 and a half hours. But, ah well, c’est le vie!

      Im going back Saturday to get everything, I’ll see how they look!

  2. Wow! Wow! What an experience!
    I am almost couldn’t shut my mouth reading your post. And sorry for laughing out loud at your antics, ugh the regulars are looking at me. They must be wondering, what was I laughing at and this is the library!
    I like black abaya but I seldom match it with black shayla. I like matching it with colored hijab, shawls or shayla. It looks better and cheerful.

    • For awhile I tried to do the colored hijab with black Saudi niqab (around the apt to try it out) and I donno, just here…the look would look extremely extremely strange and off. Ive seen some expat women wear their colored scarf as their niqab but all my squares here are made of fabric unsuitable for breathing through and wrapping a colored shaylah as a niqab didnt work either as my glasses would continuously fog up. So, eh I chucked it. But, your in Malaysia…land of color huh, i’d expect all black would REALLY stand out there.
      I do love your style though Kakchik…very modest yet colorful all at the same time, mashallah!

  3. Of all people, I should not have laughed that much when I read about the troubles with chador! But I did laugh until I fell over. I could just see you in the tailor shop! Masha’Allah, I’m glad color is making you feel better!

    • Honestly, I hadn’t expected the chador drama to be so hilarious! But hey, at least ya’ll got a laugh outta it. I for one, learnt my lesson! *teeeheee*
      Oh hey Farzana…at least you’ll know about all the blood (!?!), sweat and tears that into your chador! mashallah.

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