Even before one enters Habib complex, off Ranganathan Street in T. Nagar’s most crowded spot this season, the whirring of sewing machines hits the ears. Welcome to the world of one-hour tailoring.

A. Muthu, of Sri Ram Tailors on Rameswaram Street, who has been in the business for 20 years says that he first started offering this service as many tailors would take over a month to deliver clothes to customers.

“I employ four tailors, and they can stitch as many as eight salwar-kameez sets in an hour. The clothes are complete with double stitches and over locking. Two women are employed to take measurements,” he said.

On an average, his shop stitches around 40 sets a day. “There are 4-5 days before festivals on which we stitch 100 sets per day. But this year, business hasn’t been so good and we got to stitch 100 sets only on one day,” he said.

There are around 400 tailors in Panagal Park, Rameswaram Road and Ranganathan Street and most of them stitch anything the customers wants tailored in an hour. They charge around Rs. 140 – Rs. 250 a set for basic designs.

Tailors R. Selvi and R. Jayalakshmi, who work at R. Jyothi’s shop in Rams Bazaar complex, say they put in extra hours before Deepavali as there are more wages to be made. But earning daily wages means no increments, no bonus or pension, says Prema, who works at such a shop.

Such quick stitching is done not only during festivals but also during the weekends. “We get customers wanting clothes stitched quickly even on Saturdays. Most times they give us the fabric by noon and come back by 2 p.m. to collect,” said Ms. Jyothi.

Customers like Aarthi Balaji, have regular shops that they go to. “I get my clothes stitched at Oscar tailors as the finishing is very good. I tried several shops before I found this one,” she said.

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