Downtown

Stitching careers

Pushing boundaries: S. Usha, in-charge of the Chromepet centre, teaching her trainee the ways of stitching a blouse. Photos: Special Arrangement & Vaishali R. Venkat   | Photo Credit: Vaishali R Venkat

Due to financial constraints faced by his family, Sugumar dropped out of school at 12. Today, 42 years later, he runs a successful chain of tailoring institutes in Chennai offering a range of courses to make men and women financially independent. Over 25,000 students have passed out of the institute.

An accidental tailor, he started Chennai Tailoring Institute at West Mambalam in a hut with 10 students in 1979. “I am an MGR fan and started by stitching for my customers dresses he wore,” recalls Sugumar.

For three years, he learnt the trade. He worked one shop, where he picked up the basics. At another, he learnt advanced tailoring techniques. There, in that shop was a boy who had difficulties on the job. He was not a quick learner. The owner asked Sugumar to teach this boy. This newfound responsibility set Sugumar thinking about starting a tailoring institute himself.

By 1979, when the Institute was opened, he had worked in seven shops. “If I stitch a dress for a person, it takes at least an hour. Instead if I teach 15 to 20 people at a time for the same amount of time, I get the satisfaction of having helped many people,” he says.

It started by offering diploma in tailoring and screen printing. Today, it offers many courses. Its programme for SHGs has been running for over 12 years. Fashion designing and apparel designing are its main courses.

It later expanded to start branches in Chromepet and recently in Rajakilpakkam. Among the trainees are widows, divorcees and physically-challenged. Rajeshwari, a deaf-mute , is one of the trainees of the institute, who is successfully employed at a garment industry. After training, most of the beneficiaries have joined garment companies, set up self-employment ventures and some have even started tailoring institutes. Jayapradha and Buelah, who were trained at the institute, have started their own at Nellore and Madipakkam.

The institute has offered a package for self-help groups for more than 12 years and is now open to offer a special package, with attractive discounts, for self-help-groups.

Fashion designing and apparel designing constitute the core of the courses. The institute offers an advanced fashion diploma course, 30 days’ tailoring for women, 30 days’ tailoring for men, machine embroidery course, power machine embroidery course, commercial diploma courses, saris special courses, gents dress special courses, master advanced diploma course, hand embroidery, arya and jardoshi blouse only (15 days course), chudidhar only (15 days course), shirt only (15 days course) and other government-certified courses.

The institute has inspired many uneducated men and women to become financially independent. It has also made it a point to choose some physically-challenged people and train them. One such person was Nithyamathi, who lost her leg in the Sri Lankan war, and was in deep trouble and trauma for several years. But after coming to know about the institute, she joined the institute and learnt the trade. Now she is leading a peaceful life, earning her livelihood with stitching clothes and embroidery from her home in K.K. Nagar. For details, contact S. Dhanasekaran at 9841224972 (T.Nagar), S. Usha at 9840087619 (Chromepet) and D. Sugumar at 9382216849 (Rajakilpakkam).


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Printable version | Jun 15, 2021 8:53:36 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/downtown/stitching-careers/article6364955.ece

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