tailoring my own songkets: part 1

there are many reasons why a bride would consider tailoring her own outfits — exclusivity, can wear again, “hygienic” — but saving money shouldn’t be one of them. at least not from my budget forecasting (cheh cheem word)!

insyaAllah, my mum and I will be tailoring two songket outfits. if that sounds absurd to you, don’t worry, sometimes it sounds absurd to me too. why two? it was a classic situation of not being able to choose between two colours, so we bought both instead. zzz. and why songkets and not the modern baju kurung for nikah and then hari raya? I also dunno. tapi dah beli kain. so follow through we shall.

the two tailors that we plan to engage are (i) Cik Zai, our regular tailor since 1998 who’s based in KL and (ii) Upik, a tailor my mum discovered in recent years. Cik Zai is pretty good with the classic baju kurung, mini kurung, kebaya kinda stuff. and her beadwork is pretty awesome. Upik’s niche is more of the ambitious + imaginative modern baju kurung. he did my hari raya outfits last year and I gotta say his kain-s are damn awesome. he uses soft soft materials and sews them into panels or pleats such that when I walk, my kain-s dance. they bellow out. super love them. they deserve an instavideo, which I should go and make one day 😉 kalau sanggup.

here’s the plan

feb 2014 – already went to KL to buy two sets of kain songket. we got one songket tabuh (ie flowers far apart from each other) and songket non-tabuh ok I forget the name (ie small flowers which are very close to each other) each set has enough cloth for the bride, groom, tanjak, and selendang. my two sets cost me S$250, from Mina Enterprises at G5 Plaza City One, Jalan Munshi Abdullah, 50100 Kuala Lumpur (Masjid India area).

apr 2014 – Upik was in Singapore for one day over the weekend, so he took both ninja groom’s and my measurements. in my broken bahasa I cautioned him not to sew yet in case one year later our measurements are different. er, hopefully smaller than now but I’m not sure what’s the chances!

dec 2014 part 1 – go to Bandung with my mum to meet Upik again to ukur badan lagi. and maybe shop for the lace that will go with the songket. and maybe also tailor outfits for my first kakak-dah-kahwin hari raya in 2015 hehe.

dec 2014 part 2 – drive up to KL with my mum and ninja groom (actually he would do the driving not me :D) to make his baju at the shop we bought the kain from because it’s cheaper, and meet Cik Zai to finalise my design and order mine.

both tailors should be able to mail out the baju, though for Cik Zai i could easily do a weekend trip to collect my baju.

outfit inspirations

here’s my bridal baju moodboard thus far. pardon the photo quality – they’re photos of photos, plus some mobile phone filter to salvage them. usually i take more pride in my photo quality, promise.

my mum is going to KL during the Vesak Day holiday, so I’ve pesan for some bridal magazines so that I can cut out more pics like the obsessive wedding kraken that I am. no offence to Singapore’s majalah perkahwinan, but the recent issue we bought had nothing pls!

Processed with VSCOcam with m6 preset

what struck me most about her baju was the colour… so simple and sweet!

Processed with VSCOcam with t2 presetahhh so classy, loving this one. cream makes such a nice baju colour. if you study the pic closer, it’s a mini kurung (instead of a one-piece dress) if i’m not wrong

pinklacesongketleft: quite like the lace on songket, though my mum thinks this fesyen is relatively old already

right: well, you can see my own notes, but yep the lilac is super sweet though not liking the sibuk stuff on her shoulder! 
Processed with VSCOcam with t2 preset

love the flowy kain for this one – again, something Upik could totally do 

Processed with VSCOcam with k3 preset

a kebaya pahang. but somehow not liking this one much. maybe it’s the half hearted train, or the step-fancy neckline…


and finally, handstamped dividers for my inspiration file, hee

ok that’s it for now. time-permitting, I’ll write another entry on how tailoring your own outfits could affect your bridal packages (read: price) and share why I’m still going ahead with this despite the kaching! insyaAllah 🙂


  1. DayDreamer · July 11, 2014

    Thanks for the compliment on my lace baju (1st photo). Am flattered! ^_^
    It was actually Something Borrowed from a family friend for the Majlis Bertandang, but it fit me just right.
    If you’re looking for lace, try Jakel’s – they have beautiful ones on the top floor. the November issue of Pesona Pengantin has a picture of my modern kurung in lace from Jakel worn at my garden reception.
    good luck in finding the perfect fit! 😉

    • the wedding kraken · July 12, 2014

      haha wow, how did you manage to find my blog post? so cool! it was very nice indeedy. thanks for the recommendation on jakel’s… shopped for my baju kurung there earlier this yr. did check out the top floor nye lace… so mahal though! but ok la eh kalau nak buat baju pengantin 🙂

  2. Syah · December 23, 2014

    Hi, I am looking for someone who can tailor a songket outfit for my wedding. If you don’t mind, would you be able to share Cik Zai’s and Upik’s contact details with me via email? 🙂

    • the wedding kraken · December 29, 2014

      Salam Syah, sure leave me your email address and I’ll pass you the deetz insyaAllah. Upik plans to come to Singapore in Jan, so will be gd if you can catch him! 🙂

  3. Lils · February 2, 2015

    Hi can’t help it to notice you’ve been planning your wedding way ahead! I’m getting married on Labour Day’15 and can’t seem to find anyone to do the songket outfit yet. Mind sharing Cik Zai’s and Upin’s contacts please?

    • the wedding kraken · February 2, 2015

      Hello fellow May 2015 BTB!

      Haha yeah, cos Cik Zai and Upik are our go-to tailors so it didn’t take much thinking to plan on sending baju to them back then 🙂

      Would you like to leave your email address so I can pass you Upik’s number?

      As for Cik Zai, I don’t have her number but her shop is located at Tingkat 1 (level 2 in Sg context) Medan Mara at Jalan Raja Laut, near Sogo at Masjid India in KL. it’s called Zai Collection. there are also other tailors and kedai pengantin which you can check out. my mum and I just sent clothes to her neighbour, J&N Collection in Dec. Hopefully all goes smoothly. Just a word of caution that we had a bit of troubles with Cik Zai last raya over deadlines, so we are a little serik. 😐 my sister swears by Cik Zai’s sewing, though.

  4. Shila · February 2, 2015

    Hi, I am also looking for a tailor for my whole family. Would you mind sharing Cik Zai’s and Upik’s contact details with me? My email is shila_1005@yahoo.com.sg
    Thanks! 🙂

  5. Lils · February 2, 2015

    Thanks a heap! Medan Mara is a walk away from my office 🙂
    lilsy@msn.com Thanks again

  6. Lils · February 3, 2015

    Oh dear. Sorry about that. You can email at lmahayudin@gmail.com thanks again!

  7. shirah · April 7, 2015

    Hai, u mind to pass to me upik no?? Found ur blog when looking ard for tailor.
    My email- banunashirah@hotmail.com

    • the wedding kraken · April 7, 2015

      Hi Shirah, Upik disappeared on us so I’m afraid I can’t recommend him after all!

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