tailoring my own songkets: part 3

alright so here’s the final instalment of my tailoring my own songkets story. guess what? there’s a twist:

my tailor went missing in action.

with my gorgeous, rusty red kain songket.

and mama kraken’s $300.

we had already passed to him our kain songket and measurements back in Apr 2014, and the plan was to visit him in Feb for final fitting. my mum had also passed her kain for her baju mak pengantin later towards end 2014. in Jan, he first messaged my mum to confirm our trip, and to update that ninja groom’s baju dah siap. then, he messaged again to say that he was facing an emergency, and that he needed 3 million rupiah (about $300). he said that if my mum was able to help him, he would deduct from the duit upah that we needed to pay him anyway. so mama kraken agreed to transfer the money.

after that, he disappeared. in the days leading up to our trip, mama kraken was trying to get in touch with him to confirm that we’ll be meeting him etc. our tailor keeps changing numbers so it was frustrating for her to try contact the right number. she was really stressed about it, repeatedly sighing to herself at home, and saying her dua out loud for Allah swt to let us find him in Bandung. for some reason though, I was calm about it. I told mama kraken that plan B is to just rent from my mak andam the songket outfit (lor). I think it was good to not join my mum in getting stressed, or both of us would just be feeding off each other’s despair and playing victim and getting more upset. macam tak productive ah.

on the morning before we flew off, we got confirmation that our tailor had indeed disappeared. our relative who lives in Bandung had helped to look for him at home, but the house was empty and advertised for sale. when he called the number listed in the ad, it turned out to be the tailor’s recently divorced wife, who also didn’t know about his whereabouts.

when mama kraken broke this news to me, she was calm about it. I think she redha already. I thought it was admirable that she was gracious about it, saying that she sedekah the money to the tailor and that she hopes the money helped lift him from the difficult times that he was facing at that time. ma shaa Allah :’)

and then we flew to Bandung over the CNY weekend

the story didn’t just end there. when we reached Bandung, our first destination was the tailor’s house. I turned to my mum and asked “why are we going there eh?” she said “ye tak ye eh” and turned to our relative and asked why we were headed there -__- but anyway it was decided that since we’re there, we’ll just check it out.

so it was empty, as expected. and here’s where the taichi started. we called ex-wife again to tell her that we reaaaaally only wanted our kain back. she insisted it was not with her, and gave us the tailor’s sister’s number for us to try see if she knows his whereabouts. called sister who said she’s not heard from tailor, and that we should check with ex-wife cos they are still in contact. we also chatted with the neighbours, who threw in more leads (gossip) which confused us further.

the next day, my mum made friends with a makcik at the surau, who suggested she makes a police report against the tailor. so we called the ex-wife to threaten that we’ll report this matter to police — since we have black and white proof of the bank transfer –if the tailor doesn’t return our cloth by the next day. then we also called the sister to relay the same message since we dunno who’s telling the truth. then the two ladies spoke to each other since their words crossed.

only then did things move. ex-wife said oh, kraken’s cloth is with tailor’s friend. I can meet you at outlet mall X and pass it to you. we rushed to said place and waited for a bit, only for her to say that she’ll drop the cloth at my relative’s house the next morning instead. all this time, mama kraken was really hoping her cloth would be found. between two of us, think she wanted her kain more than I did. for me, I gave up already. but for her, she kept saying she “terbayang-bayang” nak kain dia. and how she bought similar cloths for her orang kuat, and the irony is that they will get to wear their kain but she won’t get to wear matching with them. we had already bought her new, nicer kain lace on our first day in Bandung to make a replacement baju tapi nak jugakkk yang hilang tu. (side note: my sis and I don’t quite like the kain that went lost. we’re not sure why mama kraken loves it sooo much :p)

alhamdulilah, ex-wife did return my gorgeous, rusty red kain songket the next morning as promised. she also gave us her side of the story. she brought other kain, but alas, it was not mama kraken’s one. (“baju tu macam untuk dangdut aje,” she told us later privately)

also, ninja groom’s baju was cut but NOT sewn. haish. my share of the kain songket was not cut yet and can be salvaged to turn it into a baju kurung, but his is burnt ah.

so yeah, that’s the end of my tailoring my own songkets story. sayang eh? from two to one to zero… I always imagined coming back from my Bandung trip with exciting pics to share. but I guess it was not meant to be. what a harrowing experience… but at least we tried our best. makes for good wedding drama about 2.5 months to the day, heh.

tapi takpe lah, in shaa Allah with difficulty there is relief 🙂

what to do when you lose money in wedding planning

know that you’re not alone. and that lots of BTBs have lost our deposits, either because they found better deals elsewhere; or it turns out their vendors cannot be trusted; or like mine, disappear. of course we try our best to prevent such things from happening, but once it has already happened, try your best to keep calm and know that sometimes external circumstances are beyond our control. maybe it’s a test from Allah swt. or sometimes He takes away our worldly possessions to help cleanse our wealth, and so that He can replace it with something much, much better. Wallahualam. have faith, and keep strong! 🙂 though I know it’s easier said than done…

and now I wait for my mak andam to contact me on my outfit selection. sigh. feel like asking them again when’s my turn but I don’t want to be *that* bride. hopefully everything goes smoothly, in shaa Allah. ❤

what time is it? it’s tanjak time!

alright, so to continue the updates on tailoring my own songket, ninja groom’s tanjak (headgear) has been sent to the tailor! i was in KL over the weekend, so i brought the little square-ish shaped cloth to the same shop where we bought the kain from, to have the tanjak made.

for some reason, i recall there being lots of types of tanjak-s during our first visit to the shop. however, when i was back there again, i realised there were only two types of folds/designs among the many displayed. it’s just that the shop displayed tanjak-s in many different colours which is maybe why it looked like there were so many different options to choose from. chet! cheat my feelings.

so the two options i had were: tanjak negeri sembilan (the common one in Singapore, i thiiink?) and tanjak negeri selangor (if i heard the guy right!!!).

tanjak negeri sembilan, also known as Destar Dendam Tak Sudah (not kidding! nama best eh?) (source: mutaqinqubra96)

tanjak negeri selangor, also known as Tengkolok Belalai Gajah (source: mutaqinqubra96)

[note: tanjak, tengkolok, and destar are the same things. something new learnt!]

i was quoted RM50 for Dendam Tak Sudah (switched to its precise name since it’s so much cooler) and RM80 for Belalai Gajah. see the thing is that the height difference between ninja groom and me isn’t that big. but i mentel, insist on wearing heels. so i thought of going for the latter so that it would give him a lil height booster, lulz. also, to me it was something different, and you know how we mentel BTBs just want to do something different sometimes.

however my two shopping partners, one of which was my 7 year old niece, preferred Dendam Tak Sudah so i went with that instead. it takes only 3 working days for it to be ready but alas my trip wasn’t long enough, so i think we’ll probably collect it in Feb/Mar, insyaAllah.

i was supposed to also get the shop to make his bengkung but unfortch i think we had accidentally passed the bengkung cloth to Upik, so we’ll have to figure something else for that.

if anyone’s interested in the shop, the address is below. it’s in Plaza City One (a small mall), down the street from Semua House in Masjid India 🙂

Mina Enterprises (M) Sdn Bhd
No G5, Plaza City One, Jalan Munshi Abdullah
50100 Kuala Lumpur

while i was googling for tanjak pics, i learnt that there are so many other types of tanjak-s, and that there are specialised tanjak-makers out there. if i had a kampong or ancestors in Malaysia, i would have followed my raja’s style just for the fun of it. but my family doesn’t have ties to any Malaysian kampong, only an Indonesian one, so i don’t feel any motivation to follow a particular state. sayang!

further reading

also, if anyone’s interested to read up or see see pics of the different types of tanjak-s, here are three educational blog posts that i found:
1. Saudagar Tekua – Jenis-jenis Ikatan Tanjak, Destar, Tengkolok
2. mutaqinqubra96 – Tengkolok Raja2 Melayu
3. Mimbarkata – Jejak dan Warisan: Tanjak Melayu


bridal packages: the one thing I wish I had known…

hola! after our wedding got changed to a one day plan, I contacted ishQ to update them and try to sort out the new packages. unfortch kak nora thought my questions on packaging and pricing were complicated so I decided to slash my hopes of tailoring two baju + wearing one of hers, and instead just tailor one baju + wear two of hers. also cos when I booked her back in Feb 2014, I had signed up for a two outfit package. so I guess I’ll just stick to it 😦

I’m also thinking of getting my makeup reapplied from scratch before ninja groom’s evening reception, but I didn’t manage to confirm how much that would cost. will just sort this out nearer to May 2015 then. for now, my bridal budget includes money for these extras so I won’t feel any pinches later. I just hope that ishQ will be flexible and understanding when it comes to amending details of my package. shrug.

songkets shmongkets

so the next problem is that my tailor is holding on to my blue kain songket, which I realised I liked less than my red kain songket. when we were buying the kain, mama kraken and ninja groom both commented the shade of red is kinda different. plus it’s a songket tabuh which the sales kakak said isn’t common in singapore. (is this true? idk)

unfortch my tailor has even completed ninja groom’s baju, heh. I would prefer to wear the red songket but now that he’s halfway done with the blue one, I don’t know whether to just try to salvage the situation by passing him the red songket at the next opportunity (he’s in Bandung, but I have a cousin who travels there somewhat often) or just… settle on wearing the blue songket. haiz. I’ve discussed this with mama kraken but maybe I should just take over the comms with the tailor rather than expect my mum to help me do it. this is probably the least of her priorities.

and then also there’s the question of what’s going to happen to the extra kain… urgh. I’m reminded again about how I should NOT have been greedy / indecisive to have bought two colours and just stuck to one 😦 kan senang. although if I had done that, I probably would have signed up for a 3 package outfit with ishQ back in Feb… so ok lah, seems like I would have lost out one way or the other.

perhaps a lesson to newer BTBs is to sign up for the lowest bridal package when you first book, cos it’s always easier to upgrade than downgrade. the most important thing is to secure the MUA’s commitment on your wedding date. all these nitty gritty like how many outfits, designer outfits, accessories, extra hours, re-application of makeup can be settled later. howells, if only I had had the foresight! 😦 don’t repeat my mistake k.

on a happier note

pleased to report that ninja groom has gone ahead of me to draw up his invitation list — all 217 of them. plus ones included. assuming I got the number right lah. from the start, my interest in our wedding is like 100x of his, so when he shows some sliver of enthusiasm on wedding stuff, this kraken feels a burst of fireworks inside her heart. makes me feel like I’m not the only one between the two of us to get married, y’know?

the songket plan has to change

no relationship is perfect, and that includes the one with our KL tailor. sigh. mama kraken hasn’t been too impressed with the way our tailor has been handling our hari raya orders (which we sent way back in feb!) so she’s like “dah lah, tak nak hantar baju kat dier lagi.” and this includes my second songket which i was planning to make a kebaya pahang…!

here’s what i think my options are:

1) send both baju to upik

pros: more mileage out of my air ticket to bandung, so to speak. also he tailors men’s baju too, whereas our KL tailor doesn’t. so we would have had to send ninja groom’s songket to a different tailor, which would be more coordination.

cons: upik sometimes mixes up measurements too, eeps. also once mama kraken mentioned that if i want kebaya pahang, i should approach a malaysian tailor cos they would know the pattern best.

2) sell one kain songket i.e. tailor only one baju, then take another outfit with bridal co

pros: will be easier and cheaper, plus ishQ does have some nice songkets.

cons: mana nak jual, and siapa nak beli? and i guess with renting songkets, there’s no being creative in customising the cut i want.

so how now brown cow?

mama kraken is leaning towards option 1), but let’s see how. am thinking of maybe cutting my losses and going with 2), and then learning my lesson on not being greedy and just picking one colour. and also because i recently looked at the blue songket i bought, put it against my face and thought… what the hell was i thinking??

but anyways, here’s some songket outfits that i found + love. the first 3 pics were cut out from the May issues of either inspirasi perkahwinan or pesona pengantin — unfortch i don’t remember! and the rest are from ishQ by nora zee’s FB. i would stalk other bridal co’s songkets too but i think i should save myself from potential heartache and dissonance 🙂

royal blue songket kebaya pahang wow i super love the cutting and the beadwork, espesh along the hems. not a fan of the collar though!

blue songket with nice beadwork thought the beadwork one this one was pretty damn luxurious… looks like they were painstakingly handsewn on! 😮 sometimes i think the advantage bridal cos have is that they can invest in the workmanship, whereas it’s less justifiable for me to spend so much on the embellishments without the guarantee i can get returns on my investment 😦

songket terengganu dress

wahhh… this is a first. haven’t seen any local bridal companies using songket terengganu (though it’s also not like i have been observing songket pengantin trends for long) well it’s too late for me since i already bought my songkets, but still thought it’s worth clipping 🙂

ishQ gold green songket ishQ gold green songket outfit  oh WOW what can i say… my love for this colour combi reaches into the deep parts of my heart. haha ok i exaggerate but really. WOW. WAU. WOW. the person who put this outfit together was so full of smart and flair. i like.

ishQ emerald green songket

once in KL we saw this gorgeous emerald green songket kebaya pahang on display. it’s been on my mind ever since. so this outfit reminds me of that. love the train though i don’t trust myself to walk with them (i often miss a step while walking normally. in flats.)

oh ya this pic is by azfian anuar photography. met him before at a neighbour’s wedding, nice guy 🙂

ishQ dark blue songket kebayadark blue songkets seem to be popular but i can see why. maybe they suit asian skintones well, i dunno.  love this too, but also cos it doesn’t have the traditional belt, which i think i can’t pull off. just my gut feeling.

tailoring my own songkets: part 2

heads up to fellow BTBs who plan to tailor your own outfits — figuring out bridal packages could be one messy affair.

veteran bridal houses like fatimah mohsin makes the calculations less complicated… they simply charge a premium on top of their packages for each of your own outfits you wear. easy to understand, but feels expensive.

with versari ade and ishQ, it’s less straightforward, but still workable. you pick your basic package based on the outfits you need to rent, and then you top up roughly $150 to borrow their accessories (unless you intend to buy your own costume jewellery to match your outfits), and then you also top up for extra hours if needed.

the rep for VA was very patient with me as we tried to work out the details. my situation is more complicated because insyaAllah my wedding will be a two day event (sat: nikah and bride’s reception, sun: groom’s reception). if I recall correctly, VA has a policy where you can’t get mak andam services alone. meaning to say that I would need to rent at least one outfit from them for Saturday and Sunday each, in order to get their mak andam. because I want to tailor two songkets, this means that I would need to have 4 outfits: nikah, Sat sanding, Sun sanding 1, Sun sanding 2.

not that’s it’s a bad situation, just that initially I was considering just having 3 outfits.

back to the VA rep, we based our calculations on a 2-outfit package, then added two sets of accessories rental, and extra hours because my 2-day reception is definitely longer than what they provide in their package. with ishQ, it was a similar “formula” / pricing structure. and in both cases, it seemed like I only had to pay extra $100-$200 to rent a fifth outfit, by opting for the 3-outfit package instead and adding the extra accessories (no need to top up as many hours).

but kak nora said 1 sanding outfit after my nikah is just nice so that we don’t have to rush so much. so 4 outfits it is.


all in all, my bridal package combined with expected tailoring costs is higher than I initially budgeted. especially if i’m going to be mentel and top up for a designer outfit with ishQ (helloooo syomir izwa). I suppose one way to make tailoring your own outfits more budget-friendly is to hire a freelance make up artist instead. hopefully one who has accessories, else you’d have to buy your own or do without, if you don’t mind.

the other strategy, which I’m striving for, is to sell the outfits to a mak andam/bridal house after my wedding, to help recover costs. this one is a risk though, I’m not sure how easy or difficult it will be. and already it influences the type of baju I will tailor e.g. I ruled out tailoring a maxi dress cos it’s less versatile once it’s customised to my measurements, and I’m still mulling over lined sleeves as I plan to use lace. lined sleeves would be convenient for me, but could have less resale value because it’s less versatile, i dunno.

*insert hoobastank song And The Reason is Youuu…*

despite the higher costs and effort that will go into tailoring my own outfits, I’m still going ahead because I thought it would be a fun thing to do with my mum. we’ve been tailoring our baju raya-s, so this would be taking it to a new level. I just hope Nov-Dec 2014 will be manageable insyaAllah, cos it’s gonna be crunch time. invitation cards designing and printing for me, berkat hunting for her, tailoring baju for us. ganbatte!

now we rilek aje.

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!

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

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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 🙂