Realising a tailor-made dream

Rokiah Mahmud

Becoming a full-time housewife does not mean you have to stay home all the time, doing chores like cleaning the house and taking care of the children.

Nowadays, housewives can generate income from home and become entrepreneurs while shouldering responsibilities.

Driven by their passion in dress-making, four entrepreneurs who also juggle their roles as housewives opened the 1K1P Tailoring Shop at the Kampong Mentiri National Housing Scheme (RPN)Community Hall.

For Hajah Wati binti Haji Kipli, Siti Salbiah binti Haji Osman, Halina and Saliah, their dreams to open a dressmaking and tailoring shop unexpectedly became reality after they were offered the opportunity by the Community and Communication Bureau of the RPN Kampong Panchor Mengkubau Village Consultative Council (MPK).

The opportunity united the housewives who share the same passion.

In an interview with the Bulletin, the leader of the team Hajah Wati explained that when they received the offer, it was a golden opportunity to venture into the business world.

The opening of the tailoring shop was also supported by the Brunei-Muara District Office.

“I am grateful for the opportunities. The trust that has been given makes us want to prove that locals can also run a tailoring shop,” she said.

Team leader Hajah Wati binti Haji Kipli. PHOTOS: AZIZ IDRIS
Team member Saliah

“We are honoured that the Brunei-Muara District Office provides strong support for us to run the shop. They provided us funds to purchase sewing machines and equipment.”

Hajah Wati ventured into dress-making, fashion and design for over 10 years.

It took her several years to master and understand pattern-making, cutting fabric, adjusting measurements as well as polishing her skills.

“The opening of 1K1P Tailoring Shop will enhance our sewing techniques,” she said. “The shop is still new, so we are slowly receiving customers’ orders. Hopefully more people will come to the shop to tailor dresses.

“When I started, the techniques I learnt were not as easy as today. I learnt from many teachers with vast experience in the fashion and design world.

“I also told myself not to give up as the learning process takes time.”

Hajah Wati learnt to sew in 2001, taking the fashion and design course, one of the programmes at the Continuing Education and Training under the Institute of Brunei Technical Education (IBTE CET) at the Ministry of Education (MoE).

After several years, she was offered the opportunity to train those interested in taking the fashion and design course at the centre in 2007.

On the challenges she experienced as a teacher at the centre, she noted that students were often scared to cut the fabric, take measurements or get distracted and accidently sew the fabric incorrectly.

However, the incidents would only occur at the beginning of the course.

As they continued, they gained confidence and completed sewing dresses.

“We need to continuously encourage them to pursue their interests even when some students want to give up.

“As a teacher, it is my responsibility to guide them until they have the confidence to do the assigned tasks,” she said.

Meanwhile, team member Siti Salbiah said she had a passion for dress-making since she was a teenager, and took several sewing and tailoring courses at IBTE CET as well as private classes. Being a full-time housewife did not hinder from polishing her skills.

Apart from sewing modern dresses, she can also sew bags, shawls, and men’s and ladies’ wear.

Alhamdulillah, I am where I am today with the support of my family, friends and encouragement from my teachers,” she said.

On balancing house chores and meeting customers’ orders, Siti Salbiah explained that one needs to be systematic.

“We cannot juggle here and there. We must set a time for every task,” she said. “My children are already grown-up. They can help me with house chores.

“Before I go to our tailor shop which opens at 9am, I make sure the tasks at home are done,” she said.

“I cook lunch before going to the shop. I pick up my children from school at noon and then set off again by the afternoon.

“If you love what you’re doing, you will not complain,” she said. “It is very satisfying when you finish sewing a customer’s dress. Your hard work pays off.

“I can help my husband generate income for our family without depending on others,” she said.

Team members Halina and Saliah added that even though sometimes they feel tired juggling their roles as housewives and entrepreneurs, they love what they are doing.

“It is seldom we can see locals running a tailoring shop. So we hope people will support our efforts,” they said.