Chapter 164 Tailoring
Shang Xin woke up very early the next day and cooked a small pot of sweet porridge.
There were no jujube, lotus seeds or white fungus in the house, so only sugar was put in the porridge. However, they didn’t know if it was because they were in a good mood or whether the food from last night was so bad, that they ate the porridge as if it was a delicacy. Even Shu Huan had eaten two bowls of it.
There were too many things to do, so they didn’t want to waste time. When Shu Huan saw that the sky was brightening, she took Liangchen and Meijing out while leaving Shang Xin at home to watch the house and to cook.
There was an unique silence in the early morning in the alley. Several families had the door of their yard opened halfway. When passing by, they could hear the clashing sound of pots and pans, and the faint, bleary talking voices. There were also maids or married women who came out to throw out the night soil (feces). When they saw that Shu Huan and the others were people they had never seen before, they inevitably slowed down their pace and took a few more looks at them. After they locked eyes with them, they quickly turned their heads away and walked away.
This kind of situation was somewhat unfamiliar to Liangchen and Meijing who had lived in Gu household for so many years. They had long forgotten their life during childhood. Therefore, they looked somewhat curiously around.
Shu Huan also enjoyed such a different experience and she couldn’t help but slow down her pace. After they got out of the alley and saw those stalls selling face wash and all kinds of breakfast, they felt that it was a very fresh experience. As they strolled along the street and finally found a shop selling fabrics, the sun had already risen high.
Clothes were something that needed to be worn every day, so this money couldn’t be skimped. When Shu Huan was choosing the fabric, she didn’t look at those silk satin fabrics and just glanced at those soft and thick fine fabrics. It wasn’t that she found the silk satin expensive, but it was just that those materials couldn’t withstand the twists and turns.
Wearing silk satin fabrics was gorgeous and lively, but that was only when it was new. After wearing it for a few times, it wasn’t durable for a long time and wasn’t beautiful anymore. Moreover, it couldn’t stand the friction between materials. When basking it in the sun to dry, one also had to be extra careful. It was fastidious. Even when wearing it on the body and when sitting down, one had to pay attention to it too, otherwise, there would be tears and creases. She might as well opt for the sturdy and more durable fine fabric clothes. It was also more comfortable to wear.
Liangchen and Meijing were both observant. They saw her (SH) only looking at fine fabrics. So, when they helped with choosing. They also only picked fine fabrics but were somewhat puzzled afterwards. Finally, after they picked out the fabrics and when they were waiting for the worker to cut the fabrics and package it, Meijing whispered, “Miss, why did you pick out several colors that men wear?”
Could it be that she also wanted to make clothes for second young master?!
Shu Huan smiled. She didn’t answer and paid first. Just after leaving the shop, she said, “The four of us are women. It isn’t a problem at home, but it will be inconvenient when going out. We might as well make both male and female clothes.”
She had always felt that men’s clothes from ancient times were also very good-looking. As long as the men weren’t too much of a scum and had a better temperament, they all felt like a gentle and cultivated man in their clothes. Occasionally, women dressed in men’s clothes were also nice ah!
Regarding her (SH) thoughts, Meijing and Liangchen couldn’t be said to support it, but they had seen her (SH) wearing it a few times and felt that there was nothing wrong with it.
After buying the fabrics, one had to make them into clothes. The needlework of the three maids wasn’t particularly good. Therefore, she (SH) simply spent some more money and found a tailoring shop to do it. Her thoughts were very simple, but when she really stood there with the old tailor to determine the style of the clothes and the number of clothes to be made, Shu Huan still got a headache.
It was autumn and soon the weather would be cold. Double-layered clothes had to be made, but cotton-padded coats should also be prepared as soon as possible. In addition, the clothes had to differ between the upper body and the lower body. Within the outerwear, there were the inner garments. There was also the trousers beneath the skirt. After calculating like this, the fabrics they bought weren’t enough. They still needed to go back to the shop to buy more. Finally, it was determined that two robes, two cotton-padded coats needed to be made for each person, as well as male robes and male cotton-padded coats for each person. It was a total of twenty-four sets of clothes!
They were with so many people, so sometimes it was rather troublesome.
Shu Huan was very calm when paying the deposit, but Liangchen was a little uneasy. She said, “Miss, you should make a few more bright-colored clothes for yourself. We as maids don’t need so many.”
“It isn’t that many. There has to be a set to change into,” Shu Huan smiled. “You aren’t planning on washing the clothes that you wore during the day and wear them the day after without waiting for them to dry, right?”
As she (SH) said that, Liangchen remembered her poor family when she was young. It was still fine in summer, but when it was winter, the clothes weren’t easy to dry. There were many times that she had no trousers to wear, so she had to lay on the kang (a heatable brick bed) with a quilt to cover her lower body to prevent embarrassing things from happening while her face couldn’t help but be slightly flushed.
Shu Huan went on to say, “It’s already hard on you (for following her).”
Meijing expression darkened, “It’s you who had suffered.”
When they were at Gu family, although Shu Huan didn’t have as many clothes as Fang shi, there were still several boxes. However, at this moment, there were only enough for a change. When she thought about it, it was really pitiful.
- Shi: clan
Shu Huan didn’t care about this, chuckled and whispered, “It isn’t that I don’t want to make more clothes, but I’m afraid that the old tailor will pull all-nighters and get sick as a result!”
When she (SH) said that, Liangchen and Meijing looked at the busy old tailor who was wiping his sweat and couldn’t help but laugh too.
The price of fine fabric was actually not cheap and with the labor cost of the tailor, they already spent fifteen silver liang on these twenty-four set clothes. Both sides agreed to have the clothes ready after five days.
When the old tailor said so, Meijing was in disbelief. She asked, “How can you do it so fast? Shopkeeper, don’t be in a hurry to get the work done and get sick, and ask us to pay your medical bills afterwards!”
Shu Huan and Liangchen snickered at the side.
After the old tailor heard her, he sweated again and said awkwardly, “Miss, you’re joking. Many people will work on these clothes together, it’s not just only me.”
After Shu Huan heard this, she scanned the shop with her insight of the modern world. The shop was about twenty square meters. It wasn’t big; there were about ten clothes hanging in the shop ready for people to pick up. Only this old tailor was working in the shop. She guessed correctly that it was just a shop for pick up and receiving jobs. In addition, this old tailor was just in charge of measuring the sizes. The place of making clothes must not be here. After this thought emerged, she asked. “Shopkeeper, I want to inquire about something. How much rent do you have to pay for this shop every month?”
After taking this big job, this old tailor seemed to be in a very good mood and answered without much hesitation, “It’s tough times now. Business isn’t easy to do. My shop isn’t big, but I still have to pay five liang a month. In the beginning, I have hired a worker, but to save some money, he was dismissed last month. I just have to work harder and take care of a few more apprentices by myself to earn a meal.”
Shu Huan weighted the choices in her heart. That shop of hers that was located in a good location was much bigger than here and was also located on the main street. If she wanted to rent it out, a rent of ten liang a month was inevitable. If they spent the money more thriftily, maybe they didn’t have to worry about their living expenses and didn’t need to use those banknotes.
When she thought about it, she got an idea and asked the tailor, “What is the character of the man you used to hire and does he have a new job already?
The old tailor was stunned and looked her up and down. He asked, “Why, miss wants to hire someone?”
“Yes!” Shu Huan smiled. “I want to hire one. He doesn’t have to be smart but needs to be honest and kind.
Old tailor nodded and said, “If you want to ask about the man I have hired, he’s not bad. It’s just that he doesn’t talk much and not very good at attracting customers. If you want an honest one, then he’s appropriate.”
“Well, I know the man’s address. I will ask him later for you if he has gotten any job now. I will tell you when you come to pick up the clothes.”
Shu Huan was immediately happy, hurriedly thanked him and chatted some more with him. After she saw that he had a new customer coming, she bid him farewell.