Monday, February 6, 2012

Material Girl

We are living in a material world, my friends.  So when I was making out my lists of "must buys" for my India trip, material was at the top of the list.  I've bought some beautiful silks before, but I was looking for textiles with patterns.  Unfortunately, while I was in Surat - the textile capital of India - I did not get a chance to visit the factory there, but it is definitely on my list the next time I go to Gujarat.  However, just walking into a sari matching store is a treat for the eyes.

Most people don't know that when you buy a sari in India, that there is quite a bit of legwork involved.  First, you buy the sari.  The fabric for the blouse is usually attached to the sari so the store will cut the blouse off for you and keep the sari to add the "fall."  The fall is a length of fabric that usually matches the sari in color that is sewn onto the bottom inside edge of a sari.  It adds weight to the sari to help the sari fall well once it is draped around you.  When you buy saris here in the states, they usually have this already stitched on them.  In India, they typically do not.

So, you have to get the fabric for your blouse cut from the sari - which may take a few minutes or you may have to wait for a couple of days to pick up.  Next, you take your blouse to a sari matching store, like store pictured here.  This is for the lining for your blouse.  The man above was actually getting something matched when I snapped the pic. 

You may also purchase a ready made petticoat here (the third step) at the sari matching store, or you can buy the fabric for your petticoat here to have one stitched.  Pictured above are all the ready made petticoats that this store was selling.  A petticoat is a long flared draw-string skirt that is worn under your sari to give it shape and to act as a slip for thinner saris.  The sari is tucked into this petticoat at the waist and the remainder of the sari is draped and pleated around you and then over your shoulder. 

The fourth step is dropping off your blouse, the lining and or the petticoat fabric to a tailor to have a blouse stitched.  It may take up to 2 weeks to get your blouse back, depending on how busy your tailor is and how accurately it was made.  Often times you have to go back several times to get it to fit just right, but typically if it's just a blouse, the adjustments are minor and don't take as long.

The final step is going back to the store to pick up your sari with the fall stitched in. So basically, it is not just like walking into Nordstrom and picking out a dress.  However, the process is fun for me because I get to stare at all these lovely fabrics and colors.


Look how amazing these fabrics and colors are!  This was a vendor that had a small stall in a market. I've seen some of these fabrics here selling for up to $25 a yard.  There?  About $4-5 dollars. 

I got some gold blouses stitched for my friends at the stall above.  Just his little store had 5 different gold fabrics to choose from.  I kind of died and went to heaven.  Yes, my friends, I am definitely a material girl....


Anita said...

OMG. Madge would approve. You should write a wiki page on saris!! "Sari Expert" will now be added to your C.V. I keep in my head! :-)

pintobean said...

Ha. No sari expert, just an expert in looking at pretty fabrics. :D