Newsletter 22 - November 2001

1. news
2. fashion wraps
3. discovering the Indian veshti
4. featured in “Sahda”
5. saris for sale
6. interesting link
7. a personal note from Chantal

1. NEWS:

*** If you know or participate in an event, web site, etc. connected with draping, please let us know. This “news” feature is yours!


IDC member Dominic Brown has sent us an article from a recent issue of “Georgia Straight”, a Vancouver entertainment magazine. Called “Staples Goes Wrap’n’Roll”, it discusses the work of designer Kathleen Staples, who created a series of... draped clothes!
Staples is quoted saying: “I love them [silk wrap skirts] because they’re very flattering to an uneven figure. Wind it around you, tie it in a knot, and if you’ve already got your silk leggings and top on, you’re ready to roll.”
... the writer of the article comments: “her version of a skirt is an uptown take on a sarong, with the sculptural appeal of Greek statues.”
You can check her web site:

By Peter Maloney

I visited India for the first time for a two week holiday in September of this year. I spent all of this time in the south eastern state of Tamil Nadu.

As I knew that the weather would be very hot I was expecting to wear shorts every day. I had no sooner landed when I was given a present of three white cotton veshtis. The veshti is the traditional dress for men in the area . It is usually four yards (or eight yards when doubled) of white cotton that is worn around the waist. As I had never worn one before I had some fun trying to work out how to put one on. Anyway, I pulled it very tightly across my 32 inch waist and tucked it in on the left hand side. When it became loose I asked my driver to help me out. He had the good sense (and expertise) to roll the top of the veshti down over the folds so that it was more securely held in place.

I wore a veshti on every day of my trip. It took me a little time to confidently tie it securely. I did have the occasional embarrassment of having to hold it together by hand while in a shop until I got outside to adjust its tightness. Almost everywhere I went I was complimented. Men would come up and shake my hand , giving me the diving OK sign with their hand or shouting out “super”.

My most embarrassing moment came in the grounds of the temple in Tanjore with a family who asked to be photographed with us. We were seated on the grass at the time. The guy taking the photo was waving his hand sideways to me. I assumed that he wanted me to bunch up closer with the group. I was very embarrassed (but a little amused) when he asked me to pull the veshti over my legs as my underwear was about to be photographed in all its glory.

While I prefer the veshti (because of it plain colour and greater flexibility) I did occasionally wear a lungi. It is usually very colourful and is the same length than a veshti but is stitched together at the ends. It feels like you are hopping into a sack . It is deemed to be casual dress. Some temples do not allow visitors to enter if they are wearing lungis.

While the veshti and lungi usually run from the waist to your feet , I really love the flexibility where you can pull the bottom part up and tuck it into your waist . I noticed that most men did this, particularly when they were walking or cycling. It was almost certainly a necessity when walking through a muddy or flooded street or during a very hot day.

By the end of the trip I received about ten veshtis and lungis as presents. I have a beautiful silk veshti which I am looking forward to wearing at a special function. Now that I am back in London I eagerly looking forward to such an occasion where I can surprise my friends in my new ‘dress’.


IDC’s press release and some drawings were featured in “Sahda” in August. Sahda is the newsletter of the Middle Eastern Dance Association.
If you are interested by this newsletter or association, check the web site:
Or Email to:


Well, I am back from India where I spend most of the beginning of my trip buying and sending saris! I have brought back a few more, mostly 9-yards but also some exceptional 6-yard saris, and one totally beautiful 8-yard. If you are interested, please have a look at this web page:
There is a need for odd-length and 6-yard good quality cotton saris, as well as for traditional textiles which are not “fashionable” enough for Indian stores. I will try my best to address this need.
If you have some saris for sale, do not hesitate to let me know at:
You too can post saris on this web page, and this is free for IDC members.


* The link to had already been suggested to us in the past, but here is an interesting comment about it:
“I would like to recommend as a site of interest to members. They publish Folkwear Patterns. They include a pattern for the blouse worn under saris as well as a blouse pattern with instructions for tying sarongs, etc. They also have some garments that are sort of "transitional" between wrapped clothes and stitched and fitted clothes, such as the burnoose.” Susan May Pelto.


Peter and I are now back from India, where we were so popular because of our clothing! It was a great trip, but unfortunately we saw that more and more youngsters do not even know how to wear traditional draped clothes! If by any chance you want to see the pictures of our trip, go to:

Meanwhile, our membership has continued to rise quietly, and significantly. Some new projects are on their way and I am confident that I’ll soon have some great news...

Thank you for your help and support.

Best wishes!

Please do not hesitate to send any question, suggestion, criticism.
If you have some links to suggest, please let us know!
If you wish to write something for the newsletter, please do so and Email it to <>.

Institute of Draped Clothes


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