Newsletter 24 - February 2002

1. news
2. the Web Library...
3. draped Clothes for Pregnancy and Beyond
4. a fashion designer from Croatia wants to create draped clothes
5. saris featured in a teens magazine
6. a personal note from Chantal

1. NEWS:

*** Some new 6-yard saris have been added to the page:

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


We have added more links to the Web Library, suggested by some of you (Thank you!). If you are interested, please check them: there are some new sites on turbans and one on a fascinating Algerian drape.

We sometimes get emails from IDC members or people just browsing interested on how to wear a sari or a turban, etc. To answer all these emails, I point out that we have a “Web Library” on our web site. If the links provided don’t answer the question, anyone is free to put it on this newsletter. This is in essence what I emailed to Mrs. Kenning when she asked about turbans. I would like to share with you all her reply:

“Your site is turning out to be a gold mine for my researches--and the
material on turbans was all helpful. Have been looking for this sort of
information for so long--now everywhere some luckless soul sits still too long, I'm going to practice on them......not to mention myself, husband and son. (He already looks pretty dashing, but with a turban? There's no way girls will be able to resist....)
Will try this first, and if I still have trouble, will take advantage of
your offer to ask others.”

So please remember:
- We do provide links to all the web sites about draping we know of. Please keep in mind that you are most welcome to suggest more sites. In fact, it is thanks to all of you who participated and suggested sites that our Web Library is so interesting!
These web sites are also in the “bookmark” section of our yahoo egroup. They are arranged a bit differently since it was another helpful member who started putting links there.
- If you have a question you can always submit it in this newsletter.
Direct link to the Web Library:

By Radha Narasimhan

When I learned I was expecting my son I already had a large collection of saris. I had gathered many over the years both because I love the garment and as an American who adopted the Hindu faith as her religion. I needed them for temple attire. I was pleased not to have to go out and purchase an entire wardrobe of Western pregnancy clothes as the baby grew. Saris fit all sizes and mines looked beautiful on me until the end of the pregnancy. They were also very nice for after the birth during the months when I got back to pre-pregnancy weight. My beautiful wedding sari that I wore when I was a tiny 100 lbs years ago when I got married could still be worn when I was nine months pregnant and looked fabulous! In addition, they are also great for the mother who breast feeds as the sari pallu can be pulled over the front to conceal the child and breast. Breast feeding can be discreet even when you don't have privacy. I also wore many sarongs during pregnancy for casual wear or when it was too warm for a sari. Again sarongs fit all sizes and can be worn before, during and after pregnancy. As a stay at home Mom, I often look for ways to conserve money and this certainly was a great one for me. No special new clothes were purchased except the sari blouses which can be restitched to fit or saved for the next pregnancy.

If you do choose to wear saris during pregnancy be prepared to buy or have some blouses sewn that are larger so they will fit as you gain weight. The new stretchy blouses are great for this. Saris are usually worn with a tight, short choli (blouse) but you can also wear them any variety of tops such as a sweater during the winter months or a loose, cotton kurta top. During the last trimester, my favorite way to tie the sari was they way Gujarati ladies do with the pallu over the chest.

Another item that I discovered while expecting was baby slings. I did a lot of research on baby carriers and eventually decided on the sewn cloth slings variety such as NoJo or Over the Shoulder Baby Holder. I had read that the traditional baby slings that are used in India, Mexico, and many other parts of the world are just a simple unsewn piece of cloth. After a great deal of searching, I obtained a Mexican rebozo shawl which is part of traditional ladies’ dress in Mexico and is also used to carry infants. After practice, this simple unsewn sling was my favorite as it was easier to tie on and off. It also had long fringed ends that could shade the baby in the sun or provide a cover for breast feeding. The fringe also made it look more decorative and ethnic than the other slings with plastic loops. Because it was a rectangle of cloth, it could double as baby blanket, shawl, or any variety of things. I had a wonderful old silk sari that had been torn. I cut this sari in half and had material for a sarong and a baby sling/shawl that was a matching set. After my son was born I passed this matching set onto a pregnant friend who worried about having something fancy enough for a holiday party.

I think saris and other draped clothes are an excellent gift, ideals for any woman expecting a child. Their simple elegant style will make all Moms look and feel like a Goddess. And best of all, she will still wear them after the birth, and they can be worn many years. 

(Carrying infants in unstitched slings is a learned skill so you will need to practice and experiment to get to as good with unsewn slings as I did. You will need a strong material for the sling so it doesn't rip or tear allowing the baby to accidentally fall out. Also you must make sure you tie knots securely so they don't come loose!)


Maja Mendrilla, IDC member from Croatia who is a young fashion designer, recently visited London to introduce herself and her work. She has made several fashion and sari shows in Croatia and dreams of designing draped clothes. Needless to say, we got on very well and share the same dream of having draped clothes at the London Fashion Week (one day!).

Until then, she had only known two sari drapes (modern and Gujarati), but will now study all the styles and hopefully use these techniques to create her own. She will keep us informed of her work.

P.S. If you too design draped clothes, please let us know!


The teen magazine “Mary-Kate and Ashley magazine” featured saris in their August/September 2001 edition. It had some very basic instructions and the article was perhaps one of the worst I have read on India and saris (“why do women still wear saris: because India hasn’t changed its social and religious culture for 4000 years”!). I hope that someone responded to it! Anyway. It did mention, however, that sari styles changed according to region and were a sign of creativity and individuality...


I hope you have a great holiday time and wish you all the best for this New Year. I hope that there will be new developments in 2002 and that awareness of draped clothes will improve.
If you have tried to go on Shaktipress web site and were not successful, there was a reason: my ISP wiped out all the pages by mistake! I didn’t notice it until an IDC member pointed it out to me (thank you!). Now the web site is back online and working.
Please keep on sending contributions to this newsletter and the Web Library. IDC is alive thanks to you!

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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