Newsletter 34 - March-May 2004

1. news
2. new web links
3. looking for help (1): langotti and kowpeenam or konakam
4. looking for help (2): sampot
5. answer: “Chameleon”
6. new batch of 9-yard saris for sale
7. sari styles for all seasons - reply
8. “postcard” from a trip to Madagascar, Somalia, etc.
9. a personal note from Chantal

1. NEWS:

*** URGENT: does anyone in London know about Turkish turbans? If so please call Chantal (UK: 020 87 35 98 51) for more information.

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


Thank to all of you who contributed to a new web links.

To download an “Acrobat PDF” file with beautifully made instructions on how to wear a “Lawrence of Arabia” kind of turban:
The file is also available in the “Files” section of our YahooGroup.

The web site:
... which is dedicated to belly dancing, has changed. The link to the “how to wrap a turban” is now:

We received this Email from David C Fantone. Can anyone help?

“can you help me with a project. i am looking for any information or photographs  you might have on the subject of :
langotti and kowpeenam or konakam
thank you”
(Please reply to: < > and <> )


“While I was in Cambodia last December I admired the way the traditional dancers wrap their "sampot" (khmer sarong). It forms some kind of pants that looked very practical and were very pretty.
It looks different than the Indian dothi as both sides are identical. I'd like to know more about it and to learn how to wear it this way.
I also enjoyed looking at all the creative ways Cambodians wore their "kramas" (a krama is a large chequered scarf, used as headdress, shawl, towel,...).
Could some Khmer friends help us and share some of their knowledge and creativity?
Thank you.”

Christine Capelle

PLEASE REPLY TO: <> and <>


“To those interested in the Chameleon:

Heidi Hunt at Mother Earth Magazine (yea Heidi, many thanks and hugs!) went WAY BEYOND the call of duty and snail mailed me a copy of the Chameleon diagram. Here it is, along with Ben Brown's description from his "plea for assistance."

Happy creating!
Cathy Champion”
(PS. Since it is our policy NOT to include attachments with our newsletter, please check the file “chameleon.jpg” in the “Files” section of our yahoogroup. to open it, go to
and you’ll see it.)

Thank you Cathy.


That’s it, I am back from India again. I have bought some 9 yard saris, this time mostly Kanchipuram cotton (which are the best handloom quality), as well as some Bangalore silks (including a really elegant one). To see them, go to:
And click on the “8 and 9 yard saris” button at the bottom.
I have also a few new 6-yard saris which are in the “sari market”.


Patricia C. Vener was very inspired by Rahima (see last newsletter). She sent us a few emails (edited into one contribution):

(About keeping warm in a sari and wearing warm underwear): “Ooh, what a great idea! I don't much care for underskirts. I am wondering how strange a fleece sari would be. I'm thinking of saving up and buying five or six yards of fleece... Now that would be a warm sari! The drapes that cover the head and shoulders would be nice and toasty!

It seems as if we are inspired by each other. Rahima Ali's innovation inspired me to take another look at the Oriya and Bengali saris. This morning I was going an Oriya over trousers (it's very cold today) using what I thought was four yards of a moderately thick cotton cloth. Turns out it's under three yards. So I re-modified and came up with a sarong-Oriya wrap. Or would it be a veshti?

It starts out as for a standard Oriya, held on the right side of the abdomen and wrapped counter-clockwise and then knotted. Again continuing as for the Oriya drape, continue to pull the cloth towards the left across the waist and tuck the upper border. Now fold it back on itself all the way clockwise around the waist. Take the upper corner you are left with, pull out the tucked fold, and tie these together.

The drape is tight at the waist and hips and seems to follow that inward
sloping contour of one's legs down to the floor. But because of the folding backwards, it is loose and easy to walk. It looks sophisticated and beautiful! Even over trousers.


by Subbiah Lakshman

“I just got back last week. The last 3 months I was travelling in Madagascar, Ethiopia and Somalia. I saw that one of your newsletters referred to Madagascar drapes. Unfortunately, I saw that only after I left Madagascar.

The drapes in Madagascar are called lambas. They are generally worn like towels around the waist to carry children or other things.

In Ethiopia, Sudan and Somalia Muslim women wear a half saree drape to cover themselves instead of the Muslim black gown. They are tied in various ways and are very colourful. There are also lots of different head wraps.

If you have not visited these places, I think you might find them very interesting and also they are all ex-French colonies. Let me know if you need more info.”

PS: It is always good to document draped clothes wherever you go. If we don’t make some effort to record and remember, one day all this will be lost.


As I am back into the cold weather I can appreciate that some of you are working on warm clothing... The last two months have been good. There has been some interest in the exhibition, and I have heard from many that interest in draped clothes is picking up (as maybe a small indication, my book has sold very well in January and February). But we are still in need of official recognition and more research needs to be done. Yet there will be no proper research if a university doesn’t put draping techniques on its curriculum.

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 <>.

Newsletter publication dates and deadlines for contributions:
- 1st of June (June-August): deadline for contributions: 15th of May
- 1st of September (September-November): deadline for contributions: 15th of August
- 1st of December (December-February): deadline for contributions: 15th of November
- 1st of March (March-May): deadline for contributions: 15th of February

Institute of Draped Clothes


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