pleats and fabrics

so, i know some of you have been waiting (or maybe that’s just my mom and this girl) so here it is…the beginning of the amazing world of indian fabrics and clothes.

let me start by saying, for an artist, this is a totally inspiring environment.  everywhere you turn amazing colors, beautiful fabrics, and unbelievable architecture abound.  i love this place, with my whole heart.  it engages me in ways no where else on earth does.

when i came before we had a lightening fast lesson on sari wrapping.  to say its an art is an understatement.  and it’s a difficult one at that.  everything must be “just so” or little women will spill out of the woodwork to tug and yank you into the proper form.

it must be worn correctly…or not at all.


i set out on this adventure of practicing tonight because my friend will be gone in the morning to pick up the team that is coming in for the next few weeks and therefore, will not be here to make sure i am properly dressed for church.  i will not disclose how long it took me to put myself together, but i did get it done (after wrapping and re-wrapping…well, more than once).  and here is the result:

     you may or may not know this, but sarees consist of 2 pieces…that’s right, just two (well, 3 i guess, if you count the petticoat).  the shirt or top is barely that, short sleeved and stops just below the bust-line.  the rest is one, gigantic piece of fabric…that’s right…like just open up a bolt and try to tie that into a dress…this is not for the faint of heart my friends.

i have a friend who describes it this way…

you’d never think you would feel so accomplished just for getting yourself dressed, but you do.

anyway, you basically, wrap the skirt twice(not so hard) then you find the end and pleat (def harder than it sounds).  all the pleats have to be just so and they have to hit you at your knee (which is so much harder when you are bigger than the average indian in every way, there is almost a marry poppins reference here, but not quite).  making sure that the top most pleat is a bit wider so that your tummy isn’t just hanging out for the free world to see (single girls don’t show much skin, thank God for that).  then you pin that (it’s called the plue, i don’t know how to spell hindi in english, you’ll just have to use hooked on phonics for that one). then you take the under most pleat (which has to be the top side of what you wrapped or it’s all messed up (are you confused yet).  then you pull that tightly around (remembering to keep it up high in the back, i refer to the previous comment about the skin) to the front.  the you take the pile of fabric in front of you, which is basically the middle, and you pleat that too.  tuck that in the front of your underskirt so as not to step on it and pull it out (by the way, it should be noted here that it has to touch the floor, but you are not to trip on it…seriously, how is this even possible, but i see women do it every day, an art i tell  you, it’s an art).  i left out all the places i super secretly pin so that i look like i know what i’m doing, and then when i do step on it i don’t become…well undressed in public.


so there you have it…my sari 101 for the day.  hopefully i can recreate this tomorrow with no help.  dressing up is a big deal here.  so tomorrow i’ll head to church in my

pleats and fabrics


3 responses to “pleats and fabrics

  • Bethany

    Confusion – check. 😉 You are so incredibly beautiful and so is the fabric!!! 🙂 I am so happy that you got to go and I cannot believe what an amazing opportunity that is! You are so blessed. I’m praying for you!

  • Laurie Maddex

    Laura- Catching up on your journey in India right now…internet is scarce in Ukraine, so haven’t been able to spend much time here. Love the sari photos- so beautiful!

    May you continue to be a blessing to others!!

    • Laura

      awww laurie! so good to hear from you! thanks so much for taking the time to catch up with me. i’ve been praying for you and your family. can’t wait to see you ALL when i get back.

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