Reader Question: Advice Needed on Sari Pleats

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A reader recently commented with a question on my post Battle of the Sari Bulge and I do not have a good answer for her.  Can any of you experienced sari-pleating readers help her out?

 I am an american married to a Pakistani, and you would think that in over 30 years of marriage I would have worn one many times. But I have not had a sari on for years. Primarily out of avoidance. Sari’s are truly beautiful and a picture of elegance. I have always been fascinated by the gorgeous fabrics, stitching and trims. Yes, I would like to be that girl that wears a sari with confidence, but instead I can completely relate to the woman about the total awkwardness of having someone put a sari on you. I remember feeling soooo American and so clueless waiting for whoever finished dressing themselves to install my sari on me. Once on, I was hyper-aware of it slipping, sitting down, and the little children that wanted to be picked up or sit on my lap. I was just not the picture of confidence. This summer we will be attending our niece’s wedding. I love my husband’s family, and want to dress appropriate to this lovely occasion. As I understand, now, saris can have pre-stitched pleats and very large hooks and eyes to make the wrapping and tucking easier and more secure. I purchased two new saris for the event, neither one has hooks and eyes or pre-stitched pleats. I know how a sari is wrapped, but I have had so little practice in recent years, I would feel so much better knowing I could just wrap and hook for a nice look, and have it stay securely in place, so I could just enjoy the evening. I have not been able to figure out if the hooks and eyes are placed on the sari or petticoat or both. There is a lovely Indian woman where I purchased my saris, her shop also provides a tailor. If I know how a sari is pre-stitched with pleats, and where the hooks and eyes are placed, her shop may be able to sew it for me. I would really appreciate any information. Thanks so much.

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4 thoughts on “Reader Question: Advice Needed on Sari Pleats

  1. First, the saree should be worn with confidence. Don’t be afraid to stand a little taller! It is an elegant garment and you should feel proud to wear it.
    Pin the saree at the pleats and then pin it at the shoulder so that the pallu doesn’t keep falling over. I guarantee that once it’s securely in place, you won’t have any fears at all.
    This is my favorite saree draping video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nb6yrpF_5_0
    You can also see my post here for advice on the pleats: http://madh-mama.blogspot.ca/2013/08/the-saree-i-love-story.html
    Good luck! xo

  2. YouTube has many great sari instructional videos. Practice @ home, & use lots of pins. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. I used one for my wedding & had my husbands friends wives assist me. I agree with A. Madhaven; wear your sari with confidence!

  3. Practice makes it perfect, if you have time wear your saree a little everyday to gain confidence on how to wear it. You don’t really need to stick your folds, it would prevent you from wearing it any other way, or adjust the folds to fit you perfectly, instead use safety pins while draping it, most Indian women rely on these so fear not being strange doing so. The first big safety pin goes to hold all the waist fold into place and you then tuck it into the petticoat and secure with another safety pin to said petticoat, so that stepping on the hem will not cause you to come undone. Then use one small safety pin to secure the pallu to the shoulder. If you plan on pleating the pallu, which for a wedding is not as necessary as for a saree worn for work, you are done. If you plan on doing a neat shoulder pleat the fact that the pallu is already secured to your shoulder will make it easier, you just gently fold the extra fabric over the part that is already in place, one fold at a time, but this look looks better with cotton or silk sarees, if you have a chiffon or embroided chiffon saree, do let the pallu loose instead of folding, the flow of the fabric in this case makes it very elegant, and all you need is to hold the fabric on that arm. There are many videos on YouTube to watch to learn the technique to drape a saree, start practicing several weeks in advance if you can.

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