The Springtime in Bombay Outfit

I have no idea what springtime means in Mumbai. So far, it seems like there are only really three seasons here. Monsoon, slightly cooler handful of days (aka winter), deeply humid sea of time (summer). Right now I’m in the deep humid sea that is the Mumbai summer, but I’m also just a wee bit delusional, and I want to pretend that it is actually spring.

When I went back to the States last month I was so happy to be back in the cold. I know, I know, you are amazed, but seriously, I miss seasons. I miss SEWING for seasons. It’s one of the difficult things for me about living in Mumbai, and of course that means it’s also one of the things that what’s his face likes best, adoring how warm it is while I close my eyes and think about cold rainy days in which I was completely miserable and had wet feet with something like longing.

I like watching the world change and I like watching my wardrobe change with it. I think it goes back to when I was young and I had a subscription to YM Magazine (which I LOVED, by the way, and now that I look back on it it was so sad and anti-feminist and I want to squeeze younger me hard and get her the later subscription to Jane that changed my life sooner. Guys, did you read Jane? Jane was amazing. India needs something for young women that teaches them all the ways they are are okay, just like Jane. India? Get on it.) Anyway, pre-Jane me loved YM, and always stared with rapture at the changing seasons fashion spreads, the plaid schoolgirls skirts and sweaters which were always completely the same in every way. I sometimes think my whole adult life is just about unlearning the lessons of YM and influences like it.

But not that one. I love that 60 degrees in September feels cold and 60 degrees in April feels warm. I love that one inspires the donning of wool and one the discarding of it. I miss that. So despite the fact that Mumbai legit has no Spring, in fact, the one great thing about this sweltering heat is that it kills the winter mosquitos, I am clinging to the concept of spring with both of my nail-bitten little hands and making spring-inspired things. Including this outfit.

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I feel like this would have been a great May outfit in New York. Maybe with a little cardigan? Sigh. But it’s a pretty good Mumbai outfit as well. You can totally see the lines of my bra under this shirt, sigh. OH well!

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The skirt is, believe it or not, and when you see it up close you totally WONT, a Deer and Doe Chardon skirt. This whole outfit is a Deer and Doe special, actually!

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In person you must trust me, the pleats are real pleats. In this photo? They totally look like gathers. Who knows how these things happen?

This time I added the belt loops, and I’m thrilled I did, I love this with a belt.

 

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Can you guess what the shirt is? Can ya? CAN YA?

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Duh, it’s a Plantain. I know there are a lot of knit shirt patterns on the internets now, as opposed to, like, five years ago when there were NONE, but this is my favorite. I live and die by the banana.

The skirt sewed up quickly. As I have been these days, I lengthened the hem. I wouldn’t say it’s a requirement here in Mumbai, but it’s definitely something I’ve been doing a lot that makes things just a little bit more comfortable out on the street. And I spend a lot of time walking around, taking trains, taking rickshaws, so it does sort of make sense.

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Honestly, I could probably do everything knee length or above and live with it here, but I don’t know, somehow living in a more conservative place has always changed my own sense of what is too short and what is the right length. It’s made my other pre-India skirts seem really short, though!

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The shirt is a breeze, as knits and tried and true garments always are. The skirt has pockets, which of course are magnificent.

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A little hand stitched hem for you. I made a nice deep hem for this guy, which is always nice, it gives the hem a little weight, which this light-weight fabric needs! It’s a Rajasthani block print from Kolkata, but not from my favorite market. Still, it’s nice.

The shirt fabric is from Girl Charlee because it’s really hard to find knits here, sigh, so I brought a TON of them back from the US with me. No clothing, just jersey. The customs guys must have laughed and laughed.

So now I’m back in the humid sticky arms of this hot city, dreaming of chilly nights and cherry blossoms. Sigh. Enjoy Spring, people who have it where you live! A luxury I miss…

 

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The Somewhere Columbus is Happy and Doesn’t Know Why Dress

I am sure you, like most people who went to kindergarten, know, that the whole Indians-Native Americans thing exists and is such a damn mess because of Spanish explorers like Christopher Columbus and Portuguese explorers whose names no one remembers after that 11th grade final history exam. Geographically challenged explorers trying to get their hands on some pepper just assumed that the people they met in the New World must be Indians, despite the fact that I’m sure those guys tried to explain that these were NOT THE SAME PEPPERS, IDIOTS. Ugh. Translation issues, am I right? Tower of Babel indeed.

Peter Bruegel the Elder's Tower of Babel. Where all the trouble began....

Peter Bruegel the Elder’s Tower of Babel. Where all the trouble began….

Sidenote, how boring must food have been before the spice trade kicked in? My friend Ben and I (hi, Ben!) were wandering the Brooklyn Museum the other day in the Egyptian wing (I recently visited the States, more on that in a moment, GOD I’ve missed museums, like, really good museums, come on, Indian museums, step it up!)  and we were talking about pre-sugar societies. I think I could do a pre-sugar society, but pre-salt, no way to the Jose. What is life without salt? I’ve read the Grimm tale but it turns out it’s a universal one, check out this Punjabi story on the same theme.  But pre-spice society also sounds fairly lame. No wonder hundreds of Portuguese guys killed themselves trying to navigate the Cape of Good Hope trying to get to that Indian pepper, that ginger, the cardamom, those cloves. In medieval Europe spice stores were locked up and specially opened for feasts. Princesses came to their new households with dowry boxes full of spices as well as gold and silks. Spices changed the world, and if you don’t believe me, you can read about it in this, one of my favorite books on the subject.

So it’s not so surprising that the early Europeans who came to a place like Puerto Rico would have wanted it to be India, because, duh, spices, but it is sort of surprising that when they discovered it WASN’T India they didn’t, I don’t know, find another name for the natives. Oh, well, I guess they didn’t care because they were too depressed about the lack of pepper or too amazed by the taste of peppers. One of those two. So the word in Spanish, indio, still means native person, for no reason anyone can tell, and the West Indies are still a thing, despite the fact that literally the entire New World could be characterized as West of India.

So, end of the day, the Spanish didn’t get to bring any Indian stuff back from Puerto Rico. But I did get to BRING some Indian stuff to Puerto Rico this past March, when I got a chance to stop by San Juan during my trip back to the United States. So, there you go. It’s the circle of life. I really should have gotten some peppercorns to sprinkle around, like you do with malt liquor when a fellow gang-member dies. Instead, I just brought a pretty (if I do say so myself) block printed dress. Ah, well. Close enough, right? If those guys couldn’t figure out that Latin America isn’t India, they probably would buy that this dress was an exotic kind of pepper…

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So, I used my handy bodice block for this one, and I have to say, I think the darts actually did something really cool with these lines of darts on this fabric, I love it! Totally unintentional, but I’m going to pretend it was my idea all along. Natch.

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See? It warps the lines of printing around my (not unsubstantial) bosom, giving it a cool look. I tried to do a split neck thing here but it instead keeps flapping open, grrrrrr. The lining I used, which the smiling men at the fabric stall not too far from my apartment in Mumbai ASSURED me was 100% cotton and is probably like, 10% cotton 80% polyester 10 % LIES, is really light and drapy, so I probably should have interfaced around that slit. Oh WELL. I can live with it. Sigh.

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I drafted the skirt, in that I cut large rectangles and pleated them in large box pleats. Does that count as drafting? I’m going to say no, it’s too fancy a word for what is essentially some fabric folding.

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Yeah, I put in pockets. #Stayingonbrand.

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A little back view for you.

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The fabric is a block print from Rajasthan which I bought in Kolkata. That might sound confusing to you, but go with it. India has large government emporiums where they sell goods from each state at prices subsidized by the government so they are cheap and amazing, and a lot of those goods are, shall we say, of the textile variety? So this fabric came from one of those markets in Kolkata, but it is a Rajasthani bock print, nonetheless. It’s fairly different from the more traditional prints, which is what attracted me to it. That and the color. I should just live my life in this color, I’m telling you.

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Ug, that neck split. WHATEVER. I’m moving on with my life! I’m not going to dwell like the Spanish Empire did! If there is one thing I promised my self I wouldn’t do with my life, it was become like the Spanish Empire.

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A little hand stitching on the hem. I also hand-picked the zipper. I’m back to doing that. After a brief foray with the machine stitching, I’ve returned to my one true love, the hand stitched zipper.

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Neck split aside, I love this dress. It’s colorful, cheerful, and it mentions India without screaming it out. Much as the Spanish probably did when they saw Puerto Rico. Idiotas!

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Here’s to you, Cristobal. Sorry about the pepper. Enjoy the peppers. I will be enjoying this:

 

 

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The Accidental Patriot Outfit

While I generally feel positive about the country of my birth, I rarely feel the need to coat myself in its colors head to toe. Funny story, though, recently I was at a wedding which included a Western Style ceremony (you know, girl wears white to symbolize purity because of antiquated archaic notions of inheritance anxiety and the social need to police female chastity, guy wears a suit, rings exchanged, embarrassing speeches made by drunk exes/siblings, the usual) in addition to the normal Hindu thing (you know, wear a bunch of red and gold, invite thousands of strangers you’ve never met, find flower petals and glitter on your body in the shower DAYS later, the usual) and this girl, inspired, no doubt, by the theme, wore a dress made of an American flag. This delighted whats-his-face and I so much so that we sort of stalked her around the wedding (which would have been really creepy if it was just whats-his-face, come to think of it, yet another reason to get married, to save curious men from scaring strangers). That was a truly amazing moment in life. One wonders if she wears Indian flags to Indian weddings….

So recently, when visiting a museum with a friend in the middle of the week (let’s talk about working from home and how awesome it is sometime, when I’m not so busy working from home and thinking about how awesome it is), I realized that I was accidentally decked out in colors that showed my American-ness as clearly as my accent does. Could it have been a subconscious longing for the United States? My desires dictating my clothing without my knowledge? Or just a strange coincidence? Maybe the colors you absorb around you somehow work their way into your mind, affecting your clothing choices. My friend Becca (hi, Becca!) and her mother Mary (hi, Mary!) have this issue as art conservators, especially Mary, who realized that she was accidentally dressing to match paintings she was restoring.

Whatever the cause, I look like an American flag a little bit here, fair warning.

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Sun blasted photographs aside (hey, man, I live in India…) I like this outfit a lot! I’ve realized I really need to make more solid tops and bottoms, and this skirt, a self-drafted situation, was an awesome start. I wear it so very often, and I am grateful to my past self every single time.

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It’s a little deceitful here, because it looks like it had side gathers, but it actually has two large box pleats which because of the drapey nature of the fabric are a little crumpled here. But you can clearly see I put in pockets which is vitally important!

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That’s a little better, the rare situation in which an indoor shot is better than an outdoor one. AND you can see this lovely museum, an equally rare thing, a museum in India that looks really nice and is well maintained! Of course, the collection…makes zero sense. But hey, man, that’s Indian museums for you, at least, in my experience. But the Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum is, at least, a lovely place.

The shirt is a Grainline Scout Tee. Man, I love that pattern. I just make it all the time and can’t stop. A woven tee-shirt. Who knew it would be such a wardrobe staple?

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I had most of these photos taken in a space the museum made for statues that people have been defacing after the end of British rule in India, like a sad little garden of damaged colonial statues. I love it.

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I don’t know what they had against that elephant, though. The blouse is a little billowy, but honestly, in the Mumbai heat and humidity, I will take comfort that comes with looking a little fuller through fabric drape any day. You can see the box pleat nicely in this shot, though, and even a tiny hint of the white pocket fabric I used.

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How cool is the button? Man, I love that button. I always opt for the waistband button because its a great way to use buttons and it’s fun. Excuse the stray threads!

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I love the fabric, too. Mangaldas Market strikes again! If you are ever in Mumbai, get on it.

Want evidence that this museum is super weird? Don’t worry. I took photos! Things that are in this museum include vases, urns, pottery, ancient playing cards:

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And….dioramas! A LOT OF THEM:

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That says “Rear livestock of good breeds”. It’s like the Met, I’m telling you.

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This is a case that shows all the incarnations of Vishnu.

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It’s honestly worth going just for the Museum alone.

And I think I made it very clear in there that I was an American tourist. So I really paved the way for my people. You’re WELCOME!

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The Indian Soccer Mom Outfit

Guys, sometimes you make an outfit that you think is going to be super awesome and cute and vintage and fun and it ends up being….different. Special. Hell, awkward. And that, my friends, is what has happened here.

In the spirit of not ablogogizing, (god bless this concept, I learned it from Did You Make That, anyone else?) I’m just going to say that I have many undocumented makes and I’m trying to document them and someday that will happen and there that is. Did you know, for example, that I have three, count them, THREE sets of Carolyn Pajamas I have yet to blog? Not to mention the two sets I made for my mother, which takes me to five, oh hell. What can I say, I love a Carolyn Pajama, although I have yet to get the pants to fit EXACTLY right, sigh, they always end up a little too snug and a little too low in the crotch, but I’m working on it! I have a bunch of seamwork patterns, like a Mojave maxi-dress, and the akita top I’m currently wearing and a pair of moji pants which I will never blog about because the fabric I made them in bled like a body in a Quentin Tarantino movie so I wore them and the matching shirt I made using the grainline tiny pocket t to my haldi because you are supposed to give the clothing you wear to that ceremony away because it gets smeared with turmeric and is therefore lucky and if you want to know why THAT is the answer, as told to me, was because Hinduism. Here, see for yourself:
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The point is, I have a lot of back log, but I’m not going to ablogogize, because I feel like for me, the whole impetus behind that is hey, no, really, I’ve been making stuff, I promise! And why do I have to do that? I make things for myself, and I shouldn’t worry that you are all out there judging me, assuming that I’m not being productive enough because I haven’t posted a new thing. I shouldn’t assume you are thinking about me at all. I’m sure you have much more to do with your time. See, at its heart, I think ablogogizing is a sort of self-centered thing to do, so I’m not going to do it. I am, however, going to tell you about this outfit which I’m just going to own, regardless of how completely, well, let’s say not-my-normal-look it turned out. Basically, this outfit makes me look like a soccer mom. And not a great one, not one with an awesome SUV (I threw up in my mouth typing awesome to describe SUV, fyi) and a perfect plan for the kids and all their activities, not one who posts her OWN projects for cute snacks and fun 30 minute dinners on pinterest and gets repinned a thousand times, no, more like that soccer mom who really wants her kids to become readers and hopes they will get into drama and shows up with a package of Oreos to the school bake sale and is, in fact, a pinterest fail. The kind who calls wine mommy juice and drops out of every spin class about halfway through. Man, I can’t WAIT to be that soccer mom, actually, come to think of it….I don’t even need kids for that. I wonder if Cadfael would want to try soccer out.

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It’s not looking likely.

Anyway, with no further ado, I present you THIS:

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This is one of those outfits that has two individual positive pieces that together somehow make up Julie Bowen on crack. Sigh.

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The shirt is a Grainline Archer, (ps have you seen the new popover variation? I want to go to there.) This shirt is actually pretty cute, I promise. I made view B, with the little flare at the back, and I’ve worn it countless times, I kind of adore it. I stitched up a size 12, french seamed it all and the only adjustment was to lengthen it a bit, three inches this time, which is standard for my archers.

I got the fabric at Mangaldas Market in South Bombay. I was going for more Kate Spade than stuck in Suburbia, frankly, and I don’t know where in that spectrum it falls on a normal day but with these pants? It’s the beginning of the Feminist Mystique up in here.

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The pants are Butterick 5895, a Gertie pattern. I used a very stretchy cotton bottom-weight fabric which I got here at Sew in Style, an expensive but lovely fabric shop in North Bombay. This fabric is so stretchy that after a day in these pants they have bagged out like none other, sigh. It’s okay, they are extremely comfortable, and I like the pockets and the waistband. They were easy enough to sew, and I french seamed the majority of it, and omitted the overlap waistband for a longer zipper and a hook and eye. I do think some element of stretch is good for these pants, but maybe not quite…this much. I have a stretchy black twill and I’m thinking of mixing this with a pair of Clovers and seeing what happens.

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See? They are so extremely bagged out, it’s like a super market grocery line here. Ba-dum-ching!

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Nevertheless, there are worse things to look like than a soccer mom, and hey, at least here in India it’s not such a prevailing stereotype that I feel like people judged me for it. People called me ma’am, but then, this is India, they would have done that anyway.

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Okay. There you go. Soccer mom meets India. Now, time for some Mommy juice.

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Inside the world of the Anoki Block Printing Museum

India is a heaven for fabric lovers, not just today, but for the last 500 years. India’s fabric production has always been stellar, and the abundance of materials and labor here have created a long history of spectacular cloth. There have been mentions in sources dating back to the 12th Century discussing printed cloth from India, and textile trade went first east, to Malaysia and China,and then, with the growth of European overseas trade, west, to France, England, Holland and Portugal. The magnificent printing and dyeing techniques, Indian innovations, made the cloth from India endlessly valuable and exploded into the European mentality, exciting tailors and customers alike. Textile trade changed the world, and that’s not an overstatement. Interwoven Globe was a fantastic show at the Met about it two years ago, if anyone got a chance to check it out, and it described these global trade networks and their significant beautifully.

The more time I spend in India, the more amazing fabrics I see and learn about. There are so many varieties, methods of creation, techniques and options that it’s wildly overwhelming sometimes, int he best possible way. But I would say that one fabric which most people think of when they think about Indian fabric is block printed cloth, and with good reason. It’s beautiful, it’s interesting, and it screams “Indian fabric”, especially if they’ve put an elephant on it.

Block printing emerged as a popular method in Northern India, specifically Rajasthan, in Medieval India. Soon Surat in Gujarat became the center of fabric trade in India, with painted and printed fabric prized for its colors and complicated dying techniques.

I recently had an opportunity to visit the Anoki Museum of Hand Printing in Jaipur, and I have to say it was a fantastic experience. I would recommend it for all fabric lovers who visit India. So I’m sharing some of my photos with you to entice you into visiting! It’s really an awesome place in a restored Haveli filled with so much wonderful information and fabric and you can buy locally printed stuff in the shop and the cafe is excellent. Seriously, it’s fantastic! I learned so much about block printing, and I’m so happy to know more about this fascinating process which has so many iterations and significance.

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This is quite a complicated method which is now cheaper imitated, but the real thing was prized by emperors and kings.

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The black on white is a very traditional motif.

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Men in Rajasthan are big on turbans, with different styles for different communities and even for different jobs.

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Textile is so important in this area, and there was a whole codification of fabric, who could wear which cloth, etc. There were fabrics for widows, unmarried women, married women, craftsmen of different kinds, nobility, royalty, etc.

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See? It’s crazy! Beautiful and uncomfortably restrictive. That’s India for you in a nutshell.

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Traditional outfits.

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Not so traditional outfits made by modern designers using block prints.

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There are demonstrations of the craft, which is amazing. Four blocks make up one small design and this man moves SO fast. He asked me if I wanted to try, but I just wanted to watch him work.

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This amazing man is a block maker. Too. Cool.

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Blocks are made from wood and metal

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Here are a few of the MANY tools that go into make a block

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Here are the blocks for the tie-dye method.

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This shows the stages of the dying process. That’s 15 stages for one design!

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Kind of amazing, right, what block printing can do? It’s not just elephants on flowy pants for tourists…

India. It’s a fabric education every day.

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The Worth The Wait Dress

This is the first thing I ever made when I came to India, and it is sort of strange and wonderful and awful that I haven’t blogged it before now. But the thing about this dress is, it is probably also my favorite thing that I’ve made here to date, and I’ve worn it so many times and thought about photographing it So. Many. Times. that it in some strange way makes sense that I never took a moment to photograph it before because I was too busy loving it to get a moment to document it. I have seriously worn this dress in all kinds of circumstances, in several Indian cities, all over Mumbai, and now, finally, in Udaipur, the most romantic of Indian cities, which I recently visited (i.e. returned from today) with my friend, Emily. We had a very romantic time in Udaipur, although people did ask me where my husband was, but I mentioned that such a thing would be wasted on him….

Isn’t is amazing how the garments that are most useful to you end up being the very last that you document and share with the world? I have put this dress on so many times and told myself I was going to get photos of it and every time that has been a huge fail. The very evening I finished it I was all set to go out in it, and then our plans got cancelled, we ended up in with wine and netflix, and that was the first time of many that the documentation of this dress was a dream deferred. I wore this to work, to be the hospitality official for a Bollywood celebration event (don’t ask, I can’t even deal with my life here sometimes), out to a birthday party in Kolkata, to my friend’s literary panel in Bangalore, and now, strolling the streets of Udaipur. This dress gets around.

Maxi-dresses were never really my thing, but I have to say, it’s a really useful thing to have here in India. If you are planning a trip to India, let me recommend the maxi-dress. Maxi-dresses are extremely useful here, they keep you cool and comfortable and you still subscribe to Indian modesty standards, limiting and arbitrary as they are. I personally am not a huge fan of the way that some clothing traditions restrict women and not men, especially when they have no cultural or religious injunction and are a modern invention that has had an imagined social history established as part of a national myth, but you should check out my other blog for my more articulate feelings on THAT subject. Nevertheless, I live in India, and however else I feel, I still want to adapt. Maxi-dresses are a helpful way to do that. They work really well in a rickshaw, which is good, because the open-air of the experience along with the bumps in the road make you happy you have covered your lower body and don’t have to think about anything. Except how awesome this looks! Check it out:

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As maxi-dresses go, I happen to think this one is aces. And I finally got a chance to take photos of it, courtesy of Emily! Thanks, Emily! And the setting couldn’t be more perfect. Thanks, Udaipur!

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As I said, this was the first thing I made when I got here. I found the fabric quite near to my apartment between Santacruz West, where we live, and Bandra, a super hip neighborhood. I was going to meet my friend Natasha, hi, Natasha! for lunch, when she texted that she would be late, a common ailment in Mumbai because of the traffic. I took a moment to explore the neighborhood around the place we were to meet, and found Sew In Style, a fabric store along the way.

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I picked up this Ikat fabric, and cut out a maxi dress from it, employing a little strategy mixing directions along with my bodice block for the bodice. I wanted a slightly looser style, so I added a larger seam allowance than usual, and I finished everything with bias tape instead of lining it. Very Mumbai weather friendly…

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I drafted the skirt, whose large box pleats do not seem that evident in these photos, and it’s turned out quite well. The hem is a little narrow for the strenuous activity I have performed in this dress, but what can you do? Sometimes you buy fabric first, realize what you need later, it is what it is. And I sort of like lifting up the skirts of this dress as I climb up large temple stairs and pitch myself over obstacles. I feel downright historical.

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A little back view for you, with the skirt in a very bell-like situation.

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A little close up of the bodice, slightly obstructed by my hair, for which I will blame Udaipur. Udaipur, which is a small city in Rajasthan, is simply gorgeous, and on a small lake.

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Everything in this town is about the lake, the views, the sunset over it, the palace near it, etc. It’s great.

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But the wind is also…a thing .

Also, we realized I had been standing in front of an amazing royal marble bench that whole time and not even used it! A fatal crime, am I right? I had to deal with that.

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My best possible Maharani pose. I think I do the Mewar dynasty fairly proud, don’t I?

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Okay, I couldn’t keep it up for long. But what can I say, I’m just a girl in a maxi-dress, making life work for me as best as possible. I am so glad I finally blogged about this dress, though. Of all the places I wore it, this was the best, view-wise. Well worth the wait, I say. For the first dress I made in my new home, I knew something special was in order. Thanks, Udaipur. You, like this dress, were worth the wait.

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The Market to Market Dress

I’ve made a lot of things so far here, and then the old problem of documenting them begins again.  But my New Year’s resolution is to post at least once a week, so let’s see if I can keep that, shall we?

I almost named this dress the Mangladas Market dress, but I didn’t, for reasons which will soon become abundantly clear.

Guys, you’ve probably never hear this before but India is an amazing place for fabric. I KNOW. I KNOW. It’s madness. I’m blowing your mind here. The thing is, before I moved here I had a very limited idea of what Indian fabric really looked like. We get a certain idea of a certain kind of fabric in the States, but that’s actually just a small fraction of the options. My Indian fabric education has only just begun.

Before I moved to India, I had a very specific idea of what fabric from India looked like. Once I moved here, I realized that I wasn’t wrong, per se, but I was limited. India is a land of major fabric production, and there is no one way to make fabric here, there are a thousand, and that’s just in one city. From North to South, East to West, the range of how fabric looks is wildly divergent. There are, of course, similarities, the material base is limited, mostly cottons and silks with wools in the far North, but the history of weaving in India dates back thousands of years, older than most other world civilizations. The Indus River Valley excavations show evidence of woven cloth and even some proof there was trade between China, India and the Middle East over 5000 years ago, which is fairly nuts, if you think about the fact that even today, Indian cotton production creates the most sought after products in the world.

Since I’ve been here, I’ve had a chance to visit the block printing museum in Amber (post to follow) and learned more about the printing techniques of the Northwest, which make up a lot of what I once thought Indian fabric looked like. The prints from Rajasthan come in many colors and shapes, but they are what I once believed the majority of Indian fabrics were, and I still have a huge adoration for them, despite all the others I’ve discovered. Recently, on a trip to Kolkata, I visited Dakshinapan Market, which I would recommend for any visitors to the city. It’s a huge government emporium, which means the prices are subsidized, and you can see goods and fabrics from all over the country. It was in Dakshinapan where I realized what came from where, what fabrics came from which part of the country. Although I gloried over the Bengali muslins, their high (and well deserved) price points made me sorrowfully put them aside in favor of other, cheaper, cloth. And luckily for me, I found some gems.

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I wore this dress for the first time fabric shopping with my friend Natasha (hi, Natasha!) In Mangaldas Market, which is where I would recommend anyone go fabric shopping if the come to Mumbai. Hence the name. From one market to another, the fabric works.

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Mangaldas is a little bonkers, but it’s fun, and filled with magnificent finds and amazing prices.

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My favorite fabric store is Rinkoo Fabrics.

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They are the damn best, with amazing options and tons of cool Japanese prints, which I can’t find otherwise.MTM8

Stores are divided between mens shirtings and suitings and womens stuff, but you can find amazing things at both.

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I felt super cool wearing the fabric from one market at another. I made this out of my bodice block, with a gathered skirt and pockets. I cut the border off the side and added it to the bottom (side note, I do not understand the border printing on a lot of Rajasthani fabrics.)

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A little back view for you.

MTM4This is what happens when you try to take photos in Mumbai. It’s a fun place to live.

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I may fall in love with a lot of Indian fabrics. I sort of already have. But I don’t think I will ever stop loving these Rajasthani prints. How could I? How could anyone?

Happy New Year, everyone! All my best for the year ahead!

Thanks for the photos, Natasha!

 

 

 

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