I used the top part of the dress I made to make the lace and lining, then bias bound them at neck and arm holes. This is probably my best bias binding till date and I am feeling proud. Again, I used the same soft cotton lining (malmal) as used here, here and here. I’m adventurous, I know.

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Fabric: I got 1.5m of the lace from Arbuda matching centre for Rs. 250 / m and used about 1m. Leftover fabric for lining. Total cost Rs. 375 (~$7)

Notions: None

Total time: 3 – 4 hours (I went slow esp with bias binding)



I’ve made another dress based a Club Monaco dress I own. Here are the results. For comparison, I’ve added a photo of the original dress also.

club-monaco-plumevoodoo-blue-dina-dress-product-1-10258786-442450966_large_flex   photo 1 (15)

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I added the gorgeous jacquard (which I dyed (got dyed ie) in dark navy blue) for some interesting detail and the printed underlining at the hem, for the slightest hint of fun. This was my first time using jacquard fabric and I think I am in love! Look at how utterly gorgeous it is and it has such a nice feel to it too. I also inserted the invisible zipper (with lining for the first time) which turned out quite well, imo. photo 3 (5)

Unlike the original dress, I lined the entire garment as the yellow/mint was too sheer, so the dress overall feels a lot richer. Also, I got lovely mum to hand stitch the printed underlining at the hem – I’m so lazy when it comes to hand stitching. She did such an amazing job – I honestly can’t tell even a single thread from the front even when I look at it closely, even though she just used a simple running stitch. She says it’s because of the jacquard weave. Maybe. photo 1 (7)

One smallish issue that caused a little frustration was that the skirt and skirt lining turned out to be a lot bigger than the top waist and had to re-stitch the seams to crop quite a bit off. I must’ve messed up while cutting because the pattern seems ok. Next time will keep this in mind.

Time: 8 – 9 hours, including drafting the pattern

Fabric: Super soft cotton in yellow/mint for 200php / yard and needed a total of around 2 yards (as I made the lining with it as well). 2m jacquard fabric that I got dyed for a total of Rs. 200 and 1/2m for the hem lining for Rs. 50 from Sanskruti, Ahmedabad. Invisible zipper from Fabric Warehouse, Mannila for 10 php

Total cost: Rs. 780 (~@$13 vs $220 for the original and I actually like mine a lot more). I’ll say that was a success!


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These are for older fabrics which I can’t remember all the details for. I’m going to add width and how much I have for all the new ones I buy. I’m organizing them by the city / store I bought them from because I forget all other details but I remember (so far) where I’ve got them from.

I feel like my sister (OCD) when I’m neat and organized. Thanks P!


Lately I’ve been thinking of Indian clothes, mainly worn during shaadis, and how gaudy and glitzy they tend to be – not to mention overwhelming. Women seem to be drowning in a lot of these clothes, plus with the bling and jewellery it’s quite impossible to see the person underneath (I know, I’m bitchy) To be fair, some of the silhouettes are not bad, but the embroidery, fabric, bling, all together, makes it too gaudy.

My sister’s getting engaged/married soon which means that an avalanche of “functions” is sure to come and I’m going to need clothes to wear – lots and lots of clothes – most of which will be worn two to four times in their lives. It is only by error, that a simple, clean and nice outfit gets designed, but they are as difficult to find as a needle in a haystack. Anyway, enough ranting. I spent some time last night and these are outfits that I want to give a shot at sewing and maybe they will actually look half – decent?

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First up, a cream/peach/pink chiffon saree. I will sew self – made chiffon rosettes / flowers with a small pearl in the middle. The blouse will be plain white / offwhite with pearl buttons all the way along down the centre – back. I haven’t decided what to do about sleeves yet – maybe sheer?



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Second – This anarkali is based on a red Sabyasachi one we (my sister and I) own. This one will have printed georgette (maroon / black) as the main body with sheer black sleeves and hi-low hem. The lining will have dull gold embroidery on black lace and will show through at the bottom for 3 – 4 inches. The dupatta will be light and sheer to offset the dark bodice and will play off the gold embroidery to be a very light cream colour. To create cohesivie-ness I will add a black embroidery border (saree border) all around the dupatta. This is probably going to be the blingiest of all.

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Third: This is all about the dupatta which I want to be a nice print with drape. Based off on that will be the lining colour, for the sheer eyelet bodice. I think Pakistani style slim ankle length salwar will look quite nice and the lace border everywhere will tie things up.

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Fourth: The simple base of navy and offwhite salwar – kameez will keep the focus on a gorgeous sateen – cotton – silk dupatta. I might add a neck border which I will also put on the dupatta, not sure

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Finally, this one is going to be a hit or a miss. Based on a Anamika Khanna design, I’ll make dyed jacquard dhoti salwar (will use the pattern based on one we have) with a offwhite / yellow-ish cape with stark hi – low hem. I will line the entire kaftan/cape thing with a printed fabric. The colours are the same as my dress, but maybe a little blue on the kurta? Also, will need a blue tank if the cape/dress ends up sheer.

All illustrations done by me. Not bad, I think. Modesty is my strong suit.

I think a total budget of Rs. 20,000 (~$350) is not entirely impossible.



One of the great things about being in India is having easy (and cheap, relatively speaking) access to some fantastic fabrics. I’m starting to easily differentiate between knit and woven various fabrics and here I’m summing up some new (to me) and interesting textiles I’ve come across.

Names which basically describe a technique rather than the fabric


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Chikankari or Chikan Kari or Lucknowi work is a type of embroidery typically white and typically on cotton and chiffon

Hakkoba or hakoba work is basically eyelet fabric. At times Chikankari and hakkoba look quite similar


Chanderi work, which I’ve heard of but can’t identify. It’s characterized by round motifs / butti and the sheer fabric

Bandhani (on cotton, chiffon, silk – pretty much everything – but cotton is most common) is basically tie – dye and the process is similar to Japanese Shibori or Indonesian Plangi. Leheriya is a form of Bandhani where in the pattern is diagonal or zigzag lines. Batik is also similar and commonly found

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Zardosi or Zardozi embroidery is beautiful and is one of my favourite. It’s a shame that most of the fabrics and designs available are so OOT

zardozi peacock

Block printing


Fabric and Blends

Voile (Cotton voile) also called “vail”, “gauze” is basically soft cotton

Terry Cotton – can’t make out it’s distingushing feature

Lizzy Bizzy Cotton is 50% cotton 50% Polyster which makes it soft. Very popular and cheap

2×2 or Rubia Cotton or 2 by 2 Rubia is basically softer 100% cotton (not softer than voile though)

Pleated Cotton (printed or plain)




And of course, there are various silks (cotton silk, khadi silk, pure silk, crepe silk, polyester silk, silk satin, silk duponi), chiffon and georgette (I can’t tell the difference), crepe, denim, chambray, twill, net, tissue and lace. Wool, other warm fabric and leather are harder to find.

And lest I forget there is the “export fabric” which can be any of the above but will be slightly better quality (or not) and so will be more costly.

Phew! I think I’ve listed down all the fabric names I’ve heard and I guess for now this is a start.


One of my favourite parts about sewing is finding those few textiles I love among a pile of a million. I don’t go overboard and typically (! – it’s only been a few months) try and use the fabric I have rather than go purchase new ones. Here are few of my go to places (in Bombay) –

1. Mangaldas or Crawford Market, Bombay. This is definitely the place to go! I go for a swing in the charming chaos and to practice my terrible bargaining skills. Beautiful fabrics at amazing prices, although I do tend to get a bit put off by the overload of  “ethnic” prints and patterns, but I guess that is to be expected. My favourite store is “Rinkoo Fabrics” in Lane 9. They have nice printed rayons and cotton voiles. Prices are 200 – 250 Rs per metre. The good thing is that they often have new fabrics coming in so you don’t just see the same stuff over and over. If you are looking for a particular type of fabric, ask 2 – 3 of any of the store owners and they should point you to the correct store. Don’t be discouraged if the first one says “you won’t find that fabric here or a I don’t know”, just ask someone else and there is a decent chance he will know of a place in the market who sells that! Don’t expect to find printed silks though. Or if you do find it, let me know!

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2. Vandana, Chandralok, Nepeansea Road, Bombay: I go for gorgeous printed silk/blend which is also super soft, but they do have a lot of other cottons also. Prices are more expensive than anywhere else, but they do have some nice fabrics. I got this beautiful silk for Rs. 700 / metre – I’m not a big fan of the flowery print but it’s just soooooo soft and feels so good. I’m not quite sure how often they get new stuff, but they have great sales every once in a while and you can get some gorgeous embroidered fabrics like this one!

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3. Amarsons / Premsons, Breach Candy, Bombay: I go here purely because it is close to my house. They have the expensive fabrics in the front of the store and in the back, they have basic plain cottons / poly cottons / etc for Rs 60 – Rs 150. Although you can find the same stuff in Crawford for Rs 30 – 100. But you get a wider range here so worth the extra 30 – 50 rupees.

3. The Hab in Bandra for notions: They have fusing – enough said! Weirdly, they are closed on Thursdays. I went all the way from down south to make this fantastic discovery. Anyway, I also went to the one shop in Crawford for notions- K/Colombowala – and it wasn’t great. It was great fun trying to find it though!

4. Honorary Mention: Fabric Warehouse, Glorietta 3? (near National Bookstore) on the 3rd floor, Makati. I love the staff here who are so helpful and answer all of my questions which really helped when I was first starting out. They have a wide range of different types of fabrics all under one roof in the heart of the city. They also carry notions and if you don’t find them here you can go to Carolinas 3 – 4 stores down.

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5. Honorary mention 2: Ahmedabad fabric shops, Arbuda (Satellite) and Anuroop (CG Road) Matching Centres are my favourites. Anuroop has a fantastic range of textiles, but some can be expensive. I got a beautiful floral crepe for Rs. 1175 (ack!). Others that I would visit are Arpit Matching Centre, Sanskruti and Matchiswalla (sp?) for notions. All of the stores except Arbuda are in the CG road area so can be covered in one go.

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