So MR & I have decided to finally tie the knot. Which means an opportunity to make or buy a preeeetty dress.
Traditional white wedding dresses was ruled out because I really would like something I can wear again. Or at least refashion into something more wearable afterward. And as white isn’t my favourite colour, I don’t think I’ll get much mileage out of a white wedding dress. Instead I have fallen for fancy sarees from the Indian subcontinent. Originally I thought I’d just treat the saree I get as fabric & make a more western dress out of it. But the more bridal wear photos I looked at the more I’m tempted to stick to their original designs.
What I didn’t realize was that their bridal wear differs depending on the region, with South India favouring the saree (draped fabric skirt/shawl + top + maybe petticoat), and West & East (North?) favouring a top (choli) + skirt (lehenga) + shawl (dupatta) combo. The latter seems to have the more intricate embroidery, but obviously would be harder to refashion. So I’m a bit torn.
The other problem is you set foot in those shops and your eyes glaze over, overwhelmed by the bling & variety. Where to even begin! I’m tempted to shop online, but am worried because most online shops are based in India, and not of that extraction I’m nervous whether cultural barriers might prevent a smooth online purchase. Things like whether what you see on the website will really be what you get – especially since I’ve been told that many items are hand-embellished, so difficult to reproduce exactly. Or how long it’ll take – is it off the shelf or do someone have to make them to order. (I only have about 3 months to sort out my outfit.) And my preference would of course be to just get the fabric & sew up myself to ensure better fit. But of course some of the nicer embellishment has to follow the pattern shape – eg neckline. So I don’t see how that would be possible if I get only the fabric.
It’s all a bit nerve-wrecking. I just ordered two lehenga cholis by Nakkashi online from Haya Creations.com. We shall see if (a) they arrive at all, (b) arrive in time, (c) the quality is acceptable, (d) if they look anything like the photos. (I would have ordered from Nakkashi’s online shop, except the order form doesn’t seem to work for international customers.)
Both of these – if the fabric quality is good enough – should be easily refashionable into casual luxe. They don’t look too OTT for the minuscule registry wedding ceremony we’re going to have.
I’m still debating on what my Plan B should be. One options is to try to get something from a brick & mortar shop, maybe from one of the shops on Green Street near Upton Park East London (- a must see if you like Indian/Asian Bling – apology to other nationals from the region for lumping you all under the “Indian” label for brevity – being another type of Asian myself I still can’t get use to calling you guys “Asians” because that’s what I’m used to calling Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, etc.). It’s an intimidating options due to the sheer number of choices & possibly higher prices or possibly less reliable fit.
Another alternative is to pick a similarly simpler design online & try to source the material to make it myself. Judging by the proliferation of the same photos online + complaints against stores, seems like maybe many shop are selling imitations & not the originals anyway. I think this one might be doable if I can source similar fabric & borders.
There were a couple of fabric / trim shops on Green Street carrying bling fabrics /trims presumably for exactly such purpose. Barbara, a London-based sewing friend, also found some in Walthamstow.
And of course any suggestions from you would be most welcome! As would any advice from any (British) “Asian” / Indian subcontinent readers of course! 🙂
Now if I may leave you with a few more eye-candies…
And I’m totally in awe of these tailors & embellishers’ skills…
Amazing! And nerve-wrecking to watch how the embellisher maneuver the cord back & forth under the high-speed couching machine. Hope no fingers were hurt in its making. It’s easy to criticize poor quality end products. But given the work pressure many of these workers are under, I think they’ve done pretty well. Certainly much better than I could have done under the same pressure.