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The Sew What’s New Archive

This archived content is from Mary Wilkins’ sewing and quilting message board “Sew What’s New,” which was retired in August 2007. It is being provided by “Sew What’s Up,” which serves as the new home for many members of “Sew What’s New.”
From: Shellymoon
Date: 06-13-2007, 10:42 PM (1 of 13)
Hi everyone...I have a happy dilemma. After spending about 15 years in journalism and marketing, I have decided to take a different direction. About six months ago I joined the staff of a mission organization that builds churches and trains native-born missionaries how to start and grow churches in their own countries. I'm working as the U.S. editorial coordinator. That's the happy part.

Now for the dilemma (which, even though I'm an editor, I can never remember how to spell dilemma:re: )
The Lord willing, I will be traveling to the field sometime during the two years sometime. When I go, I have to dress as the local people do. Our groups usually travel in India, sometimes in Sri Lanka and Nepal. The bottom line is I need to put together some Indian-style garments. The good news is they look rather simple. The bad news is they are outrageously expensive on this side of the ocean.

Here's my question....does anyone have a source for patterns for Indian-style clothing. Basically, I'll need some punjabi outfits (the long tunic top worn over pants) and a sari (A long skirt, halter-lengthy top with short sleeves and a wrap). If anyone has a source, I would be thrilled.

I have a basic Burda tunic top that I may just try to modify and see if it works. I've seen the shirts and they're very simple. The pants look easy to make too. I'm a little more worried about the sari because I'm large busted, which is one reason I'm having trouble finding anything ready made.

Help me!
Shelly Moon
User: Shellymoon
Member since: 05-27-2001
Total posts: 240
From: dmoses
Date: 06-13-2007, 11:07 PM (2 of 13)
Hi Shelly,
Congratulations on your new job. :up: It sounds very interesting!

Have you seen these? There are also patterns for Nepal, and the Indonesian section has a fairly simple pullover tunic pattern.
Take care,
User: dmoses
Member since: 02-22-2002
Total posts: 964
From: DorothyL
Date: 06-13-2007, 11:28 PM (3 of 13)
We used to go to an Indian restaurant where the owner made the most magnificent

punjabi outfits (the long tunic top worn over pants)

They were pretty much just that -- but the fabric was fantastic. It was all imported. She got it in a little place in New York City. It's right in the center of the garment district.
Of course at home she wears jeans and a T-shirt.

User: DorothyL
Member since: 12-09-2002
Total posts: 3883
From: PaulineG
Date: 06-14-2007, 12:52 AM (4 of 13)
There's a little shop where I go sometimes to buy fabric that stocks a lot of Indian style fabrics and trims and is run by Sri Lankan ladies (there are a lot in my area). Are you in a hurry? I can go and have a look to see what they have and/or ask their advice fairly soon but I know overseas post is fairly slow.
User: PaulineG
Member since: 09-08-2006
Total posts: 901
From: Magot
Date: 06-14-2007, 02:06 PM (5 of 13)
Congrats Shelly, my friend in India wears the long tunic and trousers all the time - I didn't think they were that expensive if you bought them there.

Anyhoo - have you tried

I have not used these patterns myself but others on this forum have.
love and kisses, Jan
Cells a Speciality
DNA to order.
User: Magot
Member since: 12-22-2002
Total posts: 3626
From: Shellymoon
Date: 06-14-2007, 09:04 PM (6 of 13)
You ladies are awesome and full of wisdom. I found exactly what I needed on these sites!

Pauline...thanks for your willingness to help me--all the way from Australia! There is a large South Asian population here where I live (Suburban Dallas, Texas) so I can get my hands on a lot of the right kind of fabric. I was just having trouble finding the patterns. These two sites had everything I needed.

If I can ever post photos, this will be one you'll want to see--a whitebread, American woman dressed in an Indian punjabi. It will be good for a laugh or 20!

Thanks again everyone....
Shelly Moon
User: Shellymoon
Member since: 05-27-2001
Total posts: 240
From: bridesmom
Date: 06-15-2007, 12:12 AM (7 of 13)
Oh, you certainly won't be a laughing matter. The punjabi outfits are gorgeous. And apparently very comfortable to wear, even in the heat. One of the women I work with makes her own, so I asked her about patterns, but she just makes them up as she goes. She never learned to sew with a pattern, how I envy that! I was fortunate enough to be able to go to 2 East Indian weddings, and the outfits were truly amazing. I'm sure you will look just as lovely as the rest of the women.
Tickled pink with my Innovis 4000D
User: bridesmom
Member since: 01-21-2004
Total posts: 2026
From: EmaCon
Date: 06-17-2007, 03:33 AM (8 of 13)
The good news is they look rather simple. The bad news is they are outrageously expensive on this side of the ocean.

You will find that when you get to India they are outrageously cheap if you go to the less expensive places. My daughter spent 5 months in India and she said they do amazing things with fabric and a simple treadle sewing machine. She would buy fabric, go in to a tailor in a little shop and have him make up Indian style clothes to fit her or copies of garments she already had.

Maybe you can send us reports of what you find there. It should be interesting. Good luck.
User: EmaCon
Member since: 07-28-2006
Total posts: 67
From: MaryW
Date: 06-18-2007, 01:19 PM (9 of 13)
Sounds like such an interesting job. Congratulations Shellymoon and keep in touch.
owner/editor of Sew Whats New
User: MaryW
Member since: 06-23-2005
Total posts: 2542
From: Shellymoon
Date: 06-19-2007, 12:10 AM (10 of 13)
Hi everyone.....I am going to go ahead and get some of the patterns you all directed me to. (and I'm really liking that Turkish coat pattern too)

Additionally, one of my coworkers is going to carry some fabric over there for me when he goes this week. I am sending 7 yards of cotton, a dress and pair of pants that fit and a length measurement and they're supposed to create me an outfit. The theory is that I'll be able to use that outfit as a template/pattern.

And you're is incredibly cheap to have one of these custom-tailored for you.

The reason I'm reluctant to buy a ready made one is that I'm a DD bra cup size and need it to fit around all that business.

I can't for the life of me figure out why anyone would want to make their "girls" any bigger than what God gave them. Yuck! Although, I might like the idea of being a donor for someone who think they need extra in that area.
Shelly Moon
User: Shellymoon
Member since: 05-27-2001
Total posts: 240
From: PaulineG
Date: 06-19-2007, 03:30 AM (11 of 13)
Although, I might like the idea of being a donor for someone who think they need extra in that area.

Me! Me!

I'm in between a B and C but end up wearing a C most of the time just a touch too big. I only need a little. And I'll take good care of it too.
User: PaulineG
Member since: 09-08-2006
Total posts: 901
From: paroper
Date: 06-19-2007, 07:57 PM (12 of 13)
If I remember right, Carrollton is not too far from a major Metropolitan Texas city. I'd check out a few of the Indian restaurants and see if I can manage to get a few suggestions from some lady there. If you approach it right, you should be able to get a lot of help. Many of the people that I have known from India have been very helpful.

I believe that the native dress of Nepal is much different than that of India, although it is pretty plain.

Bernina 200e, Artista V5 Designer Plus, Explorations, Magic Box, Bernina 2000DE & 335 Bernette Serger, Bernina 1530 Sewing Machine, Bernina 1300 DC Overlock (with coverstitch)
User: paroper
Member since: 02-03-2004
Total posts: 3775
From: blackie
Date: 06-22-2007, 07:16 PM (13 of 13)
I want to give a shout-out for Folkwear patterns (that's the patterns Donna's "ethnicpatterns" link directs you to anyhow). They are simple, easy, and have tons of advice for embellishment. Not to mention if you call them and ask for any kind of help they WILL give you the loveliest customer service!

I wish I could find an excuse to make and wear that sort of thing! I am not comfortable in much of anything but jeans and t-shirts, sadly.
see the mundane life of a housewife.
User: blackie
Member since: 03-31-2004
Total posts: 594
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