It’s on to N and I must say I’m stumped ! The only Textile I can think of is the NarayanPeth sari which is the typical weave of Sholapur, a town in Southern Maharashtra. However , this is similar to the Paithani which I’m going to talk about later. So I thought I’d tweak things a bit and tell you about another textile tradition: the Nine Yard Sari.
Nine yards of sari?
You didn’t hear wrong .
For those of you who find the sari a mystery, wearing 9 yards of sari will seem even more daunting than the 6 yard version. But quite frankly it is really the best garment to wear
4 reasons why the Nine Yard Sari is great
- It doesn’t require a petticoat or under garment to secure it .of course today women who do wear this sari will wear cycling shorts or tights but frankly this isn’t necessary
- Its trouser style skirt makes movement easier .Infact this is ideal for horse riding ( which is what the warrior queens did) , working in farms etc
- It makes you nimble.Draping the sari requires bending and twisting which gives you the daily dose of stretching.It is no wonder then that my grandmother wore it till her dying day
- One size truly fits all- a regular 6 yard sari might become a tad ‘small’ if your girth increases. A 9 yard sari gives more room /leeway for expansion.
How to wear the Nine Yard
I would be fascinated by the way my grandma deftly made the pleats for the front , twirled as she draped the sari round her waist, held the pleats in place with her chin holding it to her chest as she twisted to the side to knot the sari in place.
She would raise her left leg and deftly pull up the loose end between her legs and secure it at the waist .
Then she would roll up the top end of the pleated panel and secure it with a ‘pouch’ at the waist. after flinging the palloo over her left shoulder, she would keep her legs shoulder width apart while she bent down and chose a pleat from the middle of the bunch of pleats.
Bending still further she would pass one end of the pleat through her legs, twist to the right and grab it with the other hand , pull it to the top and make tiny pleats which were tucked at the waist .
This last bit was tucked so that the borders ran downcast the centre in a neat line and over the pallu so that it was secure and in place so didn’t flap around at the back.
This sounds complicated and strange to anyone who hasn’t seen this sari being draped and honestly, I would have liked to put up a video demonstrating this process.
However , I’m running short of time so I’m posting this video off the net. Of course granny would have winced but till I put up a video post this will have to do.
The only other people who wear this kind of a sari are the fisherwomen, farmers and the few women who still work around the house. It is a pity really because this is not only an elegant garment but by far the most convenient…..
The Nine Yard sari is worn by women in the South too but I can’t find a good video to show how they do it.
Disclaimer : Once again I reiterate that I am either a textile designer , engineer or historian. I’m merely fascinated by the weaves and textures of our traditional textiles. So please do forgive and errors or omissions .
Hope you had a great Easter.
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