November 2008


Did you read Part 1 and the Intro? Dont skip ahead, read it now.

For this section I’m providing some “must”s. I will add on to it as I think of it and I will provide I link so you dont have to keep checking back. I will fix some of the crappy phone photos in time.

  • joannMy favorite place to go is Jo-Ann fabrics. Everything is reasonably priced and there is so much variety! My second runner up is Michael’s. Michaels is great for beads and yarn and ribbon but unfortunately no fabric! So I usually head to Jo-Ann’s for my fabric. Whatever little knick-knacks I cant find there, I head to Michaels
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Be flexible and be creative! You wont always find exactly what you want and thats okay. For example, I couldnt find my leaf sequins. So instead of throwing a hissy-fit I decided to go with some little oval rhinestones, which I think look even better than the sequins. Originally, I wanted to make sequin flowers, but then I found some rhinestone flowers and they were so perfect! So even if everything doesnt go exactly to plan, its okay. Dont freak out

  • Please dont shop online unless the website is well known and reliable, you are not on a time crunch and whatever you buy is returnable. Because sometimes it looks cute in the picture, and when you get it 5 weeks later, you dont remember what you saw in those 12 yards of swirly green and pink batik fabric.
  • Get more than you need. Its always good to get a little more than you need. Why? you’re going to mess up. I mess up all the time. And having to go all the way back to the store is time consuming and you could run the risk of your fabric being out of season by the time you get there. Usually I get between 1-2 yards depending on the outfit. I know that I could make a whole outfit with about 1/2 yard but again, play it safe. Same is true for trim, except it doesnt really have seasons, but it can run out, so do buy more than you may need. I buy about 4-5 yards.
  • kdk_0031Sewing machine- invest in one and learn how to use it. A sewing machine is a time saver. It doesnt have to be anything expensive, mine cost close to $300. If you cant afford one, thats okay. But it will take you much much longer to sew your outfit. I went for years without one and now I suffer with serious backache.
  • kdk_0034Fabric scissors- A true dressmaker has a pair of fabric scissors that they use ONLY for fabric. I stress this because if you use these scissors for anything else, they will wear down and you will be sad. Save yourself the emotional torture. Save your fabric scissors FOR FABRIC ONLY. I have a fancy pair here that cost me around $50 (more or less, I cant remember) and they last a very very long time compared to other scissors.
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Fray check- this is a godsend. You put this at the end of your fabric so it doesnt fray and it’s wonderful. You may or may not need this but I love it and I always make sure to keep a couple bottles. Oh, and no, this is not supposed to replace sewing in the ends of your outfits, you will still sew it in, but your outfit will look nicer for longer if you make sure to drizzle some of this stuff on the ends. Oh and the $6.30 that they show on there is for two bottles, not just one.

  • kdk_00331Fabric glue- aka “liquid stitch” a new addition to my “must have”s. This is for the rhinestones. If there is no way for you to sew it on, use a little fabric glue and its on there pretty tightly, this glue is much better than other glue because its thicker, other glues fail because they dont stick well with porous material. Please dont replace sewing in your trim with gluing it in.That is not what this is for and you will regret it later.
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  • Something cool to look at when you are shopping for fabric- check out the sari/brocade fabric. Its GORGEOUS! If you want a fancy look without exhorting too much effort then look no further! Do try to get it on sale or clearance though since it runs about $10.00/yard. Ouch.
  • before you make your dress, do measure your Deites and make a scrap outfit. This way, you dont have to run to your Deites every five seconds to make sure its long/short/small/big enough for Them.

Thats all I can think of….for now…

For some reason, my husband really liked the Deity dressing for this week so Im posting a few pics. I love them, they’re gorgeous. I feel like one of those parents that make you look at the 58764453 pictures of their kids watching tv. But I dont care. The last pics is of the Deities on Sunday, Sri-Sri Nitai Gauranataraj, and one of Nitai specifically so you can see how super captivating He is. You can totally see why I enjoy making jewelry stuff for them, with a sweet sweet face like that, how can you not?! I dont know why some pics are sideways so just turn your head to look at them.

Part 2 of my dressmaking tutorial is coming soon!

Oh, and Guru Maharaj is coming soon! Aaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh!!!!!!!

Introduction

So you want to learn how to make Deity dresses? No? Too bad, Im showing you anyway. I did try to start a little business custom making Deity dresses but frankly, making outfits take a really long time, and its even more difficult doing it on my own. So Im showing you how to do it on your own.

Why does making your own Deity outfits beat buying them?

  • It fits your Deities perfectly- Who would want to wear an outfit that is too big/too small/scratchy etc? Given that your first outfit probably wont be perfect, but the more you practice, the better you’ll get.
  • One of a kind- You will probably never find a dress like the one you make, which makes it really special.
  • Good for your devotion- You’re constantly meditating on what outfit will look good on your Deities, the way they are dressed, and you’re doing a wonderful service.
  • I’ve noticed that for any nice outfit, you have to go to India- usually Vrindavan, and whatever people sell on the internet is usually too cheap looking and generic for the very expensive price. When you make your own, YOU choose what kind of fabric you use, the design,and style.

Now, I am not a professional. I never took any classes or anything. So what Im saying may differ from what others say. Just trying to be helpful.

Part One– What are you making?

This is the question that you should ask yourself. Who are you dressing? Radha-Krishna? Gaura-Nitai? Jagannath-Baladev-Subhadra? These lessons will be geared toward Radha Krishna since, well, thats what I have. Items that Radha-Krishna wear are:

  • Radha
    • Head covering
    • blouse
      • this can be either long sleeved or short sleeved
    • skirt
  • Krishna
    • chaddar
    • blouse
      • can be short sleeved, long sleeved, or maybe he doesnt need a shirt at all depending on the season.
    • Belt
      • or sometimes its just a piece of cloth tied around his waist, either way, I think its necessary because it keeps the dhoti on nice and snug and accents Krishna’s hips.
    • dhoti
      • Sometimes Krishna wears a type of dress with pants on, but for the purposes of simplicity, I am not showing how to make that outfit. At least, not yet.

So now what? Now decide what you would like the outfit to look like. This goes one of two ways. You have an idea in your head and you purchase the fabric accordingly, or you already have a fabric and you’re trying to figure out what to do with it. If you have no clue what you want to do, look at some Deity pictures, find one that inspires you, something you can see your Deities wearing. Maybe for your first outfit you dont want to do too many fancy things, you might want to go with fabric and a border. The more dresses you make, the fancier it will be and the more risks you’ll be willing to take.

Got it figured out? Cool. Make a drawing. You dont have to be an artist, just draw what you’d like it to look like. This way you can see what it looks like physically and figure out what you need to make your idea a reality. Do you need trim? Are you using beads? Embroidery? What type if design are you doing? Draw it. I know what you’re thinking, “Prema, I’ve got it in my head, I dont need to draw it.” I’ll tell you something, I’ve been making Deity dresses for years now and you have no idea how much money and time I have wasted on ugly dresses. If I took a few minutes to draw it and color it, I could have seen that a brown and tan dress doesnt look so hot together. Or that the yellow and blue dress I made, no matter what I add to it, still continues to be an ugly dress.

So here’s what I’ve got.

photo-6

I have no idea why this picture turned out inverted since thats not how I drew it. Just imagine that the Deities are on their respective sides. This is a two layered yellow dress with silver designs. I once heard that Srila Prabhupada loved this color combination for the Deities.

Im going to need:

  • yellow fabric
  • silver fabric
  • thick silver trim
  • thin silver trim
  • silver and white sequins
  • leaf sequins (if I can find them)
  • silver thread
  • silver cord
  • probably some beads

Okay, now you’re ready to go to the store!