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:
- Head covering
- this can be either long sleeved or short sleeved
- can be short sleeved, long sleeved, or maybe he doesnt need a shirt at all depending on the season.
- 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.
- 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.
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!