Fabric haul from India!

The place where my great great grandparents came from was a city in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh called Rajahmundry. This is still the place we travel too to see relatives, and one of the first sounds that anounces your imminent arrival in this city is the rythmic clatter of the overnight sleeper train travelling over the metal bridge that spans the second largest river in India, the Godavari, and takes you into Rajahmundry station.

Godavari Bridge

Andhra Pradesh is famed throughout India for its spicy cuisine and Rajahmundry for its production and trade in cloth. In fact, Rajahmundry stands second only to Mumbai in its cloth business. So of course I took the opportunity to visit The Mahatma Gandhi Wholesale Cloth Market in Thadithota to see what I could find!

To be honest I was a little disappointed with the fact that, at least in the shops which we visited, you were not able to buy fabric from the roll. Whilst there was masses of cloth available to buy, the majority of these items were cut into 2.5 metres lengths for salwar/ kameez stitching. Mens tailoring fabrics were the only thing which seemed readily available on the roll.

Nonetheless, I managed to load up with some items.

Red/ gold benares silk
Red/ gold benares silk

The first item is this beautiful benares silk. It has a gold background with little red motifs embroidered all over it, framed in dark brown. I am thinking I might make myself a silk coat to wear for very special occassions 🙂 It has a little bit of weight to it, something like a light brocade. Maybe using Simplicity 1759, view B, with the inseam pockets?

Paisley silk benares
Paisley silk benares

Then another benares silk fabric (they were so cheap! Around £3 a metre…can you believe that price?!) which is a very light gold with darker gold and silver paisley motifs on it. This silk is a little softer. I am imaginging a very posh evening dress. I don’t know when I will ever get to wear it though!

Purple woven spot cotton
Purple woven spot cotton

This purple cotton fabric has metallic spots woven into it. It is actually much darker in real life. You can see it is already being sewn up into a dress for Kezia using Simplicity 2828. I will post about this once done, but you can see I have put some pintucks into the front of the bodice.

Ivory black stripe shirting

Some years ago I was travelling through Copenhagen airport with some clients and one of them took me to a Noa Noa shop where there was a beautiful ruffled wrap dress made out of cotton something like this. I know it looks a little boring right now, but when I have finished I think  it will be fab. And the quality of the cotton is wonderfully thick.

Green/ black border cotton

Wasn’t so sure about this one. But couldn’t resist the price and quality. It will make a nice summer skirt or top.

Cotton churidar set
Cotton churidar set

I got a couple of unstitched churidar/ salwar sets. The first is shown above. A lovely bright blue with black print on it, with a presewn neckline and sleeves to be attached. It comes with a black salwar/ churidar piece (ready for my tutorial when I do it!).

Maroon/ black zari woven churidar set

The second unstitched churidar set is a very dark maroon with gold zari work and black cotton for the churidar.

So lots of fabric and lots of ideas. Now all I need is some time….

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By day I work in the exciting world of pharmaceutical regulatory affairs, registering medicines (!), but by night I turn in to a sewing diva, making all manner of clothes in my beautiful sewing space (which you can tour using the link at the top of this blog). I love how sewing and sewing clothes that fit my curvy body continually challenges me. I enjoy working with all different types of fabric, and whilst I don't like to put restrictions on myself and say I won't buy RTW, the truth is that I probably rarely do buy it, preferring the fit of my own me-made clothes. I love to use natural fibres where ever possible and colourful coats are an obsession of mine! Sewing is both my addiction and my therapy. You can contact me at sewmanju@yahoo.co.uk

6 thoughts on “Fabric haul from India!

  1. Hi Manju,

    Just found you when looking at the LBD contest on PR. Loved reading through your blog posts! And it was fun looking at your fabric haul from India.

  2. I found your blog today and love it! I spent 3 years living in Hyderabad and share your enthusiasm about fabric shopping in India. You really can’t beat the prices and it can certainly make you go overboard!

    Feel free to peruse my own blog posts about fabric shopping in the subcontinent:


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