Bollywood has in a sense, set the trend in all kinds of fashions including sarees, and in the past, a caricature that was shown to be from the rural backdrop, a mother or mother in law, was always shown to be wearing what is called often as the ‘seedha palla’ drape. In fact, the seedha pallu which happens to be the most popular manner, in which sarees are traditionally worn in non-tribal parts of Gujarat, became a metaphor for rural style sarees. The fact is that the seedha palla is worn in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh as well. Even amongst the Parsis, who hail originally from Gujarat, sport the same style of draping the saree.
Seen below are two exquisite Parsi Gara sarees draped the way Gujarati sarees usually are.
The women from the southern region of Gujarat bordering Maharashtra, that includes tribals like the Warli, Bhils, and the Dang, who inhabit the area, known mainly as the Saputara region of South Gujarat, wear a short dhoti version of drape that is truly a work woman’s wear in the rural parts of Gujarat.The Dang style is almost like wearing a short dhoti like drape that climbs up to the knees and makes more sense as it is worn by the hardworking tribal community.
Here is one of the most popular of styles from the state of Gujarat that is termed as seedha palla because of the manner in which the pallu drops down from the right shoulder sometimes to a free fall or tucked onto the left side of the waist.
Begin draping the saree by tucking in the non-pallu side on the right. And now take the saree all the way round the waist tucking in at the waist as you go around ensuring the height at the floor level is the same. Caution is necessary if the fabric is heavy silk as the saree tends to drag itself backwards and gets under the feet–so the tucking around with care is necessary. Now take a good length of the saree for pleats and tuck in at the left of the waist.
You will now be in front of the waist. Take the other end or the pallu end of the saree and hold the pallu width wise and pleat very neatly. Hold the pleated pallu and bring it to the back from the left side and then up the right shoulder and allow the pallu to drop at least to the mid-thigh length or right up to the knee and then pin up.
Now you have the pallu in front and the length that you have for the pleats. Begin making pleats neatly and remember that the pleats will be facing the right. Tuck in the pleats into the waist right in front.
Now comes arranging of the pallu. All you need to do is take one end of the pallu and tuck it into the waist towards the right making sure that the place from where the fabric rises at the back, it kind of goes across that.
While in the usual Gujarati style the pallu is tucked at the waist, here you can see that the pallu corner has been pinned up on the blouse thus keeping the back completely covered.
The only variation in this is that instead of step 4 wherein the pallu is made to drop and one corner tucked, all you have to do is make the upper border of the pallu form a sort of V-shaped form at the front and then the corner placed on the left shoulder and pinned there. It looks particularly pretty with tasseled sarees.
This is another kind of seedha palla wherein after step 2 of the typical seedha palla, you take the saree once round your upper torso and then bring the pallu over the right shoulder going on to take the upper corner in V-shaped drop to the left shoulder.
When using an ordinary 6-yard saree this may need lesser numbers of pleats to be able to give you a less bulky appearance at the stomach.
The Gujarati saree drape has achieved a certain amount of fluidity in its traditional style with fashionistas creating further variations with the pallu styling. Essentially the pleating remains the same except that as in the first drape the saree is taken across the midriff rather tightly, making the silhouette all the more crisp and defined, the palu thereafter just pleated as like in accordion pleats. Could be worn with corset top as well.
The second is the black saree given a very long drop pallu and the last one in which a heavy jacket blouse makes the need for too many pleats redundant, thus cutting bulk at the waist and allowing one to have a longer pallu simply dropping from the right shoulder.
Try also these two variations of the Gujarati drape with a long pallu drop as in the white saree worn with a contrasting saree short jacket. Could be worn with peplums as well. The second variation takes it further wherein the pallu drop has been kept in place with a thin brocade belt. Looking at the innovation yet its utter simplicity and brilliance of silhouette, one feels that the Gujarati drape truly has come a long way.
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