How I designed my sangeet lehenga

By Hand On The Hip - 6/24/2018


What's happenin', folks? It's nearly July already! That reminds me - it has been over six months since I got married and you know all about my love story, bits and pieces about my wedding look and post-marriage advances as well. And today's post is something that's very special to my heart. As a kid, I have always wanted to become a fashion designer, but somehow things didn't work in my favor because I chose to join the rat race and become a software engineer instead - more on that story in a later post, maybe? Anyway, a part of that unfulfilled dream came true when I designed my sangeet lehenga from scratch. You could say that this was my first major successful project. While it was a whole lot of fun, it was also quite a task. When all the wedding shopping started, I was looking for newbie designers I could buy a ready-made or a custom-made piece from, but none of the designs in my budget seemed appealing enough. Moreover, it seemed impractical to be spending truckloads of money on a shimmery lehenga that would just rot in my wardrobe for the rest of my life. That's when I decided to reverse engineer the whole process!

I can't even explain to you how exciting the whole project was considering this is my true passion. Just writing about it makes me so happy, you can only image the joy I experienced when it actually happened! Every tiny piece of this outfit has been handpicked and put together to create this look. Thankfully, it wasn't a disaster and I am actually surprised with the result! For those of you who loved and appreciated the whole look - thank you so much! And for those of you who want to design their own lehenga and save lakhs and thousands of rupees - I am obviously going to share every little detail of my little design project.

Find a store that sells unstitched material
A friend of mine recommended Mysore Saree Udyog, Bangalore to pick up some material. My parents and I spent nearly 2-3 hours, mixed and matched everything possible and finally ended up with material for the skirt, blouse and dupatta. I also picked up another blouse material from a store called Noor's in City Centre, Mangalore.

Decide the colors you want to go with
I was totally obsessed with mint green and baby pink. I started looking for pieces that were of the color of my choice. Although baby pink didn't seem all that impressive in that store, I picked up light orange mesh with sequins and a light orange with silver design brocade material for the skirt, a dull-ish mint green and gold design brocade material for the blouse and a bright mint green mesh dupatta with bright pink borders. Since it's your wedding, you should pick bright colors that make you stand out.

Pick out fabric that you like and suits you
Mesh has become quite popular of late. Brocade is another fabric that's elegant and stylish for a blouse. So if you can see, my blouse is brocade and my skirt and dupatta are mesh. If you are looking for a more royal look, then velvet is an option you should explore. 

Design a pattern on a piece of paper
You don't need a degree to become a fashion designer! I wanted elbow length sleeves with boat neck so that all elders are happy and they're so in trend right now along with a fully embroidered back, so I decided to sketch that out for my tailor. I am not a big fan of can-can, so I went with a flowy umbrella skirt and wanted to have an elastic band. 

Pick a good tailor
This is the most important aspect of designing your own clothes. You already know how the tailor I first went to mercilessly ruined my blouse. You can check it out here. They also used a string instead of an elastic band for my skirt without consulting me. My heart was shattered when I saw what had been done and I had to immediately purchase a backup blouse and find another tailor. However my last minute blouse turned out to be a big hit, so I'm not complaining. This time I decided to pick out a really bright pink for the blouse and kept it simple with some mirror work.

Comfort is more important than you know
Sangeet function requires the bride to constantly be on her toes. I had to make sure that I don't pop a button or slip and fall on stage. I chose patterns that are uber comfy and I could gallop in my lehenga if I wanted to! Also, ensure that you're in the most comfortable heels you could possibly find.

Have a budget in mind and work around it
I went a little over budget because of the tailor fiasco, but otherwise this is the most affordable option for those of you who don't wanna spend too much on wedding outfits and have some time to spare. 

Get all the embellishments ready
The dupatta and the string on the skirt needs those hangy ball thingies. It's better to pick them out yourselves instead of letting the tailor make that choice for you. You can also buy embroidered patches if you don't trust your tailor with the embroidery. The belt thingy around my waist is also something I picked up at a random store because Tailor No. 1 decided to go against my design and stitch a horrendous looking waist belt with strings. To hide the hideousness of the skirt, I got this sequined belt that goes well with the skirt's border at the bottom. 

Look at magazines or the internet for inspiration
I had no idea how my lehenga would end up looking. I looked around quite a bit before I chose the colors I did. Don't copy someone else's design, but try to come up with something spectacular by looking at what the professionals are doing.

Accessorize like a pro
Once you're entire lehenga is ready, get matching accessories or whatever is in trend. That makes a massive difference and always remember to keep it clean, elegant and simple. Less is more is a concept that one needs to never forget!

Makeup and hair is super important
Of course, your makeup game should be on top of everything. I have already written a complete post on how I did my own makeup. You can find it here. Pick colors that go with the lehenga and if you're lehenga is too grand, keep the makeup light and use pinkish hues.

Overall, it was exhausting because the tailor did a horrendous job in the beginning. I must have spent (rather my mom must have spent) around 20-25K for the whole look. Had the first blouse turned out okay, I'd have saved at least 8-10K. But the second blouse seemed to do a better job than the first, what do you think?

I've had so much fun doing this that I am completely open to designing lehengas for anyone who wants some help with the same. After all, you don't get to be Sabyasachi everyday now, do you?

Hand On The Hip

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