7 Effortless Saree Draping Tutorials That Will Make You Look Like A Pro January 17, 2017

Are you a beginner looking for help? Or, a saree veteran scouting for different styles? Newly married and a novice? We’ve got you covered. Let’s go over a few step-by-step guides that will help you turn into a saree virtuoso.

Indian wedding themes have been the fad in the Western world, and for all the right reasons. In fact, not just weddings, but Hollywood celebrities have been donning the desi look for magazine cover photos, red carpets, and even on runways.

The established saree draping styles have also evolved and taken a million forms, apart from the infamous and standard draping styles like the Gujarati, Marathi, Bengali, Andhra, Kerala, etc. Again, there are those modern draping methods like the mermaid, lehenga, butterfly, etc. that have become popular lately. Irrespective of the style and type, a saree brings grace and style like no other.

How To Wear Saree Perfectly?

Here is what you need to get started:


The absolute must-haves

1. Saree
2. Blouse
3. Petticoat
4. Safety pins


Beauty is in the details, and accessories round off this perfect ensemble.

1. Shoes
2. Bindi
3. Saree rouche or other embellishments
4. Bangles
5. Earrings
6. Hair accessories

1. Nivi Or Andhra Style


This is probably the most popular, yet simple style for draping a saree. It is straightforward and uncomplicated – the perfect choice for a beginner. Get ready to be impressed by your own draping skills at the end of this tutorial with this figure-flattering look.

Step-By-Step Guide

  1. Ensure that you’re wearing the petticoat (skirt that matches the saree color) and it’s firmly tied at the waist. You’re going to tuck most part of the six yards into this, and thus, this needs to be done right.
  2. If you plan to wear high heels, do that before you start draping – this will get you the ideal length and prevent you from tripping over your own pleats.
  3. Start from the plain (non-pallu) end, and tuck in the fag end just near the belly button. Continue to swaddle from the left side, and complete the round from behind till you reach the point where you first started.
  4. Yank the saree to the front and begin the pleats roughly about the size of the finger stretch from forefinger to the thumb. Make anywhere between 5-8 pleats, depending on the material.
  5. Stow the pleats into the skirt and secure with a safety pin towards the left side of the waist. This trick will help the saree stay intact when you move about.
  6. This leaves you with the pallu. You now have a choice of either letting it flow (short or long floating) or pleating it together.
  7. For a floating look, all you need to do is bring the pallu towards the left side of your shoulder, from under the right arm, and pin it on the left shoulder. Hold it either at the forearm or leave it till the end. It’s a matter of choice, really.
  8. For the pleated look, bring the pallu from under the right arm and make vertical pleats (about 5-6 inches) with the border (if any) being the first pleat. Continue along the breadth of the saree.
  9. Now, pin it near the left side shoulder, but ensure there is at least one meter left.

This style is the basis for most of the other styles, so master this, and you’re well on your way to being a perfectionist in saree draping. Watch the illustration video below, maybe a couple of times, and you’re sorted.

Video Tutorial: youtube.com

2. Bengali Style


Don’t be bogged down by the end result and consider this complicated. You will have to trust us when we say that this is much easier than the Nivi style. It is very common for traditional Bengalis to sport this style, and it is not very difficult for a non-Bengali to pull it off. Besides, the hand-loomed Bengal cotton sarees are to die for. However, a lightweight cotton saree is a close second. With the big red bindi, and white and red bangles, this style needs little or no accessories – it is sheer elegance and a stand-alone beauty.

Step-By-Step Guide

  1. The basis for Bengali saree draping is the same for all the styles, so follow the first three steps as per Style 1 (Nivi style).
  2. The pleats work slightly differently for this style. Unlike the traditional one, these are called box pleats, essentially because they are broad.
  3. Start from the plain (non-pallu) end, and tuck the fag end just near the belly button. Continue to swaddle from the left side and complete the round from behind till you reach the point where you first started.
  4. Now, begin to make broad pleats that start at the left side of your belly button and fold it in a way that it ends at the right leg.
  5. Pay attention to the length of the pleats and that it levels with the ground.
  6. You just need two pleats for this style – flatten them and tuck it away into the skirt.
  7. Pin them if you prefer, but camouflage in a way that the safety pins don’t protrude.
  8. Now, bring the saree in front of you and make svelte pleats just about the size of the border.
  9. Leave the pallu and length of the saree till it touches the ground. You could probably use clips to keep the pleats intact.
  10. Take the right side border of the first pleat and stretch it to the other end. Pin it there if you prefer.
  11. All you need now is to pull the bottom part of the pleated pallu and toss it over your shoulder, from underneath your right armhole.
  12. You can accessorize the tip with an ornament like jeweled keys.

Video Tutorial: youtube.com

3. Marathi Style


Image: Source

This traditional Marathi style saree draping makes for a rustic and country-chic look, if done well. A look that is going to have some heads turning and will give you the much-needed attention. Unlike the other styles, this needs a nine-yard saree and not the regular six yards. Plus, you also do not need an underskirt, although most of them wear either shorts or knee-length leggings. Wear the nose ring, which is also called the ‘nathni’, tie your hair in a chignon updo, wrapped in jasmine flowers, and flaunt glass bangles and temple jewelry.

Step-By-Step Guide

  1. Start with the saree behind you, and hold the plain end of the saree in your left hand.
  2. Leaving about a little less than a yard at the left end, tie a knot at the right side of the waist, above the belly button.
  3. Now, take the shorter end of the loose end, and yank it from between your legs. Make thin pleats (if needed) and tuck it at the back. Pin it so that it stays untouched.
  4. Run your fingers along the remaining width of the saree, making pleats. Pull it over from under your right arm and securely pin it on the left shoulder.
  5.  You will now be left with the length that is just enough for the pleats. Tuck these over the knot near the waist, slightly towards the left.
  6. Remember that the Marathi style sarees are an inch above your feet, anything higher or lower than this might spoil the look.

Video Tutorial: youtube.com

4. Kerala Style


Image: Source

One of the most elegant looking sarees that has become a thing, and not just at traditional Kerala weddings. An interesting change from the regular bridesmaid’s attire, perhaps. This conventional handloom saree originated in an off-white and gold border combination, but is now available in myriad shades (for the border). If you’re considering this for your girl tribe, they can each select a contrast color for the blouse and jazz it up.

Step-By-Step Guide

  1. This style gives you a two-piece (half-saree) output that is a staple for Kerala saree draping.
  2. Place the entire saree behind you and bring one end from the left side and the remaining to the right side of your body, as shown in the video below.
  3. Make about two broad pleats, and ensure the gold border sticks out. Tuck this at the waist.
  4. There are not many pleats for this style, unlike the others. So, neatly adjust these before you move to the next step.
  5. Take the remaining part of the saree and make thin pleats with the pallu border on the left.
  6. Secure the pleats with a safety pin at the left side of your shoulder. This style does not need you to pull it from underneath your right hand arm.
  7. Now, take the right end of the pleated bunch and pull it from under your right arm.
  8. Bring this to the left side and tuck it near the belly button.
  9. Iron out any parts of the saree that seem to be standing out, and viola!

Video Tutorial: youtube.com

5. Retro/Mumtaz Style


Bring back the retro look in style, we could all use some drama! Especially the die-hard Bollywood fans. It is very easy to pull off. For sangeet or mehendi parties, or any Bollywood themed house parties, this is pure fun. Let’s reminisce the good old times and hum the superhit number of the time – ‘Aaj kal tere mere pyar ke‘ – and slay it in style.

Step-By-Step Guide

  1. To begin with, we’d say a chiffon or a georgette saree with a thin border works best because of its form-fitting texture.
  2. A sequinned blouse can be worn to compensate for the relatively simple saree.
  3. Do the basic round of tucking the saree around your waist.
  4. Start pleating, but make just a couple of them. Secure by tucking them below your belly button.
  5. Take the remaining part of the saree and toss it around your waist like the initial round, except you need to do the tuck at least above four or five inches from the first one.
  6. Make another round, and this time the tuck needs to be five inches above the second level.
  7. With the remaining part of the saree, make thin vertical pleats just like the Nivi style. From beneath your right arm, pin it up near the left side of your shoulder.
  8. You’re all set to rock the party!

6. Mermaid Style


Another charming choice for new brides, it is sheer elegance. This style complements the half and half sarees the most; a pallu that is embellished is even better. If you want to flaunt your hourglass figure or curves, this is your best bet.

Step-By-Step Guide

  1. Do the basic first round of neatly tucking the non-bordered part of the saree around the waist.
  2. Leave about an inch and secure it at the waist. This style needs no pleats.
  3. The remaining material will go around the waist. But first, tuck the beginning of the border at the left side of your waist, beside the belly button.
  4. Swing the remaining around and bring it to the front.
  5. Start making vertical pleats. They need to be as thin as the border. Put this over the right shoulder and let it fall in the front just a few inches above the floor, as shown below.
  6. If any part of the saree is remaining, tuck it all into the saree skirt without making any pleats; it should rather look like a skirt.
  7. Now, take the left end of the pallu and yank it towards the left side shoulder. Pull it from beneath the arm.
  8. Pull it under the pallu and pin it along with the inner skirt.

This graceful style of saree draping can effortlessly make you look like a pro.

Video Tutotial : youtube.com

7. Lehenga Style


Ditch the boring traditional draping and don your saree in a celebratory style. You will be pleasantly surprised to realize how easy it is to pull off a lehenga style just with the regular sarees in your closet. Georgette or chiffon works best for this style for obvious reasons. Lehenga and the styles associated with it are here to stay, so let’s get to it and learn the techniques.

Step-By-Step Guide

  1. Do the basic first round of neatly tucking the non-bordered part of the saree around the waist.
  2. When you’re done doing the first round of draping, toss it around the back, leaving some part of the fabric for the pleats.
  3. This style does not have any pleats at the front – they are made at the back. It is the back pleats that give the illusion of the saree being a lehenga.
  4. With the remaining part of the saree, make vertical pleats like you would for the Nivi style.
  5. Fling them to the back from over your left shoulder and secure with a safety pin.
  6. Pull the right side of the pleated pallu towards the right shoulder, and hurl it behind to ensure it is all intact in the front.
  7. Pleat the remaining material at the back and tuck it inside your inner skirt.

It’s just as simple as that, so go ahead, give this a try. Practice it a couple of times, just in case.

Video Tutorial: youtube.com

Wearing a saree should no longer intimidate you. Now that you know how to wear saree perfectly, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and try these styles. Let us know which ones you liked the most by commenting in the box below.

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