I Turned A Dhoti+Dupatta Into This Beautiful Lehenga At Zero Cost

by Namrata Nautiyal
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yellow red Sambalpuri silk lehenga

You know how I’ve been MIA for the last couple of months. Well, A. I took a break. Attended couple of family weddings, went on a vacation, and pretty much went on a full on sabbatical, for no particular reason at all. I do that every year, every now and then. So apologies if I’ve missed any of your texts, delayed/missed replying to your messages etc etc. Wasn’t intentional.

But leaving at that aside, today I wanted to talk about a DIY Lehenga, a beautiful lehenga in my opinion and how I went about making it at zero cost.

Just yesterday I got a stinker of a DM from a scorned reader (I believe) asking me, why have I got a blog called Frugal to Fab, if I’m “promoting” Sabyasachi. For a second there I thought should I really take the time to explain the difference between reporting and promoting? Ah, chuck it.

But it got me thinking, she’s got a point right. As a person, I’m anything but luxury inclined when it comes to clothes. In fact, budget and all things hacks, street style is what excites me the most. So why not share some of those insights here with you’ll.

For any of you’ll struggling for ethnic outfits on a budget, this post will help you get some idea.

How I Found The Material For This Lehenga

I had my cousins wedding in Orissa last month, for which I thought wearing a lehenga would be nice. So I browsed through everything I had in my wardrobe, which consisted of crazy number of sarees, and then some more of that. I mean, we all have a ton of sarees, right? Especially if we are the married category of women. So from that pile, I found this one set of material, that was originally a dhoti and shawl set.

In Orissa, traditionally we are quite spiritual, and everyone I know back home prays like zillion times a day and so on. Whenever anybody prays to God, they tend to change outfits and men usually wear this dhoti and shawl combo set.

To give you an idea, the dhoti is nothing but a piece of cloth that is wrapped around in the dhoti format and worn. The shawl is more like a dupatta with a border on either sides, making it dupatta style as well.

This particular set I’ve transformed into a lehenga is a traditional Sambalpuri Odissi silk fabric set. You can alternatively make one using a regular saree as well. The only place where you’ll have to put in some effort is figuring out the lehenga dupatta.

Since a saree pallu is single, you will have to add and cut paste some additional material, laces etc to give a symmetry back and front dupatta design. All you have to do is take the material to any lace shop, and you should be able to find complementing border styles to add.

Outfit Stitching & Blouse Details

Silk is a bit tricky to stitch into a lehenga. Usually, you won’t get the same kind of fall, or flow of the fabric with silk. In my case, my mum stitched the lehenga. Her stitching style was to add the pleats near the waist. I don’t have close up pictures of the outfit, but you can see from the picture above. She did very narrow like 0.5 to 1 cm pleats all through the waist line.

For the lehenga blouse, I repurposed an already existing red saree’s blouse. I had a bunch of red sarees, so it didn’t make sense to make a separate red blouse for each of them. Instead I had this one saree blouse material that was lying around.

I gave the material to the tailor, and got a very basic sleeveless blouse done. He must have charged me no more than 300 bucks for this. No boutique, just a regular tailor.

The yellow red combination was super pop and looked great for the morning wedding. I did a pastel lehenga for the sangeet night, and honestly, pastels stand no chance in front of silk, poppy shades. They have a different look altogether.

P.S. In the past, my mum has also stitched my mehendi outfit from my wedding in less than almost INR 3k budget. If you want to check that out, link is below:

Sangeet + Mehendi Outfit Pictures

Necklace jewellery is from Sadar Bazaar, Gurgaon. I paid 1500 for the neckpiece. Gota-Patti Potli is a gift from Urban Gota

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