Another example of a drape – the south Indian Tamilian madisar. It's a clever garment that makes a pair of trousers along with a cover across the upper body, all out of once piece of cloth 9 yards long.
The madisar can be quite unflattering, but I love how elegant MS Subbalakshmi looks wearing one in this photograph. Standing barefoot on a mud floor beside a tulsi (holy basil) plant outside a house, you wouldn't guess that she was one the most famous south Indian classical singers in India, a legend in her time. The gold odiyanam around her waist, and maybe the fullness of her smile, are the only signs that point to her prosperity. It would have been her 100th birthday on 16th September - more about her in this 20 minute documentary by her granddaughter.
I tried to learn this way of tying a sari from my grandmother, she used to wear one everyday. But by the time I got around to asking she was losing her memory. My mother knows how to wear one but it takes her a bit of memory jogging. I was delighted when she sent me a how-to video on Facebook the other day...haven't tried it yet though. I would have to tie a couple of sarongs together to create a base cloth long enough as I don't have a 9-yard sari with me in London.