Bought a new saree and thinking of pairing it up with an interesting printed blouse? Or perhaps you’re borrowing your mother’s 20-year-old kanjeevaram for Diwali and desperately need to find that elusive blue and red double shade to get stitched. Whatever your situation, this list of shops is certain to come to your rescue!
Blouses For Sarees Or Fabric For Dresses: Hit Up These Fabric Shopping Spots In Chennai
Kairasi, long considered the Mecca of matching blouse pieces, is one place you can rest assured you’ll find something you are looking for. Walk along Pondy Bazaar’s crowded pavement and enter this decades-old establishment, and you’d think a rainbow has descended (and exploded into a million hues) in this shop. The service is astounding; give the gentleman behind the counter your saree, and he disappears in the back for 30 seconds and comes back with a material in a matching shade you couldn’t have imagined possible — in butter silk, raw silk, two-by-two or pure silk.
Choose also from brocades — real and imitation — and reams of blended fabric. Bandhani and screen printed cotton are also available at very low costs, perfect for everyday kurtas or low-stakes saree blouses you can risk giving to a roadside tailor! The shop is best accessed by public transport as parking can be a hassle.
To enjoy fabric browsing and shopping in luxury, Nalli 100 is your destination. Spread across a huge area, it is well laid out and flooded with natural light, so you know you’re not buying what you think is a deep blue and ending up with electric purple. Nalli 100 is renowned for its collection of semi and real raw silk, fabrics slightly coarse and boasting a dull, understated luster which add regality and class to any outfit. The brocades astound with their diversity and are perfect for that vintage royalty look you’ve been dreaming of (ever since you saw the recent Sabyasachi campaigns!). Nalli has valet parking too, so enjoy the perks!
Besant Nagar’s wayside shops are quite the popular destination for mill and handloom fabric. At the foot of Chennai’s favourite Eden lie a number of shops selling ikat, mangalagiri and blended synthetics. The ikat is coarse and thick, recommended more for use as cushion covers or apparel for cooler times, and very affordable. Fabric here may not be of the highest quality, but is good enough for a season’s use and throw. When you’re done, buy some gypsy neckpieces to go with your new purchases (or spend a happy half-hour browsing) as the translucent beads glimmer by the lanterns set up nearby.
If you’re in Egmore, visit Pantheon Road, which has earned the title of Chennai’s Fashion Street. While, pre-matched suits and readymade tops are on offer, it’s the fabric that is certain to draw you in. Choose from metres and metres of cotton, synthetic, handloom and mill material in stripes, checks, motifs, quirky prints and charming florals. These fabrics are best used as home linen — for upholstery purposes, as curtains, cushion covers, bedsheets for the children’s room, or to get quilts made out of. They’re cheap, and roadside shopping is always fun!
Another option for the T-Nagar loyalist is Colours Choice. After you’re done buying your sarees from Kumaran, Nalli or RMKV, stop over at this Pondy Bazar favourite for affordable matching material in two-by-two, mangalagiri, pure silk, silk cotton and printed cottons. They also have ready-made apparel and semi-stitched salwar-kameezes in their now-swanky multi-storey shop, but it’s fabric that it remains popular for.
If you’re in Mylapore, visit a shop very literally (and charmingly) called Gani Matching Centre for all your blouse material needs.