For a costume for this performance I had the choice of renting, or making my own, and of course I took on the challenge of making it.
The costume is made up of a number of individual pieces which fit together and kind of give the overall look of a sari (but much more comfortable to dance in). Starting from the top, there's a blouse (I converted a western blouse, which buttons in the front, to a sari blouse, by re-shaping the top, and adding bright gold bands around the sleeves).
Pyjama pants are made with many pleats in them, to allow for comfortable movement (I made mine out of a satin tablecloth, and embellished them with gold bands from a sari).
A pleated fan (mine has 3 layers of fans) hooks onto the pants and opens out nicely in certain half-sitting and sitting dance postures. I made this out of an actual sari (no western fabric I've tried has even come close to pleating as perfectly as the sari fabric).
There's the traditional bindi on the forehead. And the hands, like the feet, are decorated in paint in a traditional pattern (the fingertips are red up to the first knuckle, and a series of dots are drawn on the back of the hand). The bright paint (lipstick, again, in my case) draws attention to the fingers, which are supposed to move in characteristic ways during the dance.