Sunday, January 27, 2013

Sari Dress

Happy Australia Day! I think I can still technically wish all and sundry that, since we're in between the actual day and the actual public holiday (celebrated on Monday - say what you will, we Australians do love our three-day-weekends).

I've been wavering a little as to how to 'classify' this dress - it is a refashion, but since it's a refashion from an old sari (which let's face it, is really just a length of fabric) there's really not a whole lot of imagination involved. Maybe I'll chalk it up as both.... Here 'tis:

The sari itself was beautiful - silk, with a gold/mustard floral main print down the centre, with a cream printed border then a red outer one. And having worn this to work on a 37deg day (which Mr Google tells me is 98.6 Farenheit) I can confidently state that it's as light as air to wear!

Much as I adore yellow and all her tonal friends, it's not really the ideal shade for me - not around my face, anyhow. (I tend to get asked sympathetically if I'm feeling alright :/ ). I thought I could just about get away with it if I used the red at the neckline though. (In your face, Colour Me Beautiful!) I used Simplicity 4072 as a starting point, and reshaped the bodice and armholes so it was fitted. I widened the midriff band so as to make use of the cream border as well.

The front bands took a bit of working out. The pattern piece is straight up from the midriff, then angles back  and curves along the neckline. The red border, obviously, does neither of these. I managed to place the upper, longer curved part so that it didn't lose the red pattern, but the straight front was more of a problem. I ended up making the each band into two pieces, and sewing them together at the point the pattern angles. While I don't love having an extra seam there, I'm pretty happy with how I matched the pattern.

The back bands needed slightly different treatment. I ended up cutting an extra piece for each of the cotton voile lining, gathering along each side of the red border print, then positioning it on the extra piece and sewing it down. And I felt pretty smug about matching the pattern at the shoulder seams too!


Pride goes before a fall however - I completely forgot to match up the pattern on the side midriff seams. Oops. Although I think I'd be pretty miffed if I had spent the time to, because when I tried it on I had to take it in a bit anyway - my mock up fabric obviously wasn't the best choice for accuracy, I guess...

WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED FROM THIS:  The only thing I'd do differently if I were making it again would be to do extra lining pieces for the front bodice bands as well as the back. The back just sits a lot better I think. The silk itself is so light that I think it could do with that little extra bit of weight at the neckline. It's a small complaint though, and since I can very happily live with it as is I'm not about to dismantle the front to fix it.

The best thing about this dress for me is that it actually fills a wardrobe gap.  We have a couple of 40+ degree days every summer - even in south-eastern Australia - and coming up with outfits that are a bit dressier in really hot weather is a bit of challenge. So tick that one off the list!

Have a wonderful week :)


  1. This is gorgeous! Wearing the red at the neck is a good tip. Yellow can be really difficult to wear!

  2. Oh, can't it though! It's got me wondering about other colours I've assumed to be off-limits - I have a feeling my fabric options just widened enormously...

  3. This dress is gorgeous! I love the colors and prints, and it's very flattering on you. What pattern did you use?

    1. Thanks! I used Simplicity 4072 as a starting point and played around with it a bit. I made the bodice fitted and sleeveless, put a zip in at the back and cut the skirt to View B length without the contrast band. It's a very forgiving pattern!

    2. Oh wow, I actually have that pattern! I've never made it though, and might have traded it to my mom... but now I will definitely give it another look!

  4. This looks awsm...iv just been handed some B'ful vintage silk sarees frm my mils collection...nd this is a wonderful pattern to start with ..could u please share some more;)