Threads Logo Threads Logo Facebook Email Pinterest Twitter Instagram YouTube Icon Headphones Icon Favorite Navigation Search Icon Forum Search Icon Main Search Icon Close Icon Video Play Icon Indicator Arrow Icon Close Icon Hamburger/Search Icon Plus Icon

Sari Silk

Threads magazine - 131 – June/July 2007
Article Image

A sari, or “saree,” is full of surprises. The simple 6- to 9-yard length of unstitched cloth offers a limitless medley of colors, intricate patterns, and garment styles. You can drape it, without a single stitch or pin, into 100-plus styles—from elaborate gowns to simple skirts, even trousers or shorts.


Although a sari garment is untailored, the fabric itself is highly structured. Two long borders frame the main field and run the length of the approximately 45- by 216-inch rectangle. A 1- to 3-foot border at one end—called the “pallu” or “pallav”—presents the most decoration and is prominently displayed on the body. The plain end is concealed inside the wrap when worn.

Cotton and nylon saris are worn for common, everyday activities. Hand-loomed silk saris are limited to special occasions, as it typically takes two or three individuals up to 10 days to weave. Gossamer silks, like the one shown here, are so fine, in fact, that the entire length can pass through a finger-ring. Even fancier saris include embroidery, beading, “zari” gold- or silver-dipped threads, or “sheeshadar” mirror work.

Probably the oldest garb in the history of mankind, the sari—which dates back to 2800 b.c.—is traditionally layered over a cropped blouse, or “choli,” and a “lehnga” petticoat. We can only guess that the enduring success of the dress is due to its timeless simplicity, comfort, and many creative possibilities.

Sources Fine Fabrics

Sari, like the one featured on the back cover, can be found at:

To learn more, read:

  • The Sari by Mukulika Banjerjee and Daniel Miller (Berg Publishers, 2004)
  • The Sari by Linda Lynton (Thames & Hudson, 2002)
  • Saris: An Illustrated Guide to the Indian Art of Draping by Chantall Boulanger (Shakti Press International, 1997)

Photos: Scott Phillips. Text by Jennifer Sauer

Sign up for the Threads eletter

Get the latest including tips, techniques and special offers straight to your inbox.

Sign Up

Threads Insider

Get instant access to hundreds of videos, tutorials, projects, and more.

Start Your Free Trial

Already an Insider? Log in

Subscribe to Threads today

Save up to 37% and get a free gift


Log in or create an account to post a comment.

More From Threads

Discussion Forum

Recent Posts and Replies

  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |

Threads Insider Exclusives

View All
View All


  • Sign up for the Threads eletter

    Get the latest including tips, techniques and special offers straight to your inbox.

    Sign Up
  • SewStylish


    Take a look inside the pages of SewStylish Spring 2017.