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Evening wear from a saree

markenmac2 | Posted in General Discussion on

I briefly scanned the current discussions and didn’t see anything about this…I must attend an event the first week of October and it requires a dressy outfit.  I have two beautiful sarees that I bought in India and thought I would use one of them as fabric for this outfit.  Has anyone done this?  What did you make?  I just can’t seem to get inspired.  I am not willing to buy something off the rack.  I must have sleeves, and prefer a top and a skirt, so that I can use each one later on as part of another outfit.  I know there must be a way to use the border part of the saree in an inspired way.  Any ideas out there?  I am a fairly experienced sewer…the inspiration bug just isn’t biting right now.   Thanks!

Edited 9/6/2007 9:52 pm ET by markenmac2

Edited 9/6/2007 9:52 pm ET by markenmac2


  1. jjgg | | #1

    Saree fabric is usually very thin, and does well layered over another fabric to give it body. The border print can be used along the neckline ("V" neck- you would have to have a center front seam, and the fabric would be on the bias, but this shouldn't be a problem if you underline it with a substantial fabric.

    You could make a pleated or gathered skirt (dirndl)to wear under the over tunic (top) with the border at the hem. Or you could run the border down the length of the skirt (floor length) off center in the front and have a slit part way up at the border.

  2. suesew | | #2

    I made my Mother of the Bride dress out of a sari. It was a slim fitting dress - kind of a tank top style which was fully lined. Then I made a loose flowing jacket, unlined, out of the rest. I was able to use the border print around the bottom of the jacket. I serged around the edges of scraps and appliqued them to the jacket front edge for a little trim. They were shaped a little like leaves and the fabric was pretty orange - but this was for September.

    1. markenmac2 | | #3

      That's a great idea about the leftover pieces...surging and then sewing them on as appliqued trim.  I hate to cut either of these sarees up and not make optimal use of them.  One of them is very light weight.  I think I will go today and see what interesting things happen when I try different lining colors...seems like that was the subject of a Threads article in the last year or two. 

  3. Teaf5 | | #4

    What is the length and width of each sari (I read this somewhere but have forgotten), and do the two pieces coordinate with each other--that is, could you use both in one outfit?  How wide is the border, and is it along just one side?

    With those dimensions, you could search pattern books for border-print patterns for inspiration, and maybe some of us could come up with more specific ideas.  I recently designed a dressy top to be made from a sarong--two meters/yards of fringed rayon about 50 inches wide.  I haven't cut the sarong yet, but the design interests me--sketching is a calming activity on my too-short lunch breaks.

    1. markenmac2 | | #8

      There are about six yards of silk.   One yard is very decorative.  There other 5 have a 6" wide border running on one side, and a 1" border on the other.   I thought to cut the jacket or fronts for the top, whatever it ends up being, out of the really decorative yard, using the long wide border for the bottom of the skirt and sleeves.  I looked for lining yesterday and wasn't pleased with anything I saw.  Thanks for your response.

      Edited 9/6/2007 7:56 am ET by markenmac2

      1. KathleenFasanella | | #9

        I've used worn saris with mixed results. I used one as a lining in a jacket, it wore poorly lol (the understatement of the year). I used another for some mobius scarf prototypes, that worked nicely altho they haven't seen any usage.

  4. MaryinColorado | | #5

    You might get inspiration from http://www.kaylakennington.com  If you go to the "patterns" section, then choose a pattern, then there is an "invisible arrow" on the middle right of the larger photo so you can view several differnt examples of fabrics and techniques.  I love the Fantasia Jacket that she made for the wedding ensemble. 

    I think a simple tank top and long side slit skirt always looks elegant with a shawl or jacket.  Possibly a velvet jacket with a scarf also of the sari pieces?  The less detail to your pattern would allow the sari fabric more expression. 

    Have fun with this project!  Mary

    1. WandaJ | | #18

      Inspiration was abound throughout Kayla's website. She's done wonderful things with silk using her patterns. I am not that creative in my thinking, but there's sure a lot here to glean from.

      Edited 9/8/2007 9:23 pm ET by WandaJ

      1. MaryinColorado | | #19

        Yes, when you see her website now, it seems to truly reflect her gifts.  This collaboration between Kayla Kennington and David Page Coffin really is incredible! 

        I am one of those people who like to create many styles from the same pattern, or groups of patterns.  Kayla takes that to a whole new level, doesn 't she?  With such a creative artistic mind, I don't know how she can stay focused long enough to complete each ensemble.  She must have an incredibly developed left and right brain function.

        To think she designed circuit boards as well as fiberarts stymies the mind.

        1. markenmac2 | | #20

          I have been trying to get on Kayla Kennington's websote for 3 days and I can't connect to it.  Anyone else having trouble?-Mary


          1. MaryinColorado | | #22

            I've been on her website yesterday and tonight, with no problems.  Hope it works for you next time.  http://www.kaylakennington.com 

            Happy stitching!  Mary

  5. starzoe | | #6

    Threads magazine some time ago had a wraparound skirt that had extensions that went out to the sides. The extensions wrapped to the front and to the back so that although the skirt looked like an ordinary wraparound and could move with walking, there was no opening at all.

    I have used the technique to make skirts out of very lightweight fabric and the advantage is that there are three layers for both back back and front so there is no see-through at all and the skirt is very slimming and floaty. With a little effort I could probably find the issue number if you are interested.

    1. markenmac2 | | #7

      Do you remember what issue this skirt was in?

      1. starzoe | | #12

        I'll look for it today - will get back to you.Edit about a minute later: It's by Issey Miyake and is in Issue #95 pp 66 - 70. It's really a winner. I have taken apart one of those broomstick skirts (from the thrift store) and made one of the above but with only one "wing" and it worked as well.

        Edited 9/6/2007 1:27 pm ET by starzoe

        1. markenmac2 | | #14

          I can't believe this but #95 is missing from my bunch of Threads.  I found it on eBay and have bid on it.  I looked at the winged shirts on the web and it seems like a good direction to go in.  Thanks much for your help and interest.

          1. starzoe | | #15

            Isn't that always the way? I am missing one and wouldn't you know it, the index shows something on that particular one that I need quite often.If you don't get the copy, let me know. I can either scan it if it fits and send it to you, or get it copied and mail it to you. It's worth the trouble.

          2. markenmac2 | | #16

            Thanks so much!  I'll let you know if I don't get it.


          3. markenmac2 | | #21

            I managed to get that #95 on eBay.  I'm excited about this skirt.

  6. BernaWeaves | | #10

    You might want to search vintage clothing websites.  Quite a few dresses were made from saris in the 50's and 60's.   Usually they involve sleeveless fitted tops with the border print worked into the neckline or sleeve area, and dirdle or very pleated bottoms with the border print at the bottom, of course.

    Or you could just make a dirdle skirt and find a dressy beaded knit top to tuck into it.

    Just for ideas:




    The last one isn't a sari, but I like the way the drape goes across the bust and over the shoulder, which would be very similar to the way a sari is worn and show off the border print nicely.

    I know you said you wanted sleeves, and since you are making it, you could add them.


    The sari could be used to make the sheer full length jacket with sleeves, and you could wear a complementary colored long dress underneath.

    And lastly, if  you remember Threads Sept. 2007 issue that came out recently, on page 54 there was an interesting drape on the skirt of the 1940's era dress.  That looked like it might be very interesting done with a length of sari.

    Anyway, I hope some of these ideas help.


    Edited 9/6/2007 9:46 am ET by BernaWeaves

    1. MaryinColorado | | #11

      Oh what fun websites!  Thank You!  I really enjoyed remembering my "hippy" days at the babylon site looking at the "funky dresses".  What a hoot!  Mary

    2. markenmac2 | | #13

      Now we're talking...these websites are great.  I don't spend a lot of time on the net and just am unaware of what all is out there.  Thanks sooooooooooo much!

    3. Stillsewing | | #17

      Thank you so much for those lovely websites. The last one that you included has given me the inspiration to make a useable outfit from a kimona that I bought in japan many years ago and has been in my stash ever since. It was constructed and then embroidered so the coat featured in that beautiful ensemble by Galanos will just about fit the bill, so thank you again.

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