An Upcycled Sari

Peeps, my butt is sore from sitting, standing, bending, and sitting again for the last 48 hours as I worked to get this last outfit done for Miss V, who left this morning.  She brought me this sari and wanted something made of it.sariWhat to make?  She’s got a load of dresses and didn’t want any more, but she had been gifted this sari and wanted something made of it.  I immediately though of those Oriental inspired collections in BurdaStyle over the years and suggested a pair of loose trousers and a short coat. Short jacketShe agreed enthusiastically, so I traced of #116 from Burda February 2013.  And bought several yards of pink broadcloth (since it seems to be her lining fabric of choice) because the sari is polyester chiffon.  With silver thread embroidery throughout and a green ombre-effect border for added fun.  Working with silver thread is a pain in the butt.  It will not shape.  Bend, yes.  Shape or crease cleanly, no.  I “petited” the jacket – folding out about 2 cm through the upper chest, and about another 2 inches through the waist, making the adjustments across all pieces.  I chose to treat the broadcloth as an underlining for the body of the jacket, but I hemmed each piece of underlining separately.  I wanted it to hang free at the hem, and fall about 1.5 inches shorter than the bottom of the green border.  The sleeves are not lined.  (Please excuse the garish background.  My kitchen is still not done, but it’s a big space and very bright).

sari remakeI added a mandarin collar to the pattern, and left the pockets in.  They are very deep, and needed trimming to fit the front panels of the coat.B 2-2013-116 pocketsSee what I mean about that darned silver thread in the border?  It has a mind completely of its own.  I could have interfaced and underlined it to make it hold it’s shape, but this garment needs to be cool and washable.  And I didn’t have the time, frankly.  It was muslined and fit once (and only once – I have no idea what it looks like on Miss V) three days ago.  I’m hoping the border will behave nicely while she wears it!  🙂B 2-2013-116 front flyThe buttons are decorative, and the garment is held closed by hooks and eyes. I added a fly for modesty’s sake, since I know it will be worn alone.  I bias bound all the seams.  Not by choice, initially.  My @(*&! serger decided to chew up the fabric instead of cut it, so I had the choice of flat felling or binding.  The binding was simple and easy, thank goodness.  And it looks nice. bindingFor the trousers I chose the wide-legged version from Vogue 2064 which is for two-way stretch knits only.  But I cut them one size larger than Miss V required and they fit perfectly.  I stitched two lengths of the sari fabric together along the green/silver border and cut the trousers on the cross grain.IMG_2794I love this trouser pattern.  It’s got no side seam – just a waist shaping dart that ends at the mid-hip level.  Two pieces – one for each leg!  Like glorified leggings, I guess.  Here’s a closeup of the dart and the bordered fabric seamed down the length of the trousers.side seamsThis trouser pattern was brilliant for the sari fabric because of the lack of seams.  I used a French seam for the inseam and bias bound the crotch seam from CF to CB, binding the seam edges underneath the CB zipper separately.  Then I grabbed some grosgrain ribbon for the waistband/facing, stitched it 1 cm from the upper edge, understitched, flipped, pressed, tacked it to the centre front and side darts, and voilà!  Nice clean interior.interiorWell, it’s all packed and on a plane by now.  I had a lot of fun sewing all these garments.  Long hours logged in the sewing room, but always with anticipation and sense of fun.

Fixing and tweaking

So, after wearing the Jester blouse for a day and mulling it over for days in my head, I decided I really wanted to do that neckline differently.  Y’know, like Burda had suggested in the first place.  *hand-forehead*  So I unpicked the long ties from the front pieces, all the way back to the front sleeve seam and added a 1/4″ narrow bias binding.

B 11-2012-109 front

I hand stitched it to the neckline with as tiny stitches as I could manage, but of course, everything shows up on this silk charmeuse.

B 11-2012-109 hand binding

I machine stitched the opening in the ties closed, catching the end of the bound neckline so that it would be secure.  Although Burda doesn’t suggest it, I added a thread eye and a hook to the upper edge of the binding to keep it closed perfectly.

B 11-2012-109 hook

I used burgundy thread for the eye, and orange thread to make the thread loop, which can barely be seen in the background above.  Looks good!  I like it better than the lazy way I’d finished it previously.  I can tie the ties higher, in a bow or leave them loose, or knot them lower.  I like the versatility finishing the neckline this way affords me.

B 11-2012-109

And, of course, the button closure lies closed properly now.  I’m always going back to change something once a garment is complete.  Do you continue to fuss with “finished garments”, too?

B 11-2012-109 closed

Pattern Review: Vogue 8469


This is a dress made up last summer, but because I never did a blog post for the pattern/dress, I thought I’d post one for those of you interested in the construction process.

Pattern Description: Semi-fitted dresses have lined bodice, midriffs, back zipper closures and topstitching details. A: mid-knee length and cap sleeves with elastic casing. B: 6″ above ankle length, sleeveless.

Pattern Sizing: AA(6-8-10-12), EE(14-16-18-20)

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, I think so, except for the binding on the waistband and no ties, as discussed below.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Well, yes, they would have been if I’d had a brain in my head and actually READ them prior to beginning, but I was so focused on getting that waistband and FBA just right, that I didn’t actually pull them out and have a look until it came to putting the sleeves in by hand. And then I kicked myself! Oh well, I really love hand sewing, so i just did everything . And I mean everything – zipper and interior. I have to confess I loved the look of a fell stitched lining.


What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I love the “sweet summer dress” look. Maybe it’s a bit too youthful for me at this point, but I just had to try it. I really liked the scoop neckline and the waist.

Fabric Used: BeYEWtiful Liberty of London tana lawn from my stash, recently purchased from one of my favourite sellers on ebay. I think it’s called Susanna. I actually found it because of reading about the Target agreement with L of L, and was really interested that they’d licensed the prints, not their actual fabric – which is definitely my cotton of choice! I liked the yellow colour way, but, boy! You can’t beat purple and green! The trim for the dress was an olive silk noil from thai silks for another project that I decided looked stupid and cut up. The lining is china silk (or silk habotai) from yet another project that was not working based on Vogue 2561.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: Well, my usual FBA, except that I forgot, after cutting the fabric, that in order for things to fit perfectly under my bustline (instead of half-way down it) I have to add yet another 2″ to the bottom of the bodice pattern like this. I added 5/8″ binding on top and bottom of the waistband – I just liked the idea from other people who’ve reviewed this dress. As I mentioned before, I didn’t read the instructions prior to beginning. I stitched the darts in the bodice back and for the FBA, then stitched the lining to the bodice around the neckline; turned it, and gathered the front; stitched the bodice to the waistband, and then wanted to put in the sleeves. Well, that’s when I discovered that I should have put them in BEFORE attaching the bodice to the waistband so the lining could be all nice and neat. So I had to put the lining into the entire sleeve by hand, including turning the armscye and fell stitching the lining into place by hand à la couture. imageThe zipper I decided to use a regluar one and a lapped insertion…image… prickstitched by hand to ensure better control of design matching. imageAnd then, of course, the lining had to be put in by hand. imageSounds like a chore, but I cannot tell you how much I like to do the work by hand, and fell stitching goes very quickly.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I think I’d like it in a solid colour. Maybe another red dress?

Conclusion: I really like this dress. It went together very easily and it looks exactly like the pattern. I’m not sure it’s the best for me, but it’s a pleasure to wear and I get lots of good comments!