I purchased 10 saris from a few companies on eBay which were very good value for money – I tried to get quite varied colours and patterns to make the collection interesting.
I decided to make half of the saris into long flowing skirts and the others, simply attach a top or bodice so that they could be smart casual dresses – I found some great patterns which I could use to help me get a range of sizes…
Both have different styles, additionally the right hand pattern has a band which could also be used for the skirts as well as the dresses.
I started creating a few bodices (determined to try and use as much of my own spare fabric as possible, since it is still good quality and would mean I would not have to take all the saris to a shop in order to find matching fabric) from the left hand pattern – I found thicker fabrics which lent themselves more to this style of bodice, tight and fitted. The pattern was easy to follow and it created a really lovely, flattering shape…
I then added the skirt – I pleated it onto the bodice, leaving the front panel flat to flatter the feminine figure and pleated the sari back towards the centre back. I then cut the seams down after sewing and machined them to the inside of the bodice to neaten and stop irritating fraying.
This meant that there would be a line of stitching visible on the outside of the bodice, however, since it is in similar thread colour, I don’t think it matters, indeed, it adds reinforcement to the waist of the bodice and looks neat.
I folded the edges of the bodice over by 1/2″ to make a neat edge for the buttons and worked out that I could overlap the centre back edges by 1″ to make the correct waistline for all the sizes – I had to change my size 16 to a 14 as I forgot to add on extra hem allowance but I think that will be ok.
I then pinned and stitched up the centre back seam of the skirt, bringing the fabric across to allow for the overlap on the bodices and making sure it all lays flat and elegantly.
Although the dresses take a while to construct, they are pretty and, if the sizing is correct I think it would be well worth doing, especially if I can use scraps of fabric, maybe like the curtain fabric used for the t-shirts to make them EVEN more oo arh!
For the skirts, I followed a very similar pattern of construction – I cut out waistbands to fit sizes 8-14 and pleated the saris on to them, keeping the front flat and folding towards the centre back because that seemed the most flattering way to do it, instead of simple gathering all the material and hoping for the best!
I then folded the waistband in half to enclose the top of the pleating and create a strong yet comfortable band which could then be fastened with hook and bars or interesting buttons…
I think they look beautiful, very elegant and feminine – I feel with the time limits till WOMAD I think it would be fab to do some more and possibly thinking that the skirts would be better to do time wise…we’ll have to see!