A few weeks ago I fell for three vintage silk saris on ebay, they were all of £12 each for 5-6 yards of beautiful silk. One of them was a gorgeous lavender/mauve design…
My original plan was to make a dress, however I wanted one with a straight hem so I could keep the border, it’s in a really delicate shade of gold. I wanted the top in the patterned silk and the skirt from the bordered part. I looked at one pattern which I must have had 30 years, it was a sort of twenties style drop waisted summer dress. Thirty years ago I couldn’t get it to fit well but my shape has changed considerably since then (in all directions!!) I decided to make the lining as a toille, lucky I did as it still doesn’t fit!!
I decided to make an anywhere skirt (my third this year!) and a top from New Look 6107, I first made the top last summer and I’ve worn it a lot. This sari was very different silk to the others I’ve sewn, a lot more fluid, the sort that moves when you cut out or sew and frays when you so much as look at it! I decided early on to take a leaf from my quilting experience, spray starch was my new best friend, it just gave it enough body to sew with it. I decided to fully line the top so I stitched it a bit like a waistcoat in that I stitched the top apart from the side seams, I then sewed the silk to the lining all round the edges and the armholes. I could then just turn it and stitch the side seams up, slip-stitching by hand the final few inches.
The button loops make a pretty finish to the blouse, I used the gold part near the selvedge so it was slightly more robust. The buttons are from Samuel Taylors, it’s the second skirt I’ve used them for as I first bought them for my Liberty Anywhere Skirt, they’re a silvery grey which blends into a lot of colours or co-ordinates if you have one of those colours which nothing goes with!! It was rather useful that they came in two sizes, and even better they are only 10p each!
I made the skirt without the pockets so I could miss out the side seams completely and just use one long piece of silk. Silk sari’s have a length of cotton about 3-4″ deep along one edge, I presume it’s the side which would wrap around the waist so it would protect the silk from sweaty bodies, though the ones I’ve bought have always looked spotlessly clean!! I leave it on and use it to add weight along the hem. All I had to do was the button edge and the waistband. I interfaced the front edges to help support the silk fro the button holes and the buttons. I used a length of border print to make the sashes too.
Sari silk is so light it’s lovely to wear. This one is more delicate so I’m not sure how long it will last, but when all is said and done, it only cost me £12! My original plan was to wear the top tucked in but I think I prefer it out, whatever my daughter says, I think it is more flattering out!. I think I may find I wear these two garments separately more than together, I think they will look nice with a plain top or skirt.