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Saturday, August 16, 2014

· 1950s Sari Dress ·

I found this lightweight jaquard-weave cotton at JoAnns on the clearance rack for $2/yd almost 10 years ago.  With the pretty gold metallic border and the fact that it was a natural-fiber fabric, I thought it would make the ideal Regency gown!  I picked out my dream design and mulled over the idea for a couple years before I reconciled myself to the fact that the fabric was far too narrow to use for the length of an empire-waisted skirt. :-(

After that realization, I was at a loss for how to use this fabric!  I eventually came across some 1950s dresses using saris and realized that vintage would be a great use of the fabric, too!
(Of course. Because vintage is always the answer. ;-))

It ended up being difficult to find a bodice design that would feature the border print without being sleeveless and without using much of the border, since I hadn't quite purchased enough for a 1950s dress!  I finally came to the decision to use Vogue 1044.  It required several alterations, since the original yoke line is curved and the border necessitates a straight line.

Both times I've used this pattern, I find that small darts coming down from the yoke are super helpful to get a better fit.  I keep hoping I don't need that extra, fiddly detail, but it just makes such a difference!

The comfortable style and the combination of dressy yet breathable and washable fabric has cemented this dress as the Ultimate Summer Semi-Formal.  It's served me well through countless weddings, dances, and is in constant rotation for church.  And has been for 6 years.

It's now to the point where a striking number of the facebook pictures I'm tagged in are of me in this dress.  I really do wear other dresses!  Sometimes.

OK, I think it might be time to stop wearing it quite so devotedly....

This dress is always referred to as "The Sari Dress" around here but it could quite aptly be named "Old Faithful" at this point, and I truly am happy it's served me so well and for so long!  I was afraid that it wouldn't wear well since the fabric is rather loosely-woven, but it's been a dream. :-)

And this was the perfect time to showcase one of my latest purchases- this charming beaded clutch!

I was in desperate need of something to fill the void in the "dressy purse" section of my wardrobe, and this fit the bill perfectly. :-)  All the beads were intact, there was only the slightest staining inside, and this "could-only-be-vintage" rhinestone-accented clasp.  All for just $4. :-)

Yep.  I think that was four dollars rather well spent. ;-)

· Photos by Kathryn! ·


  1. Amazing work on this dress as always :) Love your beaded purse. And, so shocked to see your hair down! :D This look is great on you!

    1. :-D Thanks! Yes, wearing my hair down is a rather rare occurrence, due in part to my non-vintage haircut....

  2. Oooh!!! So pretty!! Your hair is so beautiful curled like that too, and I reeeallly want your hat. ;)
    That was an awesome deal for the fabric! Beautiful job!

  3. Beautiful! You look so classy! Alex

  4. Oh! Love the hat too!! Did you make it?

  5. That dress is SO pretty Lily! I made a dress for my sister Jessica out of a vintage sari once, and it was so finicky to work with, though I always think about making another dress for myself someday out of a sari... I was completely surprised to find that your fabric came from Joann's! You can find the best stuff there sometimes if you look. :)

    the Middle Sister and Singer

    1. I know! I'm always surprised by some of the fabric in the clearance section- there are some (like this) that I've never seen in the store before!

      I've come across so many more vintage sari dresses since then, that I'm thinking I need to make another one too! :-)

  6. So pretty Lily! I would like to know how long does it take you to sew a dress?
    I usually start one then wait few weeks, due to responsibilities of "life"
    Wish I had more time just to sew!
    Such lovely dresses!

    1. Irene, It really depends on my current schedule and how inspired I am to work on the dress... For a vintage dress, if I'm in a good mood I'll work on it for about 4 hours a day and that will take 3ish days. :-)

  7. I love the colors of this dress! It reminds me of sherbet and flowers and lovely things. It's exciting that you get to wear it often, I think. Beautiful!


  8. Very pretty!
    Your hair looks fabulous.
    That purse is too cute & what a steal!
    That is all. ;)

  9. This is beautiful! And always great hat! I always love seeing your posts.

  10. Oh wow! The fabric of this sari is so beautiful! I love how you positioned the border across the top of the bodice! Well done!

  11. Thank you all so much!!

    And since so many of you asked, the hat is vintage but sadly not mine.... :-( It is very generously on loan for a few months from my friend Tara. I am ensuring that it gets many outings and lots of love during its stay. :-D

  12. Oh, my Lily!!! I'm not sure how I ever missed this post!!! I absolutely love it!!! In fact, it may very well be my favorite of all your dresses (an incredibly difficult decision). :) But this is just so lovely and pretty and pink and classy. And I'm so intrigued by the "Indian" flavor! I love, love Indian textiles (as in "India"), but I've never seen an Indian looking print etc. styled into something vintage. Absolutely gorgeous!

  13. This is absolutely beautiful! It definitely is worth wearing a LOT! :)
    And it becomes you so well! It looks like it fits like a dream too.
    I love your hair in this picture.
    I think this one,and your "Embracing Stereotypes" dress are my favorites of your dresses!



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