April 21, 2014

All That Glitters


I realized last month that I didn't have the time/money to really splurge and make the intricate silk Romantic Era dress that's been lurking in my brain, and would have to change my plans a bit.  I still wanted something ridiculous and over the top though, so I raided my stash of saris for something obnoxious and awesome.  Problem is, most of the saris I have are so beautiful I'm still afraid to cut into them!  Luckily I found a pink one that I mostly like, but am not so in love with that can't hack it into bits without too much worry.


The sari was sold as "tissue silk", which sounds soft and lovely, but apparently means a loose, coarse weave with a weird stiff drape.  The weave is open enough that its effectively see-through.  It's got a floral brocade-style design woven into it that you can sometimes see in various lights.  It also looks extremely shiny in a super synthetic way, which was really off-putting when I first saw it in person.  However, it does have the most beautiful metal embroidery work on it, so I've been looking for something to do with it.

It's weirdly shiny and kinda stiff.

Despite the "silk" description I was convinced that it was entirely made out of some weird poly fabric due to the super shine and strange hand, but it turns out I was only half right.  On closer inspection it's a cross weave, with a pink synthetic thread in the warp and a silvery metal thread in the weft, which is what gives it that strange shimmer!

Threads separated

Close up of pink and silver cross weave.

I'm fairly anti-synthetic fabric when sewing for myself, but I figured I'd make an exception this once.  I can always call it my Glinda-the-good-witch-meets-the-1830's dress!  So far it's turning out well, despite the fabric handling oddly and being a general PITA to deal with.

Lining up the embroidery with the neckline.

Since the metal embroidery work is hands down the best part of this sari, I'm making sure it gets featured wherever possible.  I'm placing the bulk of the embroidery at the neckline, which was relatively easy on the back, but a little harder to get to work on the front pieces.  I managed it by criss-crossing the front, but had to change the shape of the neckline and cut the shoulders down a bit to make it work. 

 


I'm still working on getting the darts right.  Generally I don't cut them out like above, but I had to here b/c there was actually more of the fashion fabric to dart than the lining, and in order to get the two to play nice together it was easier to just cut it up.  The darts are also waaay too low right now, but I'm still trying to figure out how to raise them when I'm running into the embroidery on the right side.

Dart placement way too low; I've since raised it but still need to go higher.

I've still got to finish tweaking the bodice, figure the skirt out and finish solving the mystery of the pleated sleeves from that pink LACMA dress (nearly there!).  I'm also going to need a corded petticoat and some tucked petticoats, and to figure out how on earth I'm going to make a slightly shaggy mohawk into a proper 1830's hairdo.

The back is looking pretty good though!

I've got a week.  Let's do this...

10 comments:

  1. Very beautiful and clever! Great color on you, too!
    As to hair, I'd suggest you tightly curl your top hair and get 2 small pieces of hair to curl and pouf at the sides. Disguise the rest, and the join, with an over the top feathered headdress that sits high and to the back, maybe with some training ribbons and strips of veiling?
    Nancy N

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    1. That's more or less what my plan is, we'll see how it works!

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  2. Ooh, love this! I can't wait to see more. :)

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    1. Thanks! Hopefully I'll have some time to post before the event :)

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  3. Oh my god! It looks amazing! I'm jealous of your mad skillz.

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    1. Well I'm jealous of your mad skillz, so we're even :P

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  4. What pattern are you using?

    I would love to see how you figured out to make the sleeves.

    Thanks,

    Laurie

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    1. I'm drafting the pattern for the sleeves myself, and will do a write up soon! The bodice started life as the Truly Victorian 455 one, minus the gathered front and back, but it's seen a lot of changes since then :P

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  5. Oh my gosh, it looks awesome! The shiny-ness you speak of doesn't come through on the photos - it just look divine, truly. I need to get some saris!

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    Replies
    1. It's so hard to get color and shine right in photos, isn't it? I can totally see you doing something crazy with saris. Get on it!

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