I snagged a nice vintage silk sari at a swap and shop we had at our February workshop. It has a very delicate design and is perfect for a Regency era gown. I looked at a few images of gowns that appear to be made of saris or have sari trim:
I decided to make a gown with an apron front gown because I find them easiest to get in and out of by myself and I don't have to strain the fabric when doing so, I like the bodice of this gown in the Colonial Williamburg collection and thought I might do something similar with a drawstring at the top of the fashion fabric.
First I had to figure out how to use the various sections of the sari. It has the one section at the end that is completely embroidered. I figured I'd save that for a reticule and other small items.
The next section had little tiny flowers embroidered on it. This was a fairly small part. I thought I'd use this part for the bodice and sleeves.
The majority of the sari had rows of the tiny embroidered flowers.
Here's a close up. The direction of the flowers dictate that the sari must be cut on the cross grain. There is also a lot of the border trim that can be used in various parts of the gown.
The biggest challenge was the condition of the sari. It seems structurally sound but there were stains in various places that I had to cut around. I decided to use this gown that I made in 2017 as the basis. I had draped that bodice based on a fashion plate and figured that I could just change the apron front bodice piece.
I cut the front lining pieces which will be used as the bodice sides out of linen and the sari silk. I folded the seam allowance (hem) of the silk over the linen and stitched it in place. I left the center front without the silk so I could pin it.
I constructed the back the same as the white gown, flat felling the seams to the lining.
I draped the apron front. The band at the top of the front skirt is 18 inches and I decided that the bodice piece needed to have a finished measurement of 14 inches. The bodice front needed to be 6 inches high at the side edges and 5 1/2 inches high in the center. I added 1 inch to get 7 inches (dipping to 6.5 in the center) by 24 inches in length. I hemmed the side edges and pleated the lower edge to make the piece measure 14 inches. I then made a tiny casing (1/4 inch) with an eyelet in the center on the inside. I threaded 1/8 inch tape in the casing and through the center eyelet so the casing can be adjusted when worn.
Here's the front before the sleeves.
I used the sleeve piece I drafted for the white gown but decided to adapt the design from the gown in the Shippensburg collection (Fig Leaf pattern). I used the edge trim and cut strips of it with 1/4 inch seam allowance on each long edge. I turned in the seam allowance then folded the strip in half.
The belt is loos in the front and pins at center front.
Here's what it looks like on!
I found this great little reticule I had bought at a museum gift shop--one of the volunteers makes them. This will be perfect with this gown! I also wore an antique silk chiffon duppata shawl, and white leather gloves. Jewelry is by Dames a la Mode.
I decided to go to Hampton National Historic Site to get some good pics since it's closed today.
I'm really pleased with how this gown turned out. There were times I had my doubts as it was sort of a study in improvisation but overall, I'm happy with the fit and the appearance.