all my own work by ann

Sewing and textiles with Ann

An Indian theme

You may have noticed a recurring mention of things Indian in my main blog. I love the place and travel there as often as I can. On recent trips to the sub-continent I have come back laden with fabrics, in as much as a standard rucksack can be laden with additional fabrics.

What I try to do is to take Indian fabrics and ideas and turn then into western creations. I had to think a little there about what was the best word to use, as not all of the creations are clothes.

Here are some examples of creations that have not appeared on my main blog.

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So the first example is not clothing. It is a sari, purchased in Mumbia, and hung around a window to form a draped curtain.

Two further examples using a sari:

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This sari was bought on the market in Madurai, with the intention of seeing what I could make out of it. I call these ‘portfolio’ garments, because neither of them is currently wearable, unfortunately. The top is finished. As a ‘portfolio’ garment, it looks good, having made all the use of the decorative sari edge as I had planned. But the pattern should have been made with stretch material, and there is not usually (never?) stretch in a sari. Therefore it is quite difficult to take on and off.

The skirt may be wearable one day, but isn’t finished. Again, it makes good use of the decorative sari edge. It is pleated and given the fine nature of the fabric, was quite difficult to work with. It’s biggest problem is that it is very, very see-through and hence needs lining. And the lining need to be just the right colour and weight to show off the sari fabric. Also, I made a mistake when sewing the side seams, and created a French seam, but on the wrong side. That will be so difficult to unpick, but I think that when I return to the garment, I will make a feature of it, and sew down the outside edge, as if it were a felled seam. Work in progress.

My next exhibit is made from an Indian ‘welcome’ woollen shawl that was gifted to me on a visit to the Deccan plateau area. I believe that these shawls are quite expensive, and I acknowledge that whoever gave it to me might not be too pleased to see it turned into a knee length skirt. My apologies, but it is more useful in this form than as a shawl.

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I have worn this, but not often. Its quite warm, and white is not very wearable in a British winter. I have made this pattern many times, so the interesting parts were cutting it to get the patterns in the right place, and then levelling it at the waistband, as there is no hem. This was quite straightforward with the aid of my sewing dummy.

Returning to sari material, the next item does feature in my main blog, but was cut from sari material, this time purchased in Kathmandu, but I was assured that it was Indian material. As with other sari – makes, it was cut on the grain of the weft, rather than the more usual warp. The sari material is backed to satin of unknown origin, but bought in Birmingham, otherwise it would not have been wearable. This is definitely not a portfolio item; it was made to wear and indeed, is worn, with some degree of pride, quite often.

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A matching clutch sometimes accompanies this item.

And possibly my final sari – make, which also features in my main blog – a long skirt made quite recently for my last trip to India. Again, it was cut with the grain on the weft. When I wore it, it was commented that it looked to be Sri Lankan in style. Maybe it is; I purchased the material in Birmingham.

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January 16

And now I have made two more garments from saris fabric, The Peacock top and The Mumbai sari top.

Both use Butterick 5948, a very simple tops pattern, to show off the fabric. Both are cut on the weft, and the Peacock top uses the selvedge as the hem of the garment. The Mumbai sari has background colour gradation across the weft, and I was careful about the placement of the pieces to get a ‘designed’ finish.

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