It has been quite a departure from my usual MO to use fabric I have not printed myself and silk at that. But some time ago I came across an Etsy site in New Zealand that imports amongst other textiles silk saris from India. They are gently used, or at least the one I bought is in perfect condition. The colours that suit Indian sensibilities are not always in tune with my preferences, but after choosing carefully I was delighted with my purchase when it arrived.

I wanted a cocktail dress I could wear for evenings out on our European trip and it seemed a waste of all that lovely silk to make it too short. So I decided on a maxi skirt with 3 inverted box pleats front and back, set into the StyleArc Sydney dress bodice. I like the cut on short sleeves and high empire waist of the Sydney.

There are different weights of silk and the type I chose is semi-transparent, so requires something underneath if you want to wear it as a dress. I have not tested this, but suspect that the tussar silk saris are heavier and more opaque. Tussar silk is wild silk and the tussar fabric I have encountered so far has always been quite sturdy.

I could have lined the skirt of this dress, but I didn’t have a suitable voile on hand, and the cottons I had would have made the dress too heavy. Instead I have a number of cotton voile slips in various colours that I can wear under sheer fabrics. I thought a burgundy version would be nice with the blues. White would be another option.

The sewing details are on PatternReview.

Wearing it with pants doesn’t look quite as good as I imagined., so I probably won’t. Win some lose some!

And just a couple more photos of a dress and two tops I made recently, either painted with dye or stencilled with screen printing ink. These are on linen, as usual.

(If you are wondering what I have in my hand in those photos, it’s the clicker to take the photo remotely.)