Couture Rani image

As I was talking about the bridal corset I’d recently made a friend who normally wouldn’t be terribly interested in fashion or historical clothing piped up to inquire about my sewing. It seems that when an Indian woman, his wife in this case, buys a sari she is only purchasing the beautiful sari skirt (I’m sure there must be another name for it, but I don’t know it yet). The matching or contrasting, midriff baring blouse does not come ready-made, but as a piece of fabric to go with the sari. Now clearly if I don’t even know what the different pieces are called, I’ve never made a sari blouse (Wikipedia’s sari page informs me that the blouse is called a choli or ravika). I’m sure someone provides ready-made choli, but this is not the standard practice.

I would love to get some beautiful sari fabrics and I’m always interested to learn about new aspects of clothing, whether that is historical, cultural or technical. Not only do choli not come ready-made, but neither do the patterns. Each woman has her own pattern(s) made custom. I’m intrigued. Further reading shows that there are many, many ways to drape a sari (great image here), depending on region and personal preference, and in a way, dressing in a sari has quite a bit in common with the wearing of a great kilt (today is National Tartan Day in the U.S., by the way). Obviously they are of very different origins and function, but I’ll leave that to you for pondering…

What I wanted to share was a site that has some stunning couture sari. The site is called Couture Rani. Check out  their blog page and particularly the images from India Fashion week 2013 for a different take on high fashion. The fabrics! The shape and movement of the clothing! The embroidery! Want! Hmmm… I think I need to start by mocking up a choli pattern…

Varun Bahl red gorgette sari Payal Singhal 2013 fashion

All images are from the Couture Rani website.

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Tadashi Shoji Spring 2013 Runway

At first glance I thought I was seeing an orange and gold sort of Sari fabric dress. While that is an interesting idea, what I now think this is, is a beautiful and delicate lace with either white or gold fabric beneath (I can’t tell which with the lighting). After watching the video of his Spring 2013 runway show here, (more…)

Bridges on the Body logoI’ve shared some info in the past from the Bridges on the Body blog, but I’d forgotten about their great logo. Basically it’s a visual timeline, from the Elizabethan era to the 1920s, of the way corsetry has changed through history, with the waist line as marking point. Take at the blog sometime. This post offers links to the Kent State University Museum’s Pinterest board for historical undergarments.

(Early Century Combination from the FIDM Museum Blog – not the 1912 Slip!)
So the 1912 Project began and I was so excited. I couldn’t wait for my first pattern. But there was much admin and organizational work to do and I had to be patient. Eventually (about 2 weeks ago) I finally got a pattern. Not the Group 24 pattern, but the Feb Challenge Pattern, a slip (#0336). I have to admit I was disappointed. I’d seen the available patterns and had my heart set on a beautiful coat. The slip seemed dull and like nothing I’d ever wear.
One of the first things I do when I see a pattern for a particular period is do a little research. So I asked myself a couple questions:
  1. Since women in 1912 were still corseted, what would the slip dimensions be?
  2. If I were to make the slip, did I have the proper foundation garments?
  3. When did women start wearing slips in the first place? What happened to corset covers and petticoats? (more…)