Friday, November 5, 2010

Inspired by India: "Upcycled" Saris

I moved to Toronto in the fall of 1995.  During my first couple of days in Toronto I went to the India Bazaar and I have been going back ever since.   Toronto's India Bazaar is thought to be the largest market place of South Asian goods in North America and it is something our city is very proud of.  The Bazaar has great food, jewellery, fabric and fashion.  Here is a peak at the outfit I purchased for my pal's wedding (pre-baby tummy) six years ago.
Miss Lily has also come to love the bazaar.    I take her into the fabric shops and she loves to look all the gold jewellery and the little girl saris (especially the embellished ones).

I created Miss Lily's dress using two secondhand saris.  If you are a fabric hound, saris are an extremely affordable way to purchase silk.  I have found silk saris for around $20 (quality and embellishment will increase the price) and a sari is 6 yards of fabric.  Some saris are mixed silk and cotton and give a different feel - *almost* like raw silk which is my absolute favourite fabric.  Saris can also be cut up and used in home decor (banding for drapery, bedspreads and pillows). It can be an eclectic look.

For my upcycled sari project, I used ManiMina's Chic Everyday Dress pattern (I have posted about this pattern before for an entirely different project).  I love this pattern because of its modern shape and your fabric choice is unlimited.  

For this project, I used two saris with gold embellished banding.  The banding eliminates any hemming which makes the project a quick sew.  Instead of a bias tape casing for the waist, I used the Indian ribbon I received for my birthday.  The bazaar is full of bangles and they have kids sizes so we added some pink and blue ones here.  The "carnation" garlands are something you see adorning the shops, especially during the festival. 
Friends inspire each other. When my pal saw the dress I made she ran home, cut up a sari, and stitched up two little dresses for her nieces. 

The yellow silk is so unexpected and vibrant!

Before I sign off for the weekend, I thought I would share some of the sights from our most recent trip to the Bazaar.  You can see all the bangles in the top left corner.

Have a lovely weekend, and to those of you celebrating Diwali enjoy the festivities!


  1. Wow! The bazaar looks like a fantastic place to visit. I love Lily's dress. It's so colorful, and I really like the style. And the yellow sari your friend used is to die for!

  2. No doubt the Goddess Lakshmi is blessing you and your family this Diwali season KJ! You must have been an Indian in your former life. What a beautiful post, and Miss Lily is such a beautiful model. Happy Diwali!

  3. Wow, what a fun dress for Lily, but even more so for rocking that sari yourself! One of my best friends growing up was Indian. I can still taste her grandma's food.

  4. Hi KJ! Thank you so much for stopping by my blog! I love your blog...there are so many inspiring projects here! Have a fab weekend!
    Angie xo

  5. Oh my word, that sari you made is just stunning! I love it, you clever girl.

  6. Well, KJ I am so jealous of you!! I would love to visit that bazaar myself! Whenever I am out of the country I try to find similar bazaars (there isn't one here)and go nuts shopping!! ;)-

  7. Silly me!! I forgot to say that the dress you made is gorgeous!

  8. Oh man--I'm going to have to stop in there the next time I'm near Toronto. I've been wanting to get some Saris for this exact purpose. The dresses are really cute.

  9. How did I not know this? I've been going to Toronto my whole life (my dad's from there) and never new about this market! OK, definitely hitting it up next time around! cute blog btw!


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