My passion and enthusiasm for antique textiles and trims has always coincided with a desire to find creative ways to use and enjoy them. I will always collect these items and continue to give a makeover. The ways in which they might be given a new life through artistic expression are endless. In this post I will share my Durga Puja Shaptami Day look in a saree and explore the ideas to refashion a plain yardstick to a designer-esque saree. Because this saree has a unique story to tell.
Since Bengali women save their best attires for Ashtami, Navami and Bijaya Dashami to amp their galm quotient, for Shaptami look, I have opted for this simple pale pink-ish turned mauve-ish georgette saree with gold intricate border as it reflects the festive mood. To your surprise, this saree is neither from the highstreet nor by any high-end designer. If you care to know the inspiration for incorporating antique (anything over 15 years is antique to me) and worn-out textiles and trims from your closet into refashion, keep scrolling down.
A few years ago I watched a Bollywood movie in which the female actor Kajol was seen wearing plain single shaded chiffon and georgette sarees with self-embroidered blouses, in all possible pastel shades. This trend was huge because no one ever thought saree could be this sensuous for an outfit until Bollywood actresses danced in single shaded chiffon sarees over the snow-clad mountains, in the water, against the wind, you name it, they have been there, done that! If my memory serves me right, it was the year 1999 or 2000. Inspired by fashion trends seen in Bollywood movies, I desired to wear a lookalike saree for Durga Puja that year. My mother took me to a local store (high-street saree stores were fully stocked with all pastel shades of this trending saree) and I picked this plain pale pink georgette saree among all pastel hued ones. It came with a matching blouse piece with self embroidery. The first and last time I had anything to do with this saree was that year, during Durga Puja. For years, it kept lying in my suitcase crumbling and neglected as I lived in many places after high school, changed cities, countries, it was like living out of a suitcase, literally. After shifting my base in London , I started to rebuilding my wardrobe, giving a makeover of the items I already owned, giving away many pieces and sold out a few (that’s how this blog was born). My eyes hit on this piece of yardstick and I felt sad thinking I’ll never wear again. The blouse probably doesn’t fit me any longer (even if it does, the neck is too high to ‘bringing sexy back’- Justine Timberlake). Nostalgia was fading away because why value dusty relics from the past when they can be replaced in an instant? Then one fine-bright day when it dawned upon me that the fabric is super soft, nice, and perfectly clinge to your body to enhance your curves. Also, georgette or chiffon sarees are the easiest to wear, I reckon. So I had to find a creative way to keep it in my closet. And instantly I had plans to make it into a designer saree. And as luck would have it, it was way easier to refashion that I even expected. This was a 15 pound quick fix. How?
Saree Makeover: This pink-mauve-ish georgette saree with a parrot green velvet sleeveless blouse has been a labor of love. I have collected gold borders, satins, laces to create the embellishments that have all been intricately sewn on the border, with a couple bead tassel knots added on each corner of the Pallu. I have incorporated pieces of antique gold borders, bits of velvet lace and trims…each a timeless treasure from a bygone era.
Blouse Designing: Since the color of the saree is pale pink, with time it also looked a bit worn out since it has been lying down somewhere in the bottom of my closet, it kind of lost its sheen. To perk it up, I conceptualised a bold and bright colored blouse to pair with it. For the fabric of the blouse, I opted for velvet. It’s glossy, over-the-top and royal just what the saree was lacking. I purchased white velvet in yardstick and got them dyed in this shade of green. As far as the cut of the blouse goes, I wanted it to be youthful yet to be appropriate for women of all ages. Deep back neck and going sleeveless fit the bill perfectly.
Taking unwanted pieces from your wardrobe and a few new accessories from the DIY dress store and interweaving them into a wearable work of art is a most satisfying endeavor. The concept of ”Refashion” refers to the idea of taking a piece of clothing and restyling it by making creative alterations. My hope is that this post has inspired you in some way to look at antique or any unwanted/ worn-out textiles and trims in a new light. The next time you come across a beautiful piece of old trim or a border of an antique saree or skirt, consider how it might be incorporated into a wearable work of art.
How much did refashioning cost?
GBP 10.00 for the Blouse ( 4 pound for the fabric + dyeing and 6 pound for the stitching)
GBP 5.00 for the Lace, Velvet borders and green satin
Wish you all celebrating a very happy Durga Puja! I’ll be sharing the looks I’m going to sport on Ashtami and Navami in the upcoming posts.
Stay tuned, stay stunned!
What Was I Wearing?
Plain Georgette Saree refashioned by me
Earring by TribebyAmrapali
Ring by TribebyAmrapali
Bangle by TribebyAmrapali
Shoes from Dune Shoes
Clutch from India (Not giving out the name as I had a bad customer service experience with the brand owner)